Some shots tooling around the island, including a fine lunch of fried food at a local joint called Pop’s Raw Bar (bikers welcome!), but today I want to tell you a story about a local guy employed by Triple AAA who rescued the day from becoming a disaster. I don’t know how it happened, but our car battery died during our visit to the Hatteras Lighthouse. We jumped the car battery with the help from a nice couple at the lighthouse parking lot, but the car died again while driving about a mile down the road as we pulled away. WHILE DRIVING, people. Do you know how scary this could have been if we were driving on a busy road? Mark managed to steer the car off the road while the kids started freaking out and getting immediately grumpy because plans to meet up with family at an ice cream place got derailed. Plus it was like a million degrees out and the air was filled with smoke from a wildfire some miles north.
Can I just say…what the hell did we do in the dark ages without cell phones in situations like this? We made a quick call to one of the cousins who swung on by and carted the kids away, leaving behind another cousin who called Triple AAA. Then we waited. Now, the old me would have been fretting by now, thinking up a million scenarios about being stranded in North Carolina without a ride back back to NY and getting upset because we had just spent $1000 on getting the car all tuned and fixed up before the trip, but the new and improved Zen Me was keeping it together.
About a half an hour into our roadside detour, Uncle Mike shows up in his car with jumper cables and we hook the cars up and try to get it going again. Not happening this time, or the next, or the next time after that. The car just wouldn’t start up, even after a full 30 minutes of trying to charge the battery. Huh. See, now the old me would have been freaking up the wazoo at this point convinced that we’d have to abandon our lives in Brooklyn because we were for sure stranded in North Carolina, where we’d be eating fried clam strips forever. But the Zen Me remained calm. We were, however, getting a little worried about Triple AAA taking so long to get here, partly because we were so hot and bored sitting on the side of the rode (btw, thanks sheriff who passed us who wasn’t any help) and partly because I was starting to feel dehydrated, but just like all those scenes where the General Lee from the Dukes Of Hazzard comes blazing into your television screen, Triple AAA was here!
Our hero of the day came in the form of Randy, a shirtless, dirty blond long haired, visor sporting, denim shorts with flip flop wearing auto mechanic who had bigger (man) boobs than me. But whatever…that’s not important. Randy was just plain *awesome*. I mean sure, he had nothing to offer me in terms of a quenching beverage except for wine coolers that he had in his truck, but he knew what he was doing, identified and fixed the problem right away and wouldn’t even take our money until we saw him again later that day to replace our car battery (“aw, you ain’t in NY anymore, darlin’). He told us stories about mom & diddy and the questionable ethics of one of his competitors, who incidentally drove by us. “I’m a Christian man”, was his reply when asked if he wanted to flip the guy the finger as he drove by.
At some point Randy’s Girlfriend/Wife/Other jumps out of the truck and snaps some photos for their Facebook page, so of course I have to snap some pictures too. So I pull out my camera which has the bigger zoom lens on it that day and Randy jumps back like, “whoa, darlin’! You’re pullin’ out the big guns right there.”
Gotta say, Randy “Fat Daddy” Miller from Avon, North Carolina was as much of a highlight of the trip as any sunset or beach. In fact, I really wished that he could have ridden in the back seat between the girls on our drive home to NY, just in case anything happened. And no, I have not visited his Facebook page to see if our photo got posted to his wall and I doubt I will. I would rather keep memories of Randy, mythical. Like a unicorn.