Last weekend I headed out to New York City to visit my new friend, Kirk, who I met hiking last weekend in the white mountains. I was looking forward to a nice short ride on my motorbike down to New York but the rain wasn’t going to stand for that so I wound up taking my antique corolla.

In Connecticut, just south of Hartford, on interstate 91 white smoke suddenly started puffing out of the engine. I pulled over, lifted the hood, and like with a cartoon jalopy a great white plume of smoke came rising out. Luckily I was in a nice spot way off the highway in some grass. I’ve seen too many wildest police videos to be comfortable parked on the shoulder of a highway while cars rush past five feet to the left at 80+ mph.

I called triple-A to ask for a tow and when the operator asked where I was I didn’t have a very good answer. All I knew was that I was somewhere south of Hartford on 91, how far south I had no idea. There were no mile markers or exit signs anywhere to be seen. So she basically said she’d tell the driver to get on 91 south and look for me. How pathetic.

So sitting there on the side of the highway with nothing to do but think an idea came to me.

I dialed 911.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“Hi. I’m stranded on the side of the highway. My car broke down.”


“Somewhere on interstate 91 south of Hartford. I’m not sure, there are no signs around.”

“I’ll notify the state police.”

“Ummm, actually, I already called a tow truck.”

“OK.” –Pause– “So, what do you want me to do?”

“Well could you look at the GPS and tell me what town I’m in so I can tell the tow truck driver?”

“Oh I suppose I could do that….”


Then I called triple-A and told them just where to look for me.

So the tow-truck driver arrived and soon we were back on the road to NYC. We had another 70-80 miles to go so we bonded. – He was 29, a history major dropout, boyish, very nice. We dropped off my car at some small garage in the city. Kirk met me there and gave me a ride to his place.

Saturday we hit up the Guggenheim and the Met, then rented some bikes and rode around Manhattan. – Grabbed a shower at the health club afterwards and then a long dinner. Finally we hit up the bars in the evening. It made for a long day.

Come Sunday afternoon my car still wasn’t fixed. Kirk drives great distances all the time so he thought it was absurd that I would consider taking a train home when he has a car right there. So Saturday we drove up to NH. We stopped to do a little hiking in the Berkshires along the way to stretch our legs and do something with the day.

It was a good weekend. And for a pretty action-packed time in New York City it really only set me back a paltry $130. Not bad. Of course, next weekend when I pay for a couple of train tickets, a cab ride, and the repair bill for a new water pump on the car my wallet will be suffering considerable injury.

Monday I had a nagging feeling that there was a good chance that the tow truck driver had been hitting on me. Just some things he had said. And I liked him, so I thought it was worth a shot to call him up and ask him outright. Rather suffer a moment of ever-so-slight embarrassment than a lifetime of regret. I called the tow truck company and lied to the dispatcher that I’d lost my wallet and I thought it might be in the truck. She said she’d have the driver call me. Ten minutes later he was on the phone so I asked him bluntly. – Turns out he’s straight. But he was nice about it, told me he was flattered, asked about my car. He was practically apologetic about his heterosexuality. Nice guy.

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