I haven’t had a flat tire in more than 30 years. Credit for this remarkable achievement goes to my stellar driving, my preference for interstates rather than nail-strewn alleyways, and the fact that I no longer buy recycled retreads for $12.50 each.
But there I was on Tuesday, in the parking lot of a local Lowe’s, cursing the big ole hole in my right front tire. Actually, it was more of a gaping gash than a hole, but the end result was the same – much more air was coming out from my tire than was going in.
Because I don’t carry a spare or a jack in the tiny trunk of my compact car, I called AAA to tell them the bad news. The dispatcher took it in stride, even joking that I was fortunate that only the bottom half of the tire was flat. Hee hee.
But then she got down to business and told me that since my tire was irreparable, a tow truck would be sent within the hour to take me and my car to a service station several towns away.
Although I was being transported farther from my home, I was assured that the place would have tires and mechanics who'd know how to install tires - so I assented. Any port in a storm, right?
As it turned out, the service station DID have tires but none the size that my car required. I have to give the guy credit though – he looked everywhere. But following a fruitless 45 minute search, the mechanic informed me that there was no way I was getting back on the road that day.
And just like that, all of those important and immovable things that I had planned for the rest of the afternoon and evening were thrown to the side of the road like a bunch of unraveled radials. Sigh.
Sensing my exasperation, the man thought for a moment and then offered me a lifeline. He ushered me to the end of his parking lot, pointed to the big sign across the street and a couple doors down, and told me that that shop sold new and used tires. Perhaps I should try them.
“PERHAPS? Are you kidding me?”
To make a log afternoon short, I walked quickly over to the tire store, found dozens of tires that were the same size as the one I needed, bought the best looking one, brought it back to the service station and then had my mechanic put it on my car about 9 minutes before they closed up shop for the day.
Now, like most things in life, there are 2 ways you could look at this:
- · You could bemoan the fact that you got a flat in the first place.
- · You could bemoan the fact that, as a result, you ended up spending 4 hours and 50 bucks only to get yourself right back to where you started.
- · You could thank God that you weren’t injured when the tire went flat, and subsequently beaten and robbed when you got into a stranger’s vehicle.
- · You could thank God that there just happened to be a tire store next door to the service station to which you were brought, with tons of tires the exact size you needed.
- · You could thank God that the mechanic-on-duty was ready, willing and able to get you back on the road just moments before closing time.
I guess it all depends on whether you see a flat tire being half empty or half full.