Sorry for leaving people hanging with me and Jasper on the side of the road in Owatonna.
It was below zero and windy. I had not followed my cardinal rule; I hadn’t dressed warmly enough to walk more than a block or two. The girl and her mom who came up the dirt road were headed for the exact photo shoot we had been trying to get to. A young (tweenish) Asian girl and her mom missed the same turn we missed. They asked us for help. I asked if they could possibly give us a ride to the shoot. We would use our magical phone device to get them to the destination and they’d use their magical unstuck car to get us there. They agreed. Turns out, the turn we missed is very easy to miss.
As we pulled away from where my car was, I realized I had no understanding of how to describe the location. I didn’t know the street number or anything. I looked back at the name of the street and hoped that would be enough to direct the tow truck I eventually would have to call to the car. Jasper and I sat in the back seat and Jasper became the navigator with the magical phone. Between that and the jade figurine on the dashboard, we made it to the location, just a titch late.
When we arrived, the “handler” (I’m sure she has a nicer title) had us all pull out the clothing we had brought. They made it clear that they wanted a “clean-cut and sporty” look, with asking us to bring shorts, t-shirs and white ankle socks. We got to fixing Jasper’s hair and changing into the outfit she recommended. She didn’t look to happy. There were a 5 kids and 5 parents waiting in the lobby, changing and making their hair generic (high ponies for the straight haired girls, hair parted and tucked behind the ears for the boys) and conservative. Two small white boys and a white girl, one asian girl and a tall black girl. The handler asked everyone their age. 13, 14, 14,15 and 17. The handler disappeared behind a door for a while.
While she was gone, I stepped outside and called Andy for the number to Triple A and the temporary ID number they gave us. I tried to describe the location so she could direct the towing company. She directed me to wait for a call from the Tow Guys. While I was waiting for them to call, I tried to use the mapping function on the phone to locate an address without success.
The handler came back out looking grim. It turns out that the agency made a mistake. They catalog company had requested upper teen kids and what they ended up with was mostly lower-age looking teens. She apologized to everyone. The only kid they could use was the tall black girl who looked older than she was. We’d all get paid (since the agency, but there would be no work that day.
The Asian girl and her mom asked if we needed a ride to the car. Since i hadn’t heard from the Towing guys, I said no, I’d stay where it was warm until I heard from them. Maybe they’d pick us up on the way since it was so close.
It turns out that using the map on the phone was a mistake. When one is using the map function on the phone, the caller to that phone gets a busy signal. Oops. The tow truck had tried to call. Triple A was able to get through while I was in between maps. The lady scolded me and told me that the tow truck guy was at my car trying to get ahold of me. And me trying to find an address for them.
The Dad of the black girl heard my side of the conversation with the tow truck which was something like, “You’re where? You’re at the car right now? Oh. You found it.I’ll try to get there as soon as I can. Will you stay there for another ten minutes?” They would. Dad offered to give us a ride over there while his daughter did the photo-shoot. We gratefully accepted, although I wasn’t completely sure I was going to be able to direct him there. We did find it, the Tow Truck Company was there waiting. Two guys instead of one.
We thanked the Dad, who was very gracious. The Tow Truck guys had the towline under the front of my car and only needed me to get in and put the thing into neutral for them. Just like butter, they pulled the car out of the snow. I tipped them each generously (usually don’t have cash on me, but my new year’s resolution is to tip better, so I had real american dollars). They thanked me profusely, adding the “Triple A don’t pay too good, so we sure appreciate it.”
We got home without further incident. So grateful for how well the day went in spite of being so crappy. If we hadn’t have gotten Triple A, if the Asian girl’s mom hadn’t missed the same turn as we did, if they hadn’t asked us for directions (I don’t know if I would have thrown myself in front of them), if I didn’t happen to remember to look back at the car’s location, if the dad didn’t offer to drive us… Uuff. It was all just a step away from disaster.