There are times when I take knitting with me, and don't have a chance to work on it after all. And it's tempting to think that it was a wasted effort. And yet, you never know when a knitting opportunity will unexpectedly present itself.
Take yesterday. There I was, leaving work. I pulled up to a red light. The light turned green, and I shifted into gear (I drive a manual). However, instead of a small mechanical noise of meshing gears, what I got was a terrific thump, a grinding noise and a complete lack of forward motion. I knew what had happened instantly, of course. I tried one more time to shift into a gear, any gear, then put on my emergency flashers and motioned to the line of cars behind me to go around.
You see, my faithful little Saturn wagon is a '99. With 182,000 miles on it. And until today--it still had the original clutch. If you know standards, you understand that this is incredible longevity for a clutch, something like 140 in car years. I certainly can't complain that I didn't get my money's worth out of that clutch. (I'll also note that while I've been known to say that I was 'expecting I'd have to replace the clutch soon', I must admit that I was expecting in some vague indefinite future time, like 'a few months' or 'sometime'...not, well, yesterday. But. This was not an unanticipated issue, as you'll see....)
So. Traffic light. No forward motion. I checked again to be absolutely sure I had no motive power as the folks went around me, and it it was capital-D Dead, kaput, not a hint of anything meshing. So when the light turned red again, I hopped out of the car, still running the emergency flashers and started pushing it out of the intersection. A couple of guys in adjoining vehicles immediately got out and gave me a hand (sometimes, people are pretty damned nice, you know?) and we quickly got it out of traffic.
From there, it was a straightforward exercise...I pulled out my cell (which I originally got for exactly this kind of situation). Called my garage and got the number of their recommended towing company. Called the towing company. Tow driver was there in 15 minutes (to the chagrin of a guy who was broken down across the street and had been waiting longer than I had for AAA). Got a tow to the garage (where they already had my repair written up). The garage called their associated rental car facility, and the rental people came and picked me up. (This is convenient since when I pick my car up, it will be easy to return the rental at the same time.)
I actually didn't have a lot of time for knitting, in fact, because everyone was so efficient*. But the principle was sound, and having knitting certainly made the time pass more quickly. And what was I knitting you ask?
Twin rib socks in Online Supersocke Jungle Color. On size 0 needles. Didn't I say that the next socks would be faster? I cast these on last Saturday.
But this highlights another aspect of preparedness. I've occasionally posted about neat thrifty ideas, and I certainly don't go out of my way to spend money on things I don't think have value. But having been at this for some years now...the emergency stuff is all in place. Yeah, my car is old and a little beat-up. But it gets great fuel efficiency, regular maintenance and it's been paid off since 2002. Some of the money I don't spend on car payments has gone into an aggressive maintenance budget and my emergency car replacement fund. I don't have to agonize about renting a car while mine is out of commission or worry about paying the tow fee. I know a lot of people out there are struggling with trying to adjust their lifestyle to a more modest level. I'm hear to testify...good for you and keep at it. The security of knowing you can handle whatever comes your way is more than worth it.
But be sure to take your knitting, just in case.
*For the record, Coady's Towing, Lannan Mazda, and Enterprise Rentals all get highest marks for excellent customer service. If you break down in the Lawrence/Lowell MA area, I highly recommend them.