Morris: Thank You Tim from INDOT

April 9, 2018

by Leo Morris

There might be something more terrifying for a wheezy old man than sitting in a compact with a flat tire on the shoulder of I-465 in Indianapolis, watching nervously in the driver’s side mirror at three lanes of cars and trucks whizzing by at 70 miles an hour, but offhand I can’t imagine what.

Staring into the muzzle of a .45 perhaps, being held by a crack addict three days from a fix. I’ll have to think about it.

I had something clever and timely in mind for this week’s column, maybe a take on the state’s tightening of the therapy-animal rules, or Republicans’ failure to expand absentee-voting opportunities. My usual practice, on the weekends when I visit my sister in Indianapolis, is to let the topics marinate on the drive home to Fort Wayne on Sunday. By the time I arrive, I have settled on a subject and know pretty much what I want to say, so I can sit at the kitchen table with my laptop, a bluegrass station playing on my Amazon Echo, and start typing.

But this time, Real Life intervened in the form of a bone-rattling pothole that dropped out of the sky right in front of my speeding car. So, thank you very much to the governments of the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana, which are able to find millions of dollars for every frivolous whim in every lobbyist’s empty head but can’t handle something as basic as keeping the roads in good repair.

On the other hand, a big thank you— sincerely, not facetiously — to Tim of the Indiana Department of Transportation, who rescued me from a long afternoon of misery and, considering the way people drive these days, may even have saved my life.

He’s the one who showed up in his big truck after I told the lady at the Mazda Roadside Assistance desk that, yes, indeed, I would like some emergency assistance before the tow truck arrived. With a police car sitting behind me, I reasoned, the odds would be reduced that my car would be the one clipped by a Sunday afternoon drunk.

But Tim is who showed up. And since his truck would serve even better than a police car for running interference, I would have been quite happy with him sitting behind me in his big INDOT truck. But when I told him it would be 45 minutes before the tow truck arrived, he said he could replace the tire with the temporary spare and have me on my way in 15 minutes.

It was the best deal I’d heard in quite some time, so I took him up on it, and thanked the universe for a timely reminder.
Those of us who try to wrestle profound truths out of life’s complicated issues need to remember that there are real people in there trying to make their way the best they can, just like we are.

We might have an issue with the bureaucracies that fail our infrastructure needs, but we can’t forget to thank the Tims of the world who have to work within the bureaucracy and are still able to get us back on the road.

We might have legitimate points to make about the effects of fatherless homes on all our social ills, but that doesn’t give us license to slight the heroic single mothers doing the best they can.

We might be justified in bitter complaints about the incompetent way the latest war is being waged, or even the very need for the war, but not in taking it out on the soldiers who must fight it.

We might feel profound anger that half the country just doesn’t understand what a jerk Donald Trump is or how evil Hillary Clinton was, but for heaven’s sake let’s not change the locks on the door because our relatives voted for the wrong person.

There’s a song called “Nothing More” I heard recently that was written by Eric Donnely and Tim Warren and performed by Lily Costner and the Alternate Routes. It’s admittedly a little naïve the way songs often are, even sappy, the cynic in me might say, but some of its words are worth contemplating the next time you’re stuck on the side of the road:

And heroes don’t look like they used to
They look like you do
We are love, we are one,
We are how we treat each other when the day is done
We are peace, we are war,
We are how we treat each other and nothing more.


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