Queer Martha's Guide for Auto Emergency Preparedness
January 5, 2016
2016 is not even a week old and already it has shown up to my party drunk. I said, "Go home, 2016, you are drunk!" 2016 slurred, "I can't go home, I have a flat tire." This is not a metaphor. Within mere hours of 2016 entering the Eastern Standard Time Zone, your friend Queer Martha was confronted with this:
Do you see that? This is an action shot of the front wheel on my poor, sad Merrylegs the Toyota slowly deflating. Yes, only 14 hours into 2016, I got a flat tire. I haven't had a flat tire since 2010, and I forgot how demoralizing one can be.
Now, there are some things that Queer Martha does not know how to do. One of them is change a tire with any degree of confidence. Luckily for me, I noticed my flat outside the home of my dear friends from high school, Nabil and Tim. Now, we didn't go to the same high school, and apparently their high school taught them life skills like changing a tire, or something, because Nabil immediately said, "Oh, I'll change it for you. Do you have a spare?"
Now, I know that I not only have a spare, I have a whole 5th tire in the trunk of my car. You know what else I have in the trunk of my car? Everything you could ever possibly need in an emergency. Well, pretty much everything. Let me share with you:
QUEER MARTHA'S CHECKLIST FOR AUTO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
First of all, you never know where or when or with whom you will break down, so you should be prepared for any weather condition as well as any social condition. Your social condition depends on two things. First - are there other people in the car stranded with you? You should think about their comfort and safety as well as your own. Secondly, are you stranded in an unfamiliar town? You should be prepared to make a good impression on the strangers living in the town so they don't try to sacrifice you to their demon corn god or something. Ok, here's a checklist.
1.) Sleeping equipment
- 3 Sleeping Bags. Three should be enough. If there are more people in the car, someone is getting lucky tonight.
- 1 Air Mattress. You really only need one. If there are more people in the car, you can rock-paper-scissors over who gets the air mattress. The resulting hierarchy of mattress sleepers and ground sleepers will give you much needed structure to persevere through your ordeal.
2.) Various Plastic Items
- 1 Large Blue Tarp. This will keep the ground sleepers dry.
- Deflated Balloons. Looking at the balloons will help you think about happier times and boost your moral for a fleeting moment. Maybe you can re-inflate them and use them as flotation devices. I never tried that.
- 1 Safety Vest. Just in case you break down on the high way or something crazy like that.
3.) Weather Preparedness
- Ice Skates. You NEVER know when you are going to get stuck in the middle of an avalanche that completely blocks the road with downed pine trees and boulders and the only way out is by skating over the nearby frozen lake to safety. You just never know.
4.) Emergency Items for Showing up to Events Unprepared
- 1 Scented Candle. Queer Martha thinks it's an Auto Emergency when you are in your car and suddenly realize you forgot to get a hostess gift. Good thing you got a scented candle in your trunk! Tie a piece of rustic rope around that bad boy and you look like you were raised right. If the candle in your trunk was originally the centerpiece from an event that you swiped, even better.
- Fake Flowers. So Versatile. You forgot the invitation said, "costumes mandatory?" Carry around some fake flowers and now you are... a bouquet, I guess. Someone is wearing the same outfit that you are wearing? Throw on some fake flowers and now yours is so much better. Headed to a funeral and forgot to get something to lay on the grave? No one will even realize they are fake. Possibilities are countless.
- Oversized Fascinator. This is not just so you always have a plan B when the party ends up being more formal than you thought. This is also in case you break down in an area with no service and need to hitch hike to the nearest town. With an oversized fascinator on your head, who could just drive by you?
5.) Moral Support in an Emergency
- 1 Open Container. Sometimes tensions run high during an auto emergency. A little liquor never hurt to avert an emotional breakdown during a mechanical breakdown.
- 1 My Little Pony Ball. Because friendship IS magic, and playing SPUD while you wait for AAA is a good idea.
- 1 Boom Box. In the totally likely case you will break down near a wall outlet, you will be happy you have a machine that makes music. Maybe if you instead packed a battery operated boom box this advice would actually be sound.
6.) Other things that might actually be useful
- 1 Heavy-duty Blanket. Sometimes you breakdown in the cold!
- More Safety Vests. Everyone looks good in orange.
- 1 Hatchet. YOU NEVER KNOW.
What you should not under any circumstance have in your car is a car jack. That would just be totally weird. Luckily for me, Nabil got his jack from his car, and Veronica came out with her homemade babka to keep us sustained. While Tim supervised the action through his hangover, Nabil got to work.
This is Johnny, and he is literally lifting my car so the tire would move.
Veronica kept saying, "You have to alternate something, right?" And I kept saying, "Oh, my god, I am so sorry." and Tim kept saying, "Fuck, it's so cold." because he wasn't wearing shoes. Finally, Nabil and his team got the tire swapped out, and Veronica and I drove off into the midday haze. It was an exciting start to 2016, and I learned two new things from the experience.
First, anything is possible with friends <3 <3 <3.
Secondly, there is absolutely nothing useful in my trunk.