My car had been feeling a little funky lately. I didn’t know what was wrong with it, but it just didn’t feel quite right and it sounded a little louder than usual. I stopped for gas a couple weeks ago and decided to check my tires. Maybe they’re low, I thought. That could probably cause it to feel weird. I came up with that idea like I’m some sort of mechanic-y type genius!
I pulled up to the thingamajiggy labeled “air” and read the instructions. Insert one dollar in quarters. After digging in my purse, the cup holders of my van, and the floor, I produced 3 quarters, a gum wrapper, a penny that was stuck with a bonding agent more powerful than super glue (probably Diet Coke), and a broken, melted crayon. Bummer. I grabbed a dollar bill and ran into the gas station to ask for change. The not-so-nice woman behind the counter informed me that she couldn’t give me change unless I bought something. Gee thanks, lady.
I left the building and accosted the passengers of the first car I saw. I popped my head in their open window, holding up my dollar bill and asked, “Do you have change for a single? I need quarters so I can fill my tires.” Judging by the petrified looks I received, the passengers interpreted my question to mean, “Can I have some money for drugs so I don’t have to rob the store?” They acquiesced (probably in an effort to make me leave) and tossed some quarters out the window before quickly rolling them up.
I walked over to the air machine and was really proud of myself for remembering how fill my tires. The only reason I’d ever filled my tires before was because I got stuck while driving on the beach in North Carolina. The beach patrol guy laughed at me, let some air out of my tires, and helped me get off the beach. Then I had to figure out how to fill them up again. At that time, I bought one of those tire thingys that has the little ruler that slides out. Too bad my kids used it as some sort of mini sword and broke it at some point.
I began filling the tires. Apparently my front tires were really, really, embarrassingly low. So I filled 3 of them, but the fourth one wouldn’t hold air. Every time I checked, the pressure went down a little. What the heck? Is there a hole in my tire, I wondered? I’m embarrassed (but apparently not too embarrassed since I’m telling the world [or the 10 people who read my blog]) to admit that it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out that my quarters had run out and the machine had turned off. When I texted that little tidbit to my friend, he asked, “Um didn’t you hear that the compressor had turned off??” One would think, but alas no, I hadn’t noticed.
Anyway, fast forward a couple weeks. I’m driving to work when I got a sudden sense of dread deep in my gut. You know that feeling? That feeling you get when something bad is going to happen? I broke out in a cold sweat and started breathing weird as the impending sense of doom overtook me. After several miles of feeling that sense of dread, I suddenly couldn’t drive over 20 miles an hour and my steering wheel was turned halfway around in order to go straight. Oh crap, there’s definitely something wrong here. I pulled over, got out and looked at my tires. Flat. Great.
I called AAA and waited for the tow truck they assured me would arrive within the hour. I work in a bad area so I locked my doors and kept an eye out as I waited. A woman, at a house nearby, took her garbage down to the street while watching me the whole time. She came out a second time. Then a third. Finally, this Haitian woman, with her boob hanging out of her dress, walked up to my car and asked me if I was okay. I rolled down my window and told her I had a flat tire and was just waiting for a tow truck. As she walked away, a gust of wind blew up her dress to reveal to the entire neighborhood that she was going commando. I’m still having nightmares about that. There are just some things you can’t unsee.
My friend and principal was on her way to school from a dentist appointment with her son so she came to pick me up and take me to school. But not before seeing my front tires and exclaiming, “Dawn, they’re bald!” My first inclination was to joke that all tires are bald; tires don’t have hair. It’s what I do when I feel stupid. I had no idea there was anything wrong with my tires.
So, after a 2 hour wait, the tow truck eventually gets there and takes my car to the shop at Walmart and my friend brought me to school several hours late. Way to start off the year, Dawn! Late already and it’s only the second week.
As soon as I got to my classroom, I called Walmart. “A tow truck is dropping my van off there in a minute. Please change the flat tire. I’ll pick it up after work.”
“We can’t work on your car until you sign our papers.”
“But I’m telling you now, over the phone, please fix the tire.”
“I’m sorry, but we won’t do anything until you come in and sign.”
I borrowed my friend’s car, drove to Walmart and stomped over to the service center.
“My van was just dropped off by a tow truck. I need a new tire.”
The guy behind the counter looked over his shoulder toward the parking lot and asked, “Are you sure it was dropped off?”
“Yes, it’s right there in the parking lot.”
“Is it invisible?”
I blinked at him a couple times. Then put on my most sarcastic font and said, “Yes, yes, it’s an invisible car. I got it the same place Wonder Woman got her jet and Mermaid Man got his boatmobile.”
He looked confused.
“No, it isn’t invisible! It’s right out there in the parking lot.
“Have you been here before?” he asked. I nodded so he went on. “What's your phone number?”
“847- blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah.” [Editorial note: I did not actually say blah blah blah, but I don’t want to put my phone number out here or I’ll have hundreds of hot, young guys booty calling me at all hours. Oh wait a minute, on second thought . . . No, no I can’t have that.]
“Are you sure your number isn’t 407-blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah?”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know my own phone number,” I answered while wondering if this guy was on some sort of “exceptional needs” special work program.
“Okay, so you want us to fix your tire?”
“No, I need a new tire.”
“Are you sure?”
“Ummmm yeah, pretty sure. The tire is shredded. No amount of duct tape is going to fix that baby.”
“What size tire do you need?”
I stared at him blankly. “I don’t know! It’s round!”
He looked up my car and apparently figured it out. Then he asked, “Do you having locking lug nuts?”
“If I knew what a freaking lug nut was, I’d be changing this myself!” I grumbled angrily.
I signed the stupid paper and as I walked away, I texted the entire, true conversation to my friend who just happens to be a cop. He responded with, “I’m afraid you’re going to hit someone. Remember, that’s battery. They’ll fingerprint you and take your picture.”
In the end, I’m happy to report that I did not, in fact, punch anyone in the face. I didn’t get mugged or killed while waiting for the tow truck. I did get new tires. But I still have nightmares about that woman and her bare booty . . .