Posted by: LovelyAnomaly | March 19, 2008

In Case of Emergency: Break out Flare-legged Jeans

12:00PM – I should have been packing for my weekend with John by this point. We were going to be celebrating Valentine’s Day a week late, and all I knew was that I had to get there early so that we wouldn’t be late for dinner. However, I was grumpy and whiny because it had been snowing all morning, and it wasn’t about to let up. I was not prepared for another drive through the snow. Luckily, the boy is cute and charming, and he managed to motivate me to pack and head out.

1:15PM – Finally my bags were packed and I was ready to go. But I wasn’t leaving on a jet plane, just my little old blue car. It was still snowing, and I was still grumpy. I joked around with my roommate, “Don’t worry. If my car gets stuck in the snow I have all the essentials. I even have flares!” The puzzled look on her face told me I needed to clarify. “You know, those Roman Candle type things that glow orange-red so that people can find you when you’re lost.”

“Ooh. I definitely thought you meant jeans.”

“Well, I suppose I could break a pair of those out in case of an emergency, too. But they probably won’t be as helpful.”

And with that, I was out the door. Only to scrape six inches of snow off my car. I reminded myself that the boy is cute and charming and I really did miss him.

1:50PM – After removing the layer of snow, filling my tank with gas, and putting air in my tires, I was finally on the interstate. The iPod was hooked up to the cassette player, the car was toasty warm, and… the snow kept falling. Jack Johnson, Ingrid Michaelson, and This Is Me Smiling tried to keep my nerves down. But, boy, I was grumpy.

3:00PM – I was halfway to Chicago, and the snow had finally stopped. I took an exit to put more wiper fluid in my car and clean off my poor little blue car. John called, and I told him where I was and that I was still grumpy. Tried to promise him that I’d be happier once I started driving without snow.

4:15PM – The snow is gone, my spirits had been lifted, the music is blaring, and Reggie the Regal is zipping along the Dan Ryan. It became clear that I’ve grown into quite the Chicago driver, as I was weaving in and out of traffic with ease. Sometimes I was even in the far left lane! John was on the phone with me (using a headset, thankyouverymuch) and I was giving him the play by play of where I was located.

4:30PM – In about 15 minutes I’d be with John and we’d be getting ready for my Valentine’s Day surprise. I was on the ramp for the Lake Shore Drive exit, and were still chatting on the phone when I noticed a little red light pop up on my dash. In the shape of a battery.

“John, my battery just died.”

“Uhh, not your cell phone. What do you mean?”

The car didn’t even have enough juice to get over to the shoulder on the right side of the road. I panicked. The only other place to go was the small space behind the yellow merging traffic sign between the ramp and the road. And that’s where my car died. Ten feet away from Lake Shore Drive.


4:47PM – After a round of calling my dad, my mom, John, and my dad again I was on the verge of tears and wishing I could just disappear. At about that time, I notice a beat up black Jeep with a red hood and duct-taped back windows pull over onto the shoulder, zip into a U-turn, and pull up alongside my car. I see an African-American male, and instantly remember all the stories I heard growing up in my rural, central-Illinois town. OhmyGod. Please don’t kill me. Don’t rape me. Don’t do anything to me. I can give you my Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat cassette if you’d like! Just…don’t hurt me.

“Hey there!” Hey says with a smile. He’s clean-shaven and has a nice-looking headset. Clearly, he’s an okay guy. I roll down my window just enough so that I can hear him. “Do you need a jump?” Breathing a sigh of relief I nod, smile, and roll down the window just a little further.

He connects the jumper cables while smoking a cigarette and I sit in my car in shock that something like this is actually happening to me. The man returns to his car as we wait for the car to jump start, and we make small talk. After several attempts of starting my car, we realize that it’s just not going to work.

“Hey,” I start to tell him, “Thanks so much for doing this. I’m really sorry to be taking up your time, but I do appreciate your help so much.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he explains, “it gives me a chance to roll up my marijuana!”

Sure enough, I look inside his car, and he has all the essentials for three freshly rolled drags of marijuana.

“Hey… Glad I could help you out then!” I nervously respond. OhmyGod is this seriously happening to me?? John is SO dead when I see him. This Valentine’s Day surprise better be good.

5:15PM – MarijuanaMan finally leaves (after giving me his business card–he’s apparently a well-respected mechanical engineer), and I’m on the phone with John, freaking out. Again, reminding myself that the boy is cute and charming and Calls were made to my dad, my mom, a tow company, back to John, and back to Dad. It was really all a blur to me.

By now my car was cold because the heat obviously couldn’t be on. It was dark outside, and car after car after car passed me on the ramp. Every time I called John to see where he was, I heard that he was stuck in traffic, couldn’t find the exit to get to me, or some other reason. At the same time, a towing company set out to find my car. The man called me four different times asking me the location of my car. Seriously, how else could I explain that my car was just off the Dan Ryan onto the Lake Shore Drive exit ramp. Even someone from rural Illinois would know what I was talking about.

After the man finally figured out where my car was, I got back on the phone with John. I was in tears–our romantic evening had been ruined. We weren’t going to make it to dinner on time. I was cold. I was exhausted. And worst of all, I really had to pee.

5:45PM – I looked up from my steering wheel into my rear view mirror. Another car pulled up behind me? Seriously? Maybe this guy does cocaine. John taps at my window.

To be continued…

Read John’s Version Here


  1. […] can read Erica’s version here:  Flare Jeans) […]

  2. we need to finish this story!

  3. the suspense is killing me!

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