Subway drawing - just a guy

Ink in 8×6″ Strathmore sketchbook (larger)

I’d planned to be in the studio with my painting group tonight, but instead got a flat tire, and spent the evening waiting for the tow truck guy to come change my tire. So all I have to post tonight is this guy I sketched on the BART train this morning.

I actually found the flat tire experience rather interesting for several reasons. At first it scared me because I heard a weird scraping, flopping sound and was afraid there was something seriously wrong with my car. I pulled over, and walked to the back where the sound was coming from and immediately saw the poor sad tire, all deflated.

I was surprised to discover I was feeling grateful instead of pissed off because:

  1. It didn’t happen a couple days ago when I was driving fast on the freeway to a painting class in Petaluma (an hour each way).
  2. It wasn’t a serious problem with an expensive part of my car.
  3. It wasn’t freezing or raining outside and I was in a safe area.
  4. I had a spare tire, a cell phone (and good reception), a battery charger for my phone in the car, and I’m an AAA member and they were sending help.
  5. I’d been warned that I needed new tires last time I had the oil changed, but I didn’t want to buy new ones because (a) they still had plenty of tread and were just old (I don’t drive much) and (b) that’s a boring thing to spend money on — I’d rather spend it on art supplies–but now I had proof the guy wasn’t just trying to sell me tires, they really do need to be replaced.
  6. There’s an extra paycheck this month because of 3 Thursdays so I’d actually be able to pay for new tires.
  7. It’s a problem that can be solved, unlike most of the other problems we face these days.

I spent the time waiting for the tow truck by calling my painting group to cancel the meeting and Costco to find out the price of a new set of tires (a lot). The truck arrived on time, but the guy couldn’t get the cover off my spare on the back of my Toyota RAV4. He kept trying while I scanned my car manual which I keep in the glove box (do they still call it glove box since nobody wears gloves anymore?).

There were no directions for removing the cover and the tow truck man about to give up and just pump some air in my tire and send me on my way.  The problem was that his fingers were too big to reach into the space between the tire cover and the car. I tried and found that my fingers were just skinny enough to grab the elasticized edge of the cover, stretch it and lift it up. Then he was able to use his strength to pull and we got the stupid thing off. What a dumb design!

He changed the tire, bending over with his big butt serving as a reflective warning device in the lights of the oncoming traffic. When he finished he said, “There you go M’lady” and told me I needed new tires. I asked where he recommended getting them. He looked at me with surprise and said, “Don’t you have a husband?” as if all women had them and shouldn’t have to bother themselves with tire shopping.

I said, “Oh yeah, I used to have one of those and he did take care of my car, but not anymore.” I thanked him and we went on our way, with me feeling cheerful and grateful, even though I have a headache, had a rough day at work, no dinner until after 8:00 p.m. and now have to spend nearly $600 on stupid car tires.

Did you know you’re supposed to rotate all your tires (including the spare) every 6 months or 7,500 miles (whichever comes first)?  I never did rotate these tires and they’ve been on my car since it was born in 2002. Oops.

Drawing, Life in general, People, Sketchbook Pages, Subway drawings
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Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Jana.

    I drove over a kerb in a parking lot last year and tore my one tire open. I was so shocked that I immediately started crying, feeling the pressure of suddenly being a single woman without any ‘manly’ help. But a very sweet man stopped and helped me change the tire, and I felt so deeply grateful. It also occurred to me that this could have happened on the highway (the tire must have had a weak spot to be damaged that easily) and that I had many blessings to count.

    Isn’t it wonderful what sweetness and light we find in the darker, more bitter moments? I can understand it when I look at artwork and photos, how very essential shadows are, to marry with the light and depict form and texture in all its glorious beauty. Life is truly weird!

    Love your blog and your artwork!


  2. Glad you were safe and it didn’t turn out to be anything worse than tires. Loved your comment on the use of his butt for a reflector, had me laughing!!! Yeah, I learned the expensive way about tire rotation…


  3. It’s inevitable that a car will break down now and then, and it is a blessing when it happens in a safe place.


  4. GRATEFUL to be sure — for all those reasons ….!! And your safety!!! I can’t believe that in this day and age that fellow would even THINK such a sterotypical thing .. sigh … makes me think we ladies haven’t come as far as we think we have!

    Good job on him by the way — and your melon!!! Those greens are wonderful!


  5. What a really nice cheerful way of responding to a flat tyre! Good for you Jana.

    Aren’t you supposed to put the ones from the back on the front and then replace the back ones? Or something???

    Can I tell my tyre story about how I got a flat tyre on a cold night in winter when it was bucketing down. I discovered that my automatic renewal of my membership of my breakdown service had not worked and when they finally came out as a favour – on the basis that I was going to renew – they discovered that they couldn’t get the types off without a thing which takes off the locking wheel nuts – which we couldn’t find. Oh and my bettery on my ‘cell’ phone was running down….. I’m just trying to remember but I don’t think I was too cheerful!


  6. Jana, You put me to shame! I was so agitated today with a trip to the grocery because they were restocking every other aisle and it was like an obstacle course; I asked for paper and got plastic instead; and 2 big women were blocking an exit because they were catching up with each other with their carts blocking the whole area. And here you are, having this experience and seeing the postive AND making me laugh about it!! I needed you at the grocery to show me the humor in it today 🙂


  7. happy new year sir


  8. That is a great post! Funny how such things can make us look on the bright side of life! I have a puncture story on my blog too – I had a slow puncture, fortunately, but DH of course was away on a trip and I had no idea what to do so I asked the landlady. Her son was there for a visit and in conversation he told me how to say a few hundred quid on my car documents – he even sent his ‘man’ to go to the various buildings with the documents while I sat at home!! They say bird droppings are lucky but I think that should be changed to punctures!


  9. Doesn’t an attitude make or break a day! Choose a positive one, like you did and the bad just passes as something that happened. a Great lesson you posted for us today!


  10. Well… and learn!!! Happy to read that you were able to look for the blessings in it all and that you were safe. A few years ago I had a tire go flat as I was accelerating onto the freeway. I pulled over as far as I could, but it still felt as if I was right in the path of the oncoming traffic. Thankfully a car pulled over to help (2 men, which initially scared me to death!). As they stuck their rears out in the traffic and changed the tire, I was on the cell phone talking at my dear hubby. You know I wanted him to hear everything as it happened…in case the men kidnapped me, or slit my throat, or something. Instead, they were so kind and sent me on my way to purchase new tires also.


  11. That is a good reminder to look on the bright and grateful side of life. Wish you had drawn the reflector-butt though, it makes a great mind-picture! Glad it all worked out OK for you!


  12. Be grateful indeed! I’m glad you’re safe and sound… We popped a tyre last year on the motorway – fortunately we were on the slow lane, so could get onto the edge. Unfortunately though, my other half had to change the tyre with 100miles an hour trucks hurtling past his behind!

    Haha about the husband remark – mine is the sort who will force me to learn these things so that I can manage on my own 🙂


  13. Well, I’m glad you were safe, and sorry for your bummer mood later. I do not rotate my tires, but when the front ones get worn out I either rotate them to the back or just buy new front tires, and then back ones when they’re hopeless. On a front wheel drive car, such as my Honda, the front ones wear fastest (due to traction). They wear almost twice as fast as the rear ones. Don’t purchase more than necessary, but don’t endanger yourself, either (there’s some easy advice!).


  14. The rim of wheel causes the lost control of the vehicle.Sometimes the failure or the damage of the valve stem through the tire inflated.


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