There it is, right in the middle of the Third Brandenburg. A miss. In my engine. IN MY NEW CAR.

Bad enough it is right in the middle of the Third Brandenburg. It is also in the middle of Canal Road at a little before 9 Friday morning when Canal Road is, you know, one-way downtown in both lanes. Past the point of no return (Reservoir Road) too.

It misses again. (Maybe it's my heart, I think. Maybe better it should be.)

I turn off the rear window defroster.

I turn off the heater fan.

I (sigh) turn off the Third Brandenburg.

Then the motor turns off itself.

Ever wonder what it's like to be the car the helicopter traffic reporter is warning the world about? Let me tell you, the milk of human kindness runs thin.

I review my options.

On the one hand, the NEW CAR (Mazda) is small. I am only blocking half a lane or so.

On the other hand the car is red, so it is hard to pretend I'm not there.

I debate the possible advantage of (forgive me Bella and Gloria) putting my head down on the steering wheel and weeping.

Or of opening the window and trying to wave down one of those assiduously front-facing drivers whizzing impatiently past me.

Oh God, I hear a helicopter up there.

Wonder of Wonders: A man pulls up alongside and shouts can he help.

I ask would he please tell the gas station at the end of Canal Road to come get me.

The woman in the car behind him honks.

He asks me what is the matter.

I tell him the motor died.

The woman in the car behind him honks again and yells (in a voice that would have shattered the windshield in my old car): "Will you PLEASE move!"

Lady, what do you think we were doing? Meeting like this?

The man drives off.

The woman in the car behind him drives off.

I suddenly realize that I am getting cold.

Even if the man stops at the gas station (he did) they can't come get me until the traffic changes at 9:30. How long does it take to freeze to death at 18 degrees (minus 7 Celsius)?

I panic, sort of. I say a few cogent things to the car and it starts. For about a minute and maybe 20 feet.

But suddenly I see a way out.

So, 5 or 10 feet at a time, moving no more than 5 mph, I creep along Canal Road. Fortunately the flow of traffic isn't doing much better, so drivers around me are no longer directing their ire entirely at me.

What feels like 1,000 miles and an hour or more later, I creep into the gas station.

Watered gas, pronounces the mechanic.

Funny, I think, just like the milk of human kindness.

As for you, lady, you know who you are. I'm not vindictive. It's just that one of these days I'd like to hear about you on the helicopter news.