Yesterday, Marty and I ran into Raleigh to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. On the way home, we started hearing a LOUD thwap, thwap noise...you know, that noise that it starts to make right before the belt breaks... from the engine. So, I pulled over and popped the hood. The belt was still in place so I decided to take it really slow and hope we made it home. We didn't (make it home that is). A few miles down the road the belt gave out completely and I lost all power. For those of you who know the area, I was on west bound Wade Avenue right past the Blue Ridge Rd exit. We pulled off the road and got out and popped the hood. This is one time when not having a cell phone bit me in the ass because NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON STOPPED or even bothered to call it in to 911 and let them know there was a stranded motorist. No one fucking called or checked despite being able to clearly see it was a woman stranded. After the most futile and frustrating half an hour, Marty and I headed up the nearest exit ramp and the nice folks at the Ramada Inn let us use their phone to call Vic.
Since we knew exactly what was wrong, I asked Vic to stop by the auto parts store and buy the belt for the van. After he picked us up, we headed back to the van to replace the belt. Yay, time for me to play mechanic (Vic's arms and hands are just too large and muscular to fit in between things in the engine). Once again, NO ONE STOPPED or called anyone. Now, I can somewhat understand the lack of help this time because there was a second car and a man with me...but still....grrrr. After a little while of trying to figure out how to put it on and why it was seeming too loose, we realized the idjit at the auto parts store sold Vic the wrong belt despite being clearly told the make, model, and engine size of my van. Now, it's getting close to dinner time and we are all frustrated and frazzled. We locked up the van and headed home.
Vic took kid duty and I went and exchanged the one too large, wrong sized belt with the two correct belts I needed. Leaving my hubby on kid wrangling duty, my sbc Jennifer and I headed back out to my van to try and complete the repair. We were there for more than an hour. I spent that whole time arm deep in the engine trying to get the belt in position. I came a hair's breadth from actually getting the belt in place but I couldn't stretch it the last inch or so to get it in the proper position around the last pulley/gear/whatchamacallit. I just lacked the upper body strength or perhaps the proper tool to do it. Once again, in that whole time, with TWO WOMEN and an obviously broken down an, NOT ONE SINGLE ASSHOLE STOPPED OR CALLED FOR HELP...not even the Wake County Sheriff's Deputy who drove past. Even if that deputy had been enroute to a call (no light's or sirens so I doubt it), he could have used his handy-dandy radio to call the dispatch center and send someone out to check on us. My husband was a cop years ago. During his time as a cop or during his time as a civilian, he never ever would pass two women with a broken vehicle without making sure they had help. I damned well will make sure my boys grow up ready and willing to check on and help their fellow man. You know, I think the fact that no one cared enough to check on me pissed me off as much as the fact that I knew what to do to fix the van but couldn't quite make it all work.
What the hell has happened to common courtesy and chivalry? This is definitely one area the omnipresence of cell phones has hurt rather than helped. People see someone who definitely needs help and, instead of asking what the can do, they think "Fuck it, they have a phone. Let them call for help."
Chivalry is dead. Long live the asshole.