4:45pm, the Friday on the edge of Labor Day weekend, driving down the 101 in LA. Not only rush hour, but just about everyone in their car around me was bent with a steely determination to get out of the city, alive. In race-car record time. I was feeling lucky to be comfortably cruising at about 60mph in my little red Porsche 944. Not a care in the world. I was in the freakin' flow, concentrating, and feeling confident. I was practicing my Italian, answering as accurately as I could to the Italian woman loudly demanding the equivalents of "I am" (Io sono!), "He is" (Egli è!), "She is"... when I noticed " I WAS" losing speed, and quickly. I switched gears. Nothing. I turned the key again in the ignition. She turned over nice for me but when I gently pushed down the accelerator, nothing. Finally over the Italian woman's demands for "We are!" I heard in a universal language, the deep, guttural bellow of a horn from directly behind me. There, looming like an elephant in my rearview mirror, was the most massive semi I'd ever seen, and it was gaining on me at top speed. I switched off the Italian woman. The guy in the Mac truck laid on his horn again. He must have been wondering why I - being in the 2nd to the far left lane, (gravitating towards the "fast lane", as is my way) would suddenly slow down from 60 mph to a limping 30, then a helpless 20...I was hoping this trucker had a good set of brakes, because I was losing speed quickly now. I kept trying to restart my engine and get into gear, but her transmission wouldn’t engage. She was dead. I was on my own, in the middle of dense, fast-moving traffic, surrounded by impatient people, each eager to escape the City for a rare 3-day weekend. I suddenly felt like a wounded gazelle, surrounded by a pack of angry wolves. And the howl of their horns was increasing, too. I rolled down the window and put my hand out to try to get someone on my left to let me coast into their lane, so I wouldn't be blocking as much traffic. My turn signal didn't seem to be doing any good. I thought that maybe if they saw my hand flailing out of the window, they'd get the hint that I was not just being a smart-ass, that I was really in trouble. No luck. The cars on my left continued to whiz by me, at what seemed like incredibly crazy speeds. In my rear-view mirror, there was still that huge semi, uncomfortably close and closing in faster by the milli-second. I was beyond afraid that he'd smash me like an insignificant insect on the pavement. I'd simply

let go of any sense of terror, as I'd let go of any expectations of him actually stopping in time. My car had come to a complete stop in the third lane of traffic on the 101, just before the busy intersection of the 134. There were five lanes of carnivorous traffic at this point, yet only one safe haven of a shoulder on the far right. I was, however, just one lane away from the far left. I gave up hope of making it across three lanes of violent traffic, feeling a faint wave of relief and very lucky that somehow - magically - I had not been flattened by the semi truck. I resolved that soon, I'd have to simply make a scene in the middle of the highway, during rush hour on a Friday, and again defy death itself, by standing there with my still and silent little sports car, as I waited for triple A to arrive and tow me, hoping again, that one of the revving cars, breezing past me now would be able to see me in time to avoid obliterating me and my little red ride. Suddenly, I heard a man's voice yell to me. I rolled down my other window to hear what he was saying. "Put her in neutral so me and this guy can push you to the shoulder!". It was the trucker shouting to me from the far right lane! My eyes followed him, as he climbed down from the cab of his 18-wheeled beast, and ran across the freeway toward my car. And there on the 101 was an amazing sight. This trucker had somehow maneuvered his rig so that its huge cargo body was at a near 45-degree angle, jack-knifed, cutting across the entire freeway, blocking all three lanes for me, clearing a safe passage to the far right curb. His behemoth truck stretched across the entire freeway. Funny, but I don't remember a single horn honking at us. Not a single sound, in fact. I believe not the flapping of a sparrow's wing would dare disturb the hallowed, surreal silence of that moment. It seemed that all of LA might just be in awe of this amazing act of highway heroics. I was. I hardly had time for much awe, as I felt my car being pushed from behind by the two men. I turned the wheel sharply to the right to steer her onto the shoulder. As soon as I'd stopped, the men went running back across the freeway to their respective vehicles. I barely had time to shout "thank you" to them, before they were both gone. It all happened so fast that I could not even remember what they looked like. I dialed triple A for assistance from my cell, popped my hood and got out of the car in the searing heat to take a look at her insides. I don't know much about cars, but I thought having the bright red hood up might help Triple A to find me. Strangely enough, what was wrong with her, seemed almost painfully obvious. The metal clamp securing a

large rubber hose to my car's sensor had become loose and had nearly fallen off. It looked like all I needed was a screwdriver to tighten it up and put it back together.

Just then a little white pick-up truck pulled over to the shoulder and parked in front of me. I thought this guy was probably going to try to help me. Maybe he had some tools. I walked up to his car and thinking he was Mexican, said, "Hola, Senor. Que paso?" He replied, "What?". I smiled. "Car trouble?" I looked at his engine, but it looked perfect to me. "Nice car, "I said. "She's pretty new, eh? She'll be fine. " (My ride was born in 1985) He told me he was waiting for triple A, too, and yeah, he had a screwdriver. I went back to my car, tightened the clamp around the rubber tube and started her up, put her in gear. She was good to go. Gave the screwdriver back to the non-Mexican guy and hit the road. Called triple A and told them I didn't need them, after all. Lucky day, I thought.

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