Back when I was in college my co-worker and I took the day off from our duties in the Fisheries and Wildlife office to take a road trip. We were heading to Holland for the tulip festival.
I was a car-less student and her little MG midget was in the shop. The brakes on it had gone out as she was coasting down a steep hill, at the bottom of which was a red light. The back end of a Lincoln Continental, already stopped at the light, stopped her.
So we took her mechanic brother’s beat up Camaro, on loan to her while he fixed her beloved midget.
Off we went, heading west on Grand River. Just as we approached downtown East Lansing, Karen suddenly made a sharp left turn into the parking lot of a small grocery store.
“Run in and grab as much baking soda as you can carry,” she said. “Don’t stop to pay for it, we’ll pay later!”
I had no idea what was going on but I obeyed. I jumped out of the car before it was completely stopped, ran into the store, ran out of the store and saw smoke.
Without saying a word we each tore open a box and dumped the soda onto the flames.
As I was driving home from a meeting this morning, a car approaching in the oncoming lane was encircled in a cloud of white smoke.
I thought of Karen’s car and her quick thinking and I glanced around to see if there was a store in sight. The road was deserted except for the two of us, a small airport to my right and residential streets to my left.
Pull over before you explode into flames, I thought.
The volume of smoke was steadily increasing as it passed and by the time I looked in my rear view mirror, the car was no longer visible. All I could see was a ball of dense smoke traveling at 40 miles/hour.
I knew the car was approaching a sharp curve in the road.
How can he/she see through all that smoke?
Suddenly I smelled something burning.
Pull over before you die of smoke inhalation!
PULL OVER AND GET OUT OF THAT CAR!
Karen knew her car was on fire before I had any clue. I didn’t see smoke until I came out of the store with the soda and saw it billowing from the opened hood.
Surely the driver of this morning’s car must have seen the smoke. Surely he/she must know that where there is smoke there is fire.
I wish the driver would have pulled over and let me help. I hope he/she is okay.
Needless to say, our trip to the tulip festival was aborted. We never even made it out of town.
Could we have gone into work?
Did we go into work?
We bought bon bons, went to Karen’s apartment and watched soap operas all day.
Anyone know the protocol for dealing with a smoking car on a store-less road?
Just in case.