Everything pretty much went according to plan. Getting my mom out of the car and into a wheelchair at the curb at BWI with an icy wind howling. Me with four suitcases trying to find the wheelchair attendant and my mom after we got separated. Walking/wheeling to the very last gate. Running for snacks and water. All the usual airport stuff. We got on board, flew for hours, landed, found another wheelchair attendant, claimed our luggage, got in the town car I'd ordered to take my mom home in comfort.
And then, in free-flowing L.A. traffic shortly after 2:00 p.m., the car died in the fast lane of the 405 Freeway. Stone cold dead-stopped. Folks, we have a problem, the driver said. He mumbled and tried to start the car. I commanded him to put the flashers on. He began trying to call his boss. I called 911. We are in serious danger, I told the dispatcher as cars screeched and careened around us. The person the driver was talking to said he'd send a car to pick up the passengers. I said this is a fucking emergency. Six terrifying minutes passed and I called 911 again just before I heard the sirens. An LAPD vehicle parked behind us, lights flashing. The officer was calm. Do not get out of the car, she said. A freeway emergency tow-truck came. A minute or two later, a CHP officer ran a traffic break, closing down all northbound lanes of the 405. He then escorted my mom to his vehicle as I followed behind.
For twenty minutes or so, we sat in his SUV on a nearby street chatting until the transportation company sent a van for us. Thank you so much, I told the CHP officer as we got out of his car and he helped my mom into the van. It's what we do, m'am, he said as if it was a line in a movie script.
There's nothing like a brush with death for a jolt of energy. I cooked a nice dinner. Did our laundry. I am wide awake. I walked across the freeway with my 90-year-old mother.