Thursday, January 31, 2008

Keep On The Sunny Side

It's been a hell of a week here at Rancho Snag and frankly I just needed a couple of days of peace and quiet.

Ask and ye shall be smited.

I was on my way to work this morning, happily plugging along the interstate and texting obscenities to my friends when a guy pulled up alongside me in a Lexus and started gesturing. I do a lot of gesturing myself while I drive and was about to return the favor when I saw he was pointing at my right rear tire.

What a delightful plot twist, I thought. I have a flat.

I acknowledged him and exited at the next off ramp. Found a parking lot, got out of the car, and looked at the tire. Sure enough. A little air left, but not much.

Now I live in that place that's not quite a city and not quite the country. You know, a suburb. In suburbs, at least the one in which I live, there are lots of places to get one's car fixed. Of course, that's not the way my life works. Instead I ended up in the one suburb in America that's zoned out commerce.

I found myself driving aimlessly through a desolate wasteland, tens of thousands of people living within screaming distance but no services except gravel pits and the soundstage for the upcoming blockbluster, "Office Max on Mars." After ten minutes or so I limped into a retail sector and scanned with futility for something besides Old Navy and restaurants serving Bloomin' Fungi and Chipotle Banana pancakes. Finally I gave up and pulled into an office building parking lot.

Getting out of the car, I weighed whether to call AAA or change the tire myself. I don't like changing tires. The last time I changed one was in a suit and tie on the side of an interstate in the middle of summer. That was special.

The time before was even better. An industrial section of Waco, Texas on the 4th of July. As I started to jack up the car my traveling companion attempted to offer some advice. I replied with a temper tantrum of truly legendary proportions. I eventually got the old tire off and the new one on. Lowering the jack, I found I'd changed the wrong tire. Hilarity ensued.

In fact, I've largely given up doing any kind of car repair. I was never very mechanically inclined although I could usually fumble my way through the simpler things. Automobiles have changed, though, a point driven home last week when I tried to fix a turn signal and discovered I couldn't get my hand in to reach it. I'm now down to three automotive related tasks I can perform myself, and that includes filling the gas tank and washing the car.

With that in mind, and an air temperature that would liquefy nitrogen, I quickly abandoned the idea of doing it myself. I trudged into the office building, asked for directions, and to my utter surprise was directed up the street to a tire store.

I returned to my car and made it there safe and sound, only getting lost twice on the four block drive. They soon patched the tire, and replaced the turn signal while they were at it, and sent me on my way.

Arriving at the office late even by my flexible standards, I was greeted by one of the women in my department. The last we'd seen each other was when I bolted out on Tuesday to help my wife deal with Katie.

"How are you?" she asked sympathetically and a little nervously.

I didn't answer for a minute. Then I started sputtering about flat tires and suburban hellholes and the waking nightmare that my morning had been, and the other people I work with laughed and teased me a little, and I laughed too, and we all relaxed and the day started to take on a familiar tempo, and it turned out that was what I needed.


fish said...

Okay, I know it is not the point of the post, and I should say something pithy or empathetic, but all I can think of is how awesomely perfect "Chipotle Banana Pancakes" describes the suburbs.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Sometimes, normalcy is a blessing.


Don't get me started about my car lately. It'll be a wonderful day when we don't have any more oil and all the cars stop.

New fallen snow today; Send a couple of those Snags down here to shovel, wouldja?

Jennifer said...

how awesomely perfect "Chipotle Banana Pancakes" describes the suburbs.

I fully agree.

As for shoveling Snags... I'll take some! We have a snow day today, but I'm guessing people will still find a way to get out to get their quota of Chipotle Banana Pancakes.

BP- I think it's time we start the blogging commune.

Brando said...

I think it's time we start the blogging commune.

We would dead by winter because we would all be mocking each other instead of doing any chores. The only ones who would be left would be Snag and maybe Pinko because...well, let's just say they're not picky about where they get their meat.

Snag, changing tires does suck. I've had several adventures myself, including having to change a tire in Scotland and also having a tire blow out three miles after getting it patched. You would think tire changing technology would have advanced to where we'd have those built-in Speed Racer jacks now.

Jennifer said...

We would dead by winter because we would all be mocking each other instead of doing any chores.


Snag and Pinko could continue with the Donner Blog Commune.

Brando- when you change a tire in Scotland, do you have to change it on the wrong side of the road?

Snag said...

Long pig bacon. Yum.

Jennifer said...

Long pig bacon. Yum.


Kathleen said...

all I can think of is how awesomely perfect "Chipotle Banana Pancakes" describes the suburbs.

word, Fish. just what I was thinking.

Kathleen said...

I got a flat tire on the freeway several years ago and called AAA. As I waited I thought of all of the horror stories my mother had told me about people being run over on the shoulder. You wouldn't think there would be so many, but you don't know my mother.

So I climbed through the brush and waited for the tow truck amidst the weeds and broken glass, wondering if my odds of hepatitis weren't higher.

Brando said...

I got the flat in Scotland because there was no side of the road. I wasn't really familiar with the one-track road etiquette, and I was coming down one as another car was coming. I moved over to let him pass went to far, and hit the moss-covered stone wall bridging the road. Luckily I only punctured the front tire. And I got to wash the grease from my hands in a loch. So it's like I've been baptized there.

Jennifer said...

And I got to wash the grease from my hands in a loch.

Is that what they call it nowadays???

I can't even express how much I can relate to Kathleen's description of waiting undercover... and I even know how to change a tire. No, I'll be found in some retention pond someday as I rolled down the embankment while trying to find safety from the DANGEROUS SHOULDER!!!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I can't tell you how many people waiting for AAA on the Dangerous Shoulder I've hit.

Sometimes, you have to have the passenger get them with the door.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post, Snag. I'm sorry I laughed so much because of a hard day you were having.

These comments are great too.

I also have the curbside fear of death. Also because of my mother and her stories.

The last time I had a flat I called The Skimmer to come change it all the while knowing I was going to die. It was last winter and about 75 degrees below zero with heavy winds.

So, when The Skimmer FINALLY showed up and was changing the tire, I was very helpful. I yelled at him to hurry the entire time because I knew HE was going to be hit by a car.

He was very appreciative of my help.

Kathleen said...

I am so happy because I was sure no one would understand what I was talking about re: waiting on the shoulder!