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Roadside assistance

As I write this, I’m waiting for AAA to arrive. I left the office and discovered I had a nail in my tire. That was only the beginning of the problem — I then found out I couldn’t get any of the lug nuts to break loose. I only solved that issue by standing on the wrench and literally stomping down on it with all my weight.

Needless, to say, I was a little bit off the pace of the Red Bull Formula One team that completed a four-tire-change pit stop in 1.9 seconds.

The real problem, however, and the reason I’m still waiting for AAA, is that the wheel is stuck to the hub. It won’t budge. The nuts are off, but the wheel is sealed on tight. Pulls, kicks, whacks with the lug wrench and an incredible amount of cursing all proved ineffective remedies. That’s why I’ve called AAA. I don’t have the right tool for the job.

This isn’t a good feeling. It wounds the pride that I couldn’t fix it myself. It also causes a bit of anxiety. How long will I be stuck here tonight? How long will I have to ride around on the little donut before I can get it replaced? What if AAA can’t get the wheel off and they have to tow me somewhere? How will I get to work tomorrow? How much is this going to cost? I really didn’t need this expense right now.

I have a lot of questions and very few answers.

In moments like this, I try to remind myself that I’m experiencing a trivial version of how most people feel when they call a lawyer for the first time about their case. And sometimes, this feeling lasts throughout the case.

When you find yourself getting a little exasperated with a client who calls with a lot questions that seem basic or even annoying (let’s face it, it happens), think of those moments in life where you’ve been the one put in an unfamiliar position with no clear way out. It may not help you answer their question, but it should help you understand where they’re coming from a little better.

UPDATE: AAA finally arrived. All it took was a rubber mallet and a few minutes worth of pounding and the tire came off.

Lawyers are often prone to having a high opinion of the profession but, really, we’re just roadside assistance. Our clients find themselves in quandaries they can’t solve alone, so they call us. If more lawyers viewed their role in society as being closer to that of a plumber or auto mechanic and acted accordingly, lawyers might enjoy a better reputation.

In related news, I think I’ll buy a rubber mallet to keep in the trunk of my car.