I’m halfway up the block this morning, on my way to Starbucks for my Saturday Mocha, when I detect the unmistakable repetitive knock of something solid embedded in one of the Sentra’s tires. I pull over to have a look and quickly locate a half-penny nail, the business end of which is unseen, having buried itself rather nicely into the right rear radial.
Of course, this being November in Seattle, I had the odious pleasure of changing the tire in the pouring rain. I’ve lived here most of my life, so I had no fear of melting; It’s just that I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. Flats should always occur after one has had one’s coffee.
Anyway, an hour or so later, adequately caffeinated and desirous of getting rid of the humorous little donut tire I was forced to install (note to self: purchase full-size spare for Sentra), I called up our local Les Schwab and got Ken. Ken sounded like he was also well-caffeinated and informed me in half a second flat that it would their pleasure to repair my flat absolutely free of charge.
I drove the 30 or so blocks to Les Schwab acutely aware that donut spares will fly completely apart the precise moment the car exceeds 40 miles per hour*. With such vast and highly probable danger involved, it was no wonder to me that I was making the trip alone. I cued up Bad to the Bone on my iPod.
Everything went smoothly enough at the tire shop, I guess, except that I came to learn that when they are offering to do the work at no charge, they don’t exactly put a priority on said work. Should a young woman come in looking for an estimate on a full brake job, front and back, you will find yourself reading Auto Trader for an extra half hour. I ended up driving off their lot about an hour and fifteen minutes after I’d driven onto it. But my tire was good as new and I hadn’t spent a dime, so it's a fair enough trade off.
A few other things I learned during this particular excursion include:
♠ It’s silly to get your hopes up just because they’ve pulled your car into one of the garage bays. That doesn’t necessarily mean squat.
♠ Rows and rows of tires produce a smell that is absolutely repugnant. If you work in tires, you must get used to it the way farmers are used to cow shit.
♠ Some people will eat anything, including popcorn that by all evidence was popped yesterday.
♠ This guy with the exact same cell phone as me is working on a septic system and needed his buddy to leave some special coupling and bolts on the seat of the Ford.**
*That’s 64 kilometers per hour to the rest of the world.
**What? He was a loud guy! It’s not like I gave a crap.