Imagine, if you will, the blowout of a tire.
The telltale swerve of the vehicle's rear, swaggering all over a 6-lane highway like some belligerent alligator.
Now imagine a 20ft trailer loaded with roughly 10,000lbs of compost attached to the back of your drunk reptile. Cow manure flying, eyes widening, and a gulf of fear deepening by the microsecond.
Somehow, your brave McFarmer in the driver's seat manages to wrassle the injured beast to the shoulder of I-45, where you promptly lock in relieved embrace and contemplate barfing.
(He later confesses to blacking out during the panic.)
Luckily, no one barfs, but unluckily, you find yourself in even more predicament.
The lug wrench set for the truck doesn't fit the trailer wheels. The trailer's too heavy for the jack. Over the deafening tidal wave of constant traffic noise, you hear Triple A say "No dice--we don't cover the trailer."
Nearly 10 phone calls later, not one tow truck, highway auto service or dude with a wrench will come to bail you out; the trailer doesn't have a spare, and no one wants to bring you a tire before they put it on. You're starting to feel not only woefully unprepared, but just really woeful.
What do you do? Leave it as a testament to the dangers of old tires and too much cubic yardage? Where do you turn now? This was freaky-expensive dirt.
Then parts the gloom, and an automotive messiah emerges midst the Houston haze.
"I'M DERIC---LIKE 'ERIC,' WITH A 'D!'" he yells over the din. "I'M A TWIN. HIS NAME IS ERIC. LET'S GIVE THIS A TRY!
He proceeds to boost the whole trailer, remove the shredded tire, drive Alex to a tire store, put on the new tire, follow us to a parking lot off the next exit and change another tire for us (just in case), and give us use of his drill and fancy self-tapping screws to secure our flapping tarp. All of this with a reassuring smile.
Deric is the owner of State Farm Towing, and he's not affiliated with the insurance company. But he is forever affiliated with my gratitude.
Thank you so much, Deric. And thank you from our parents, to whom we did not tell this story until much later.
Deric Lopez, the man of my highway dreams. I didn't know I had such dreams. But now I've been acquainted with the taste of a highway nightmare, and I understand what it means to have them answered with a dream.
A dream named Deric Lopez of State Farm Towing, who's got one lucky twin named Eric.