Disaster Poised Like a Tsunami Part II of II

Enter the Hero.

It came to be that I found myself sitting in the Macdonalds at Metrotown in Vancouver, having made my way there from where my car had died on me many blocks away, with my Tab 3 connected to Macdonalds WiFi with access to internet pondering Hmm.

As I sitting there pondering who to email the Facebook app that I opened along with email and chrome [google search] browser popped up an Icon that someone in my friends list had just opened their Facebook app. A click and I could see it was a friend who lives in Vancouver who i met while I was living in the car I owned at the time.


Relief as the 1,000 pound gorilla began climbing from my back.

I send a message about the car breakdown. He asks what I need. I explain that my first priority is the need to get to the Court Registry in the morning and process the documents. That I could survive the night in my car and dealing with the car could wait until after I had taken care of the documents.

He has been watching the Canada vs Sweden hockey game at the world junior championships and has quaffed a few brews and cannot drive but will make sure I get to the registry and will pay for me to cab to his place. While I wrestling with my conscience over the cost of the cab ride versus the car on a cold, very wet night he tells me to hang on he may have a better solution.

It was surprising easy to actually relax and wait – because he is the type of friend that you know will help resolve the matte. Having been able to contact him, what had threatened to be a disaster had become something to be managed and dealt with.

Where exactly am I? The 24 hour Macdonalds at Metrotown. Stay there, a friend of his who knows cars is going to pick him up, they will pick me up and we will check out my car so we know what we are dealing with before heading back to his place.

When he arrived and hopped off, ahh… out of his white steed, ahem ….. white car, the now dissipating adrenalin had me in a rather whimsical headspace so the circumstances + his white steed/car had the lone ranger theme playing in my head.

I can truthfully say that I have never seen Fred Johns look better that he did coming into Macdonalds through that door.


We get to my car, check it out, attach jumper cables and it purrs to life. I get out of the car after it starts and walk to the front and we are discussing the fact that the alternator has obviously died. When Fred asked how you knew it was the alternator? His friend said “because when you do this [as he removes the jumper cables] the car stops running”.

After about two minutes of the car continuing to run he asks I I would care to try the headlights, I say yes, turn the headlights on and ….. the car keeps running. So we decide I will get in and head off to the Trans Canada, they will follow to make sure the car keeps running and at the right turn off they will pass me and I will follow back to Fred’s place.

We stop at the Macdonalds near Fred’s place. Now at one point in our journey I had had to turn the windshield wipers on which had resulted in the headlights dimming and the wipers moving in slow motion causing me to, with alacrity, kill the head lights. Wipers speed up, car keeps running, good street lighting and I keep driving leaving the lights off.

Fred asks what had happen ed to the headlights, I explain and they head to the drive through and I leave the car running. They return, I follow and with the wipers off turn on the headlights.

We get to Fred’s, park my car and have a discussion about the behaviour of the car. Usually alternators work or don’t work. In the never say never column this alternator is working fairly well, but not up to full capacity so on a day of pouring rain with the headlights on, the wipers on high, the fan running to keep the windows clear it does not produce enough power, drew down the battery and died.

So, unless we get some massive super storm that would require headlights to drive in, I should have no trouble driving back to Abbotsford.

We go into the house and cable is that Telus system where you can pause a game at a point, go help a friend finding himself stranded in Vancouver with a automobile that has become a steel sculpture, return and resume watching the game as the third period begins.
T he world junior championship is usually some of the best, most entertaining hockey of the year and Canada is up 5 -1.

Because Fred is the kind of friend he is what was looking like a disaster that was going to blow Christmas, perhaps even New Year out of the water, has become an inconvenience, a rather minor inconvenience at that. Even better, Fred’s question about the alternator has resulted in knowing the can be driven back to Abbotsford.

As a result the massive panic attack adrenalin rush high has collapsed in on itself leaving a nice mild buzz.

The third period begins and Sweden starts scoring and lit moves from inconvenience to well worth the price of admission to the entertainment. Of course I am struggling not to collapse and roll around the floor laughing and repeating the mantra that I am a guest and it would be most impolite – especially under the circumstances – to collapse laughing at Fred’s reaction as Sweden scores goal after goal.

Adding to the entertainment is the fact that four of the goals go through the net, without damaging the net. I don’t recall ever seeing a puck go through the net without damaging the net but 4 straight Swedish shots do. Slow motion shows the shot as a moving black line sailing into the goal and out through the net. The last shot shows just a slight twitch of the net which did not even slow the puck down.

Fortunately the Canadians score to break the 6 – 6 tie, take the lead and manage to hold on for the win – although they tried their best to let Sweden tie it up over those last few minutes.
Bedtime so we can get up and into the court registry and Fred hands me a pillow and blanket and apologises because they do not have a big supply of spare linen and I will have sleep on the couch. At which point I cannot stop the big grin that stretches my face because compared to the front seat of my car on a strange Vancouver street this is the lap of luxury. When it gets little a cool latter in the night my heavy coat makes a nice warm blanket.

We are up a few hours later heading into the registry and actually get there 8 minutes before it opens after the streets are empty. It was as if there was an alien invasion underway, everybody is hiding and we have missed the announcement.

We sail in, sail out, my car starts and we wish each other a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Before Fred goes home to get some more sleep and I head back to Abbotsford I do comment that given the fact that 12 hours earlier I had been looking a disaster in its proverbial face, a disaster that has evaporated with his help, I did not see how I could avoid having a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank You.

I have never been in worse financial shape, so poor in $$$ in my life. At the same time I have never been richer in terms of having friends such as Fred Johns who, should you call them during a world junior hockey game having found yourself facing disaster, will put the game on hold and come to help you.

With friends like that it isn’t just that they come help, it is that you know that should it hit the fan you have people you can depend on to lend a hand.

When I found Fred online what had been a looming disaster was reduced to a problem to be dealt with, with the help of a friend whose reaction was ” What do you need ……”






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