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Grateful for a flat tire!?!

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.