Deflated

Yesterday, I failed myself. Allow me to explain.

Upon getting the keys to my very first car, my father insisted that Teenage Me spend an afternoon on parking lawn in front of our house, learning basic car things like checking the oil level, putting on chains, and putting on a spare tire.

The first two skills, I’ve actually used! Believe me, I can read a dipstick like no one’s business. And cable chains? Well…if you need ’em, you’ll be glad you know how to put ’em on.

But seventeen years later…I’ve still never changed a flat. But it’s not for lack of trying!

You see, I have always been paranoid about having flat tires. To the point where I imagine them. See, for example: this road trip. For weeks after that, every time I approached my car, I examined every tire with squinty eyes, trying to see if they looked a little low.

And I actually got new tires put on, following that trip. That was two weeks ago. Confident in the fact that I’d made a Responsible Adult Purchase and was therefore absolved of any worry about my wheels, I stopped looking for flats every time I went for a drive. So of course, that’s when it happened.

Overnight, my brand new tire somehow became fully deflated. It was the moment I’d been waiting for…and yet somehow, was least expecting.

My first phone call was to Costco’s tire center, which was the scene of the recent purchase and installation. I asked the guy whether my flat tire would be covered under their warranty. He said it absolutely would – I just needed to bring it in.

“UM,” I said. “How am I supposed to do that? It has a TOTALLY FLAT TIRE.”

“Well…you will need to put the spare on,” he replied calmly.

“Right,” I said, as I literally felt a cartoon light bulb coming on over my head. “It has a spare tire.”

I hung up with Costco and proceeded to spend about fifteen minutes prodding around the underside of my car before realizing that this was NOT a good use of my time. Sorry, Dad.

To truncate a rather long and drawn-out story: seven hours and two tow trucks later, I finally had a new (fully inflated) tire on my car. It’s a good thing I didn’t spend all day trying to change the tire myself, because as it turns out, it doesn’t come off of my car. (Apparently, some screw thingy on the spare is stripped. We bought the car used and it’s a decade old, so…whatever. Good to know, I guess.)

I don’t really see myself as a helpless female, but yesterday, I sure felt like one. Hell…I was one. There was no way I was getting that car out of that garage without someone else’s assistance. Pathetic.

But at the same time: I am almost 32 years old. Is learning a skill that I’ll utilize one every two decades really a good use of my time and energy? Especially when I can just pay my insurance company an extra six bucks a month to take care of that shit for me?

Anyway. After dealing with all of that, I needed a beer. And this week, Spring has sprung here in Raleigh! It’s been warm and beautiful the last couple of days…the perfect weather for sampling a new seasonal.

Bluepoint’s Spring Fling Ale is a coppery American Pale Ale. This is a straightforward, slightly hoppy, thoroughly enjoyable beer. The Long Island brewery pairs German barley and American hops to create a balanced brew that is fresh and inviting. 6% ABV.

Bottom line: It’s nothing groundbreaking, but a solid drinkable beer! (Received as a gift, retails for ~$2/12 oz)

The weird thing is…when they took off my wrinkly tire, they didn’t find anything wrong with it. Like: no maliciously thick nail or shard of scrap metal poking through it. According to them, my brand-new tire just spontaneously deflated. According to them, that sometimes just happens.

Aaaaaand, we’re back to being totally paranoid about tire pressure every time we approach our vehicle.

At least it’s a way of life that I’m accustomed to.

14 responses to “Deflated

  1. I’m normally very eager to learn new skills and information about any topic, but car maintenance is the exception to this: I don’t feel like I know anything. =S

    I was never overly keen on learning to drive, either… and I still prefer biking or public transit!

  2. Totally agree. I work on & make a living on cars, but have zero desire to actually do any maintenance or learn how to fix anything (or even wash it for that matter!). I’m blissfully happy that I won’t ever have to worry about those things & have roadside assistance on speed dial.

  3. When I had my first flat I was trying to fix it, but I must have looked pretty pathetic cause an old guy stopped and did it for me. (they put those lugs on tight)

  4. No one has ever really shown me how to change a flat. That would have been a nice lesson to have, though.
    Luckily I have AAA. I play the helpless card…

  5. I check all four tires every.single.time I drive my car. So paranoid about having a flat tire. I could change a flat myself if I had the tools to do so, but I don’t, so AAA does it for me. Helpless? Maybe, but I prefer to think it’s just laziness.

  6. Oh God. That’s my worst nightmare too. Why two tow trucks? No. Nevermind, I don’t want to know. It’ll just make me more paranoid!

  7. Helpless is when you can’t solve the problem at all. You solved it, just with a phone and some plastic as opposed to a wrench or whatever. Totally legit.

  8. What a huge pain. I hate feeling helpless like that, too, but at the end of the day, even if I learned how to change a spare I’m sure I wouldn’t retain that information long enough for it to be useful to me. Shrug. What can ya do?

  9. My first flat tire was actually a result of my tires rotting and just exploding. I was driving a boy I liked home on the coldest day of the year. He was as clueless as me but he got through it somehow and got the donut on, about 2 hours and another 10 degree dip in temps later. I decided that day to learn how to change a flat on my own. Still havent, and yet I’ve blown about 4 more. That’s what AAA is for!

  10. Ladies, ladies, ladies… Changing a flat is NOT difficult. Lefty-loosey, righty-tighty, that’s all you have to know. Put it back on the same way it came off.

    Semi-related, I heart 4Runners.

  11. The last flat tire I had was in 2002. I was heading home from a Halloween party at 6 a.m. in full Cheshire Cat regalia. I had the thing jacked up about halfway when some asshole drove by and shattered my confidence by telling me if I had the jack in the wrong place, the car could fall on me and kill me. I ended up calling one of my drunk friends from the party to come and help me. Blargh.

  12. I’m giving you good credit for doing well with most of your car care lessons Shelb! And I think Christiana is right on…it’s more important to know emergency car care if you don’t have a cell phone and AAA.
    But I do like Summer’s lefty-loosey, righty-tighty diddy. I think that would be worth passing along to the next generation!
    Love, Dad

  13. I had a tire go flat last year (also a new-ish tire … apparently I got a nail in it), and I had to have my parents help me put the spare on. And by “help,” I mean they did it and I watched. Actually, now that I think of it, we just removed the tire and left it cranked up and dropped of the entire tire + rim at the shop and they replaced the tire and we brought it home and I watched my parents put it back on. But I’m with you. If it’s a skill that I only need once every decade or so, I’d rather just pay/beg someone else to do it for me. Delegating is a talent too!

  14. I totally laughed out loud about your tire paranoia. And I was glad to find out I was not the only one required to learn how to check oil and change a tire when they got their license. I also had adding windshield wiper fluid, jump starting the car, and driving stick on my list, but thankfully my location spared me from the whole chain on the tires thing.