Today I had to take the motorcycle in for new license plates (to summarize a long and terrible story about paperwork and deadlines and me being an idiot). I brought a screwdriver to remove the old plates in the parking lot before I went in. I even checked before leaving that I needed a screwdriver and not a wrench.
In the parking lot I discovered my plate isn’t held on with a screw like I thought, but with a bolt and a nut. I needed a screwdriver and a wrench.
6 minutes until appointment starts. I got the best grip I could on the first nut and started unscrewing its bolt. Success! It was a locknut and almost got stuck at the end (they often do), but I got it off.
On to the second bolt. Whew. It came loose; almost there. Damnit. Stuck. Locknut jammed at the end of the bolt. Ok Adam, suck it up. I gripped so hard it started peeling skin, but couldn’t get it off.
I stood up to call on MacGyver and think, and right then another rider rolled up and asked if he could share my parking space (riders often split spaces). Yeah, for sure, no problem.
MacGyver nudged me.
Hey, any chance you have a wrench or a multi-tool or something? I got to get my license plate off and the bolt is stuck.
He had pliers. Saved! We got the bolt off and I got inside barely in time. On the way out I was planning to hand-tighten the bolts onto the new plates until I got home, but he was just pulling out, saw me, stopped, and helped get the new plate on. When I thanked him he said, “just pay it forward”.
Today two things happened that happen a lot on the road:
- Somehow it always works out. You swing on to that bus just as it pulls away. You get lost but turn the right wrong corner and find your destination. Someone has pliers.
- Despite all the scams and shootings and stuff in the news, people will help you. There are risks on the road, but for every scary story I’ve heard I’ve met a real life person who helped instead of hurt.
I am going to carry pliers from now until the day I meet someone who needs them.