The oil light went on in my car tonight. Shortly after that, at a traffic light I heard some strange mechanical noises coming from the engine of my brand new Honda. I pulled off the road and noticed all the oil running out onto the pavement.
The Honda dealership had just changed my oil a day before and obviously did not tighten the oil pan screw. I called the dealership and they sent a tow truck. The flat bed tow truck came with lights flashing at 6:30 pm. The driver of the truck didn’t talk much. He asked me what happened and I explained. He didn’t have much of a reaction. He just seemed to understand that these things can happen. He wore typical gas station clothes. Grey and dirty, and oily, old boots. A shaved head and baseball cap. He carefully attached my car to the truck, and secured the connections. Then he skillfully manuevered the car into position and the cable pulled my car onto the deck of the truck.
I climbed in the cab and we started out for the Honda dealership. It was very dark now and I could see him illuminated by the dashboard lights. The ride would take about twenty minutes. We talked about deer and how they are so active this time of year because its mating season. I asked him if he is prepared for the weather to get even colder. He didn’t give much of an opinion about that. I asked if he was from around here and said he was from Montgomery. He said he works the night shift towing and has a full-time day job at a refinery in Perth Amboy. Also he has 4 kids. The oldest two are in college and his youngest, Christian, is 5, His thirteen year old has just starting high school. He noted that it is a coincidence that his kids names start with either a J or a C in alternating order and that his name is Jose and his wife’s name is Carmen.
Jose and Carmen have been married since they were 19. He’s 40 now. He told me how well he understands his wife. He knows exactly how to handle things when she is cranky because of her period and how he never argues with her because it doesn’t get them anywhere. Even when she wants to argue he is the first to back down. If he needs to, he takes his 5-year old out for a ride or to the movies, and when they come back home she has forgotten all about the disagreement. He really understands women. In fact he studied women. His father told him that if you’re going to get married you better know something about women. So he read books about relationships to prepare. Even now he studies about menopause and tells Carmen what to expect and that it’s coming.
We pulled into the Honda dealership at about 7:45 . After my car was unloaded and checked in for the repair, I gave Jose a tip and shook his hand. My ex-wife and son had arrived too and were waiting with the headlights on. My son excitedly got out and into my used mini van provided by the dealership as a courtesy. We headed home. My son was very talkative and told me about a little, shy, latino girl in his class named Julia that he likes to help everyday.