Like what happened to me on Tuesday....
I work two part-time jobs as an administration officer (in other words: office chick). One of these jobs, although the pay is not great, is at least a steady source of income. I work Mondays and Wednesdays at this job in an office in town. The other job is on a 'now and then' basis and I am paid casual rates. I'm usually only needed when they have meetings (every few months). They had scheduled one of these meetings for Tuesday afternoon. Since the meeting didn't start until 1:30pm, I decided to go to ladies' tennis in the morning and then go home a bit early so I could get ready for the meeting.
The tennis club is in the middle of nowhere and about 15 minutes drive from my house. On my way home, a light came on on the dashboard and an alarm went off indicating that I had water in the diesel and it needed to be drained. We'd had the same problem two days before when Duncan had to pull over and drain the water out on our way home from church. The culprit was one of those dodgy 24 hour unmanned service stations which had recently opened in town. We later discovered that other people had water in their fuel after getting it from there. I pulled over and got out my trusty little car manual, but despite there being a diagram on how to drain the water, I couldn't make sense of it. I'm just not good with stuff like that.
So there I was, stuck on a gravel road out in woop woop. I didn't have my mobile with me (since it doesn't work out here anyway). I couldn't get anyone on the 2-way radio. I waited for a little bit and nobody came along that road. I felt like the only decent option was to walk so I took out my backpack, left the tennis racquet and the morning tea, locked the 4WD and set off on foot, praying someone would come along. I felt like Mi Taylor in National Velvet tramping along the road with my backpack....except I wasn't whistling since I was far from cheerful at this stage.
What I didn't realise was just how far I had to walk in order to find a house. There were just paddocks along the road with no driveway in sight. Even if you do find a driveway in the country, it can be a kilometre long with no guarantee there will actually be a house or anyone around at the end of it. I walked and walked, busting to pee, but not daring to stop since there wasn't much scrub by the roadside, and if someone did come along, it would be very embarrassing.
Ok, too much information!
Eventually...after at least 5km.... I reached a house. I knew this family from tennis so I trudged up the driveway, hoping they were home or at least that the house was unlocked so I could use their phone. The lady was very surprised to see me arrive while she was sitting at the table eating her lunch. She got me a drink (since I was sooo thirsty by this stage) and let me call Duncan on her phone. Despite the dodgy reception, I managed the get the message to him and he said (just before the reception cut out) that he'd send one of his workmates to pick me up. By this stage, I knew I'd never get to work on time so I rang my boss to let him know. He wasn't answering his phone after three attempts to ring him so I left a message and just hoped he'd got it.
Finally, one of the farmhands came to pick me up and he took me to where I'd left the 4WD, saying "Far out, you walked a long way." He is also a mechanic so he showed me how to drain the water and told me to bring the beast to the farm workshop. I drove home, had a shower and some late lunch, and then went to the workshop.
So that was my day. I missed out on half a day's pay which I'm not happy about. We've also made a complaint (as have other people) about that dodgy new petrol station. But, in hindsight, I can see that I have much to be grateful about:
- It happened during the day. It would be so creepy if it had happened at night! Hopefully Duncan would have sent out a search party eventually haha. I'm going to make sure there's always a torch in the car.
- It happened on a 26C day. Praise the Lord it didn't happen the day before when it was 38C.
- Since I had been playing tennis, I was wearing appropriate clothing for a long walk. I was glad to have comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen. That would have sucked if I'd broken down wearing a ballgown and high heels.
- My arthritis has been pretty good lately and I didn't injure myself at tennis. Walking 5km with a bad back or a sprained ankle would be VERY difficult.
- I had some water with me. Not much, but enough.
If you break down in the country, you get fit very quickly.