“I will keep strictly to the road”
See, here’s the thing about the flat tire we had while on vacation: My daughter was driving. She has very little experience with driving. She got her Learner’s Permit just a few days before we left on our trip, and we thought that small towns with fewer cars and a slower pace would be the perfect place for her to get some practice. And it was. She drove back and forth to the store a couple of times, and drove around my sister’s neighborhood a little. It was a nice, easygoing environment.
But on one of these trips, we drove over some sort of metal object. Nobody took a picture, but it was about six inches long, metal, and there were three or four prongs that had punctured the tire. It was obviously some sort of farming equipment. None of us knew exactly what, but we all agree it was, for lack of a better word: a fork.
Yes, we got a flat tire from a fork in the road.
My girl has taken a fair bit of ribbing for being the one who was driving when it happened, but I take away two things from this particular detail. First, if she hadn’t been driving, we wouldn’t have noticed the tire when we did. We had stopped on the side of the rural road we were on, to switch drivers, so my hubby could drive the rest of the way, and in walking around the back of the car to take over driving, he noticed the tire problem. If he hadn’t, we would have been on the highway when we realized.
The other lesson for me was about people who have teased my daughter about “allowing” it to happen. “Why weren’t you paying attention?” they’ve said, or, “You know, you’re supposed to go around things in the road…”
All good-naturedly, of course, and my girl is rolling her eyes and laughing along. She knows the important truth: that anyone could have been driving when we ran over that fork. It’s possible that a more experienced driver might have noticed and gone around it, but it’s also possible that on that one-lane road, with not much shoulder, and with all the chatting and laughing in the car, we were destined.
There were four licensed drivers in that car, and though my daughter was the one who’d been behind the wheel at the time, we all knew this: There but for the grace of God, go I.
So remember two things when you look at the mistakes that others have made. First, it could have been you. And second, beware the fork in the road.