Sunday, August 02, 2015

Incident at Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

"Your tire is about flat." The woman had not yet started her car, but came out to have a look.

"Oh, no!" she said. She pulled out her phone.

We were just finishing our lunch at a shady spot near the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, and the lovely Carol was thinking to spend some time reading. Feeling my "damsel in distress" button pressed, I walked around the car as said damsel was folding up her phone, looking dejected. I made a sympathetic noise, and asked her if she had a spare. She did, "But…"

Carol chimed in around here with "my husband would probably be happy to help." So that's what we did. The damsel (probably about our age actually), who I'll call "Erin," was driving a 2003 Nissan SUV, on which she had never changed a tire. I looked under the car, and saw a full-sized spare. Nice! But Erin was hesitant. It has been quite a while since she'd changed a tire, and had little memory of how to do it. Have I mentioned that she'd pushed my "damsel in distress" button?

Erin opened the hatch and removed some equipment. Under the floor we found some tools: a hex wrench and a rod with a "T" at one end. "Where's the jack?" I wondered, and started to lift the tool tray out. I found some resistance, and after a moment, also found a wing-nut, which I started to loosen. Erin took over, spinning the wingnut counterclockwise while I gradually lifted an edge of the tool tray, and there I found a jack. Success!

I wasn't sure where to place the jack, and I asked Erin if she still had the manual (when all else fails...). Sure enough, she did. I encouraged her to take her time and to follow the order of steps in the manual. There was one thing I forgot to make her do: engage the T-shaped rod to engage the spare-tire winch. But she did it herself at the end—catching my mistake of omission. Other than that, though, she did all the work. I told her what to do and how to do it, and she executed everything.

Carol was very supportive of this effort, noting that I was teaching Erin how to fish, rather than simply giving her one.

As we worked, and for some time afterward, Erin told us about her life and her travels, and also about her niece's travel.

It was a lovely time, and it was nice for me to feel useful on vacation. And we got something out of it, too. Carol asked her whether it was worthwhile to walk across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Erin said it was, but she also recommended a trail that started just behind us. About a half-mile down is a bench, she said, and the view from there is fabulous. We took the half-mile or so walk, and sure enough, the view was well worth the 10-15 minute walk. Photos were taken. Truly a win-win adventure.

No comments: