As I drove away from a client’s house this morning, my audiotapes were turned off long enough for me to notice an odd knocking sound coming from my car. I didn’t know what it could possibly be, so I compensated by driving more alertly. As long as I paid close attention to these particular sounds and the car kept working by getting me to my destination without anything else happening, then there really isn’t, technically, a problem.
At work, co-workers offered advice on my car which basically summed up as “Yeah, those noises could mean anything.” The knocking sounds were still there at the end of the day as I drove home, but once on the highway it seemed to fade away. Turning up my audiotape, I zipped along. I got off the exit two miles from my place, and waited at the light. When the light turned green and I shifted into first gear, the grinding sound and lurching motion that ensued was so disorienting that I started shifting gears around, frantically trying to get the grinding to stop.
With the bizarre coincidences and good luck that seems to happen to me every time something goes wrong with my car, I was able to immediately pull into a Sunoco station. I got out of the car and discovered that my front left tire was flat as a pancake. How my car managed to ride so smoothly and not spin out of control on the highway, I have no idea.
I found the payphone and called Steve.
Me: “I’m at the Sunoco station and I have a flat tire!”
Steve: “Well, can you change the tire?”
Me: “I have no idea how to change the tire! And I don’t have another tire! I don’t know what to do!”
Steve: “There’s a spare tire in your trunk.”
Me: “There IS???”
Steve: “I’ll be right over.”
While waiting in the frigid cold as snowflakes drifted down, I cleared out my trunk. Tennis rackets, a halloween costume, sneakers, shoes, Trivial pursuit, Taboo, a deck of cards, a stuffed sheep named Pennard, baseball and gloves, Ski wax, windshield fluid, antifreeze, roadside emergency kit, old clothes destined for the Salvation Army, a round purple sled and a bridal veil were all stuffed into the back seat.
No tire though. Slowly I peeled away the carpet lining, and lo and behold, in it’s own secret compartment, was a spare tire and a jack. Do all cars have this?? Did my old Pontiac Sunbird have this? This is genius!
Steve arrived and took the tire out of the trunk. The tire looked weird- all puny. “What’s wrong with it?” I asked “It’s too skinny.”
“That’s because it’s the spare tire.” Steve said.
Oh. Obviously. To Steve’s credit, he just set about working on the tire and did not stare at me with utter amazement that I could be so ignorant. But then again, maybe it didn’t surprise him that I could be so ignorant. Apparently the spare tire is temporary until you can get a new tire, and you can’t go over 50 mph when using it.
Steve expertly wrenched the lugnuts, jacked up the car and changed the tire. And he’s never even had to change a tire before. My hero.
So I guess we learn something new everyday. I thought I knew something about cars because of a variety of learning experiences I’ve had with them, but your basic changing the tire concept was something that completely went over my head. Until now.
Chilled to the bone, we returned to the house. As the darkness gathered, it was now time for… Day Three of marathon training. Honestly, the utter contempt to which my husband would have regarded me if I didn’t go out and run was the only thing that got me out there.
We ran the easy breezy two miles, up and about in the neighborhood with large immaculate homes and lamplights to guide our way.
Time to shower and hit the books.
Apr 2nd 2003Uncategorized