The first rule in a survival situation is: don’t panic. I told myself this as I watched the sun shining on my wet skin. Beads of perspiration ran down my neck and pooled maddeningly in my eyes. I leaned back and tried to slow my breathing. There I was, heat index of 110 degrees, surrounded by sand, nothing to drink … rrr rrr rrr rrr, the damn truck still wouldn’t start.

I pictured myself in the Serengeti, 20 pounds thinner and wearing one of those cute little khaki safari outfits. Hey, it’s my fantasy. The illusion would have been perfect if not for the throngs of happy beach-goers, public toilets, and cold showers only a few feet away.

The problem is that my husband can fix practically anything, which means that he won’t ask for help until our bleached bones are discovered by a local Boy Scout troop; maybe not even then.

By now I knew the drill.

  • Kick the tires
  • Raise the hood
  • Swear
  • Crank the engine
  • Repeat

Apparently, the only cure for a vapor lock is time. I’ve cleaned the attic in August, been cooped up for eight hours with six teenage girls in a mini-van, survived hot flashes and night sweats, and had my parents walk in on me and my boyfriend in the bathtub. I can take the heat.

Even so, about an hour into the exercise I considered secretly calling AAA while my sweetie was swearing at the engine, or stripping down to stand under the outdoor shower until the police came to haul me away to an air conditioned jail cell. The latter would probably bring faster results, with the added bonus of free publicity in the local paper’s crime beat.

Finally, the truck turned over and we were able to return to our nice air-conditioned motorhome … just in time for my husband to try to replace a fan belt on the RV using only twine, pocket lint, and leftover hot dog buns.

While I was picturing myself on the Serengeti, he was reliving episodes of MacGyver. I guess we all need our fantasies. My next one will involve an igloo and tap-dancing penguins. A greater chance of hypothermia, but no risk of public nudity.