Friday, October 12, 2012

High School Heroes and Zombies

Chivalry is not dead. It is not even dormant. Heroes fight the good fight and come to the rescue and everyday life provides inspiration for fiction.

Let me explain how I know.

Pain shot through my heels and hands when I woke up this morning. Cursed with carpal tunnel and apparent plantar faciitis, I stretched my hands and feet for five minutes and got up. The dog, far too excited to see me ("It's you! Again! That's the best thing Evah!"), drank too much water and promptly threw up. My daughter couldn't find her hoodie and yet we managed to clean up, keep her warm and leave on time. We talked on the ride, as always, but at the last turn, we both felt the strange vibe. The steering wheel shook iny hands.

"That's not right. You feel that?" I asked.


"When we stop, check the tires...." I remembered that vibration from last month when the front tire went flat. I stopped the car, the kiddo got out and Mr. L., gym teacher, who monitored the entry stepped up to our car.

"Do you know you have a flat tire?" 

I nodded. "I was afraid of that." Sometimes, I hate it when I'm right.

I pulled over out of bus and parent traffic, shut off the engine, got out and exposed the spare. I needed strong hands to change the tire. Mine tingled, numb from the drive. My husband waited at home and I left home without my cell. I'd never changed a tire, either. Determined, I reached for the jack when Mr. L. and Mr. C. walked nobly down the ramp to my rescue. Relieved and pleased I wouldn't have to test my mettle, I smiled and said, "Yes, please," when they asked if I wanted help. Together, they changed my tire out for the "doughnut" spare. We chatted, I thanked them and, reminded to go slowly because the spare isn't meant for going far, I wended my way home.

There are times when teachers can seem like the bad guys. Mr. L. and I have had our go 'rounds regarding gym class from they day we met, but with civility and respect. And this time, he saw I was in need and proved his character. Tomorrow we may disagree, but today he and Mr. C. --who didn't even know me but held the raised tire so Mr. L. could get the lug nuts off-- are my heroes.

I'd want Nathan Fillion too. He can weld. 
Ordinary heroes may not seem like fodder for exciting novels, but it is the ordinary attributes of a protagonist - helping with flat tires, stepping in to stop a bully, speaking up when others are afraid - that makes them work well in extraordinary circumstances. If the Zombie Apocalypse happened tomorrow (don't laugh, visit the CDC site at the link and see who's taking it seriously!) , I know I'd want Mr. L. in my survival group. He stepped up to change my tire, he could keep our survival vehicle moving.

So, hail to the heroes! Thank God for the welders, the teachers, the tire changers, the guy at the Stop & Shop who knows where the Twinkies are hidden. Don't forget them in your writing. They can make the difference between being Zombie fodder or getting home in one piece.

Who's been your hero this week?


  1. Another flat tire, oh no! It's wonderful that the teachers stepped up to the hero plate to help you out. What might have been simple to them was overwhelming to you, and that kind of situation happens so many times in our lives, from flat tires to closed doors, to being too sick to cook. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate the extraordinary ordinary people!

    My hero this week was Arrow — I mean my hubby! Hubby not only winterized our AC (it's been so lovely and warm inside!) but he printed announcements for my church group, even after I procrastinated making them until the last minute. I know, *moi*??? :D

    1. Aren't they awesome people? Hubbies top the list, I think. :D