Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Two Tired

I am glad I am done with the morning. What started as yet another boring, hour long, commute to work went quite the other way. I was on the interstate cruising after what seemed like an eternity of bumper-to-bumper traffic when I hit a small piece of something black. A piece of shredded tire, I thought. Or something like that. I hate these flotsam and jetsam on the road – especially interstate. But this was a piece of something soft and it was around a bend so I could not see it clearly even I wanted to avoid it. But I couldn’t avoid it and drove over it. A minute later a strange clanking sound started to come from the car. Portentous metal grinding. I thought the little black piece was caught somewhere. I drove for a few yards and felt the car drag. I pulled over to the shoulder- the left shoulder as I was in the left lane - to take a look. It was chilly and windy and I stepped out to the cars whizzing by. The driver’s side seemed ok. No flat tires there. I tried to get over to the passenger’s side, but with cards going at 65mph+, I could scarcely get a view.

Okay, I said to myself. Time to take the car over to the right shoulder. The flashers were on and I slowly eased into the fast lane. I could still sense a drag and I didn’t want my rims damaged if this was indeed a flat so I was going at about 20mph trying to cross four lanes to get to the right shoulder. When I see this b**** in a yellow truck honking. And honking and honking. And honking. Complete with hands up in the air and mouthing what must have been expletives. I can’t lip read. I know we all get annoyed with fender benders or cars suddenly breaking down in the middle of the road, but honking is not going get anyone anywhere. What’s the point in honking? But only if her IQ was as developed. Only if. Anyway, I found a spot in the traffic and eased my way, flashers on, to the right shoulder where I got down and saw I had a flat.

Now what does a modern, independent woman of the 21st century do when she has a flat? Call her husband, of course. BigGeek was dropping off Chip to daycare when I called him. He offered to come over and help me change the tire but it would have taken him 40 minutes to reach the point where I was stranded. Not to mention 40 minutes to get back to work. “Call AAA” he suggested. Our membership had expired over year ago and we had not renewed it thinking we had two new cars that were well maintained. “They might charge you a fee for the service but at least someone will come over. I called AAA but I had to renew my membership for someone to come change my flat. Ten minutes later I called BigGeek and told him to not come over as help was coming in about 40 minutes. I chatted a bit with him lamenting that this did not get me my 2 second of spotlight on the local traffic coverage on the radio station. Nobody rubber necking to see what the matter was. No cop pulled over next to me. I was being so ignored. But then a tow truck pulled up. I was perplexed that AAA had sent in a tow truck. They tow away a car because of a flat? The driver got down and beckoned me. Odd. I stepped out of the car. “Is there something wrong with your car?” he was asking. “I have a flat.”I said. “Do you need help changing it?” “No thank you. Help is on the way.” “I could help.” “Yeah, but I already called AAA.” “Oh! Good then. I am not AAA. I was driving by and saw your car with the flashers on and stopped to see if you needed help.” Now I want to think he was a Good Samaritan but since he had a tow truck I also suspect he wanted to make a quick buck. This is what happens when you live in a big metro area. You refuse to believe in the inherent kindness of another human. Sure sucks.

But the AAA guy came soon after and changed my flat. Which is so easy really. I should have done it myself. Could have done it myself. Only I wouldn’t do it myself. Fear gripped me and I chose to pay $94 and wait for a better part of an hour than change a flat tire. My father, if he is reading this is slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. He told me I HAD to learn how to change a flat before I could drive. And I know how to change a flat. Or at least used to know. Haven’t changed one in over a decade. Oh well. It was cold and I was in fancy shoes and had no gloves or a hat or a heavy jacket that would have allowed me to work in the “elements”. At least that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

And a simple flat it turned out not to be. My tire was shredded. Not just the flat one. But also another one in front of it. I called BigGeek. “What do I do?” He thought I was best with getting new tires right away at the nearest tire store. Before I put any significant mileage on the unflat shredded one and the one that was freshly replaced with the spare donut. He, being my right hand man, quickly found a Tire Kingdom 4 miles away and the address was punched into my GPS, its soothing robotic voice guiding my frazzled brain to rescue. It took 75 minutes and $432 to get new tires installed. And yeah, this time I said “no” to all the extra things they wanted to do to my car. But, ack. What an expensive morning it turned out to be! (Who can I sue? :P )

24 comments:

rayshma said...

hehe.. nobody! head over to the nearest salon and get a mani-pedi.. or wotever u like!
i do know how to change a tyre.. but i don't drive, lest i need to put those skills to use! ;)
that sounds like a good excuse. i must r'ber to use it next time V broaches the topic! :D

AA_Mom said...

I like the title of your post.

Can imagine your frustration. Have to come across one silly person, as if the situation was not worse enough.

In situations like these money is cheap, am glad you could successfully drag drive the car over to the other shoulder and then to the tire shop.

choxbox said...

wow.

utbtkids said...

I know the honking types !

Any ways, I just remembered the time when three of us, all women, decide to take a friend who was visiting to Monterey and we had a flat on the way back. We pulled over and changed the flat. All four of us did some half baked stuff and managed to change the flat. Not one good samaritan pulle dover to help the ladies! Positive spin might beto think that Bay Areamen consider the women as equals, completely liberated and fully capable of taking care of themselves and their flats :)

Poppins said...

Oh you poor thing. I remember this happened to me on the way to Mystery Spot (Santa Cruz) and I was driving with a visiting couple. The guy thankfully did the needful but I did feel very embarrassed that I didn't know how to. And yes it's actually quite simple.

~nm said...

Whoopie! What a start of the day. So did you find out what was that black thing that triggered all this tyre tiring business?

DotMom said...

rayshma: how long do you live from DC? I should have called you :)

aa_mom: dang. excatly what I was thinking.

choxbox: not at the time :)

utbt: good for you! California is just so umm liberal. I am supposed to be in the conservative south dammit :)

poppin: sure the car wasn't crooked or any or the tire :) I think its ok to let e gentleman change a flat if you are driving him and his wife around!

~nm: the AAA guy said the tires have metal in them which can shred more tires. shredded tires spawning shredded tires :)

Kodi's Mom said...

ouch, ouch! you're in the midst of a bad car karma, aren't you! lets hope this is the end of it...

and why am I not surprised that no one stopped by to help? typical.

Rohini said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better, I can't change a tyre either. Tried it once, placed the jack wrong, whole car crashed down (broke the axle and nearly broke my hand). So flat tyres are solely in the husband's domain

Girl Next Door (gnd) said...

wow! what a day!!

I love Lucy said...

Aren't you quite the auto-adventure lady!!
But in a way I know how it feels.The being right and yet having wrong things happen to you bit alteast!I got my first traffic ticket on Friday for unknowingly passing a school bus that had its stop sign on.Gosh I was whining all evening about it!

DotMom said...

kodi's mom: like the carma joke! very creative :) I read this somewhere once..I think a bumper sticker- my karma ran over my dogma :D

rohini: that's what I am afraid of too. placing the jack. I am scared it might do more harm! thanks god you weren't hurt!

gnd: yeah, never a dull moment:)

i love lucy: I am, aint I? This summer BG dearest is doing all oil changes now. My nice silk mocs that everyone adores already have a smudge on them :( Bad luck on the ticket! where did the cop come from at rush our? Where we live they are conspicously absent from anywhere during rush hour. I think they know they will get mowed down by angry road warriors:)

GettingThereNow said...

Glad you didn't have an accident. Some morning you have had! Oh, and why didn't you give me a whack on the head when I asked you what happened? You should have just told me to head over here and read it for myself :)

~nm said...

Read this :D

Swati said...

Ohh Sad ...nothing bad than bad start of a day

Mira's mom said...

LOL! Can't get over the part - "What does a lady of the 21st century do?...." :-)

Asha said...

Best way to start a day!!

I love Lucy said...

It was on one of those quiet streets.I was on my way to the parlor lady's house.Apparently that area has too many immigrants who do not follow all the rules at all times and hence the tight vigil.
And guess who got added on to the list of defaulters.Damn.

DotMom said...

gtn: I thought you did :S

~nm: I can't believe this..I left a comment on your post.

swati: tell me about it. atleast it was not a weekend :)

mira's mom: seriosuly.. for all the independence I brag about!

asha: lol.

i love lucy: ah. that's why.

Orchid said...

sure...the modern independent women of the 21st century does indeed call her hubby!!..hahaha...u needn't say more at all :)

Preethi said...

hahaha.... girly girl.. we are supposed to act like girls when we have a flat and call out for help.. I have done this every time my car/bike spluttered and stopped in India. Left it where it was and dropped off the keys at Dad's work and taken an auto back home!!! :P

DotMom said...

orchid: gawd. it was so embarassing!

preethi:lol. I used to be the flat tire changing types.. and then age happened!

karmickids said...

Dotmom, if the husband had refused to come to get my tyres changed, he would have been deadmeat. Thankfully I have a driver to do that, but if....you brave little thing, you.

Shobana said...

Some days are real rough...sorry about what happened. And to cheer u...I don't know how to change a tire either.