The Devil Drives Firestone


"Knock, knock," came the sound on my passenger window at the grocery store parking lot. An elderly man with a cane was standing there, motioning. I rolled down the window with 68% certainty this wasn't a clever new snatch-and-grab ploy for car-jacking or, oh, for stealing the thrifted Oasis CD off my passenger seat.

(I can just see it now, as they sit around the retirement home common area with a stack of their lifted CD booty: "Is he saying 'wonderwall'? What in dadgum tarnation is a 'wonderwall', Elsie?"...  And no, I don't know, either. It is catchy, but it confounds my days.)

(Then again, I don't know where Tarnation is. I think it might be out west near Perfection and Desperation.)

But I digress. A lot. Because, see, the nice man who was the complete opposite of a carjacker or CD thief in his do-gooderness had simply stopped to inform me that my right front tire was almost flat.

This was not unlike the situation two months ago where kind-hearted guys in a sports car waved at me at a red light to tell me that... my right front tire was almost flat.

Or my awesomely cool coworker, two months before that, who called me in my office to tell me that... yes, you guessed it. My tire was of the non-airfilled variety.

Three things we learn from this:

1.) People in Pittsburgh are caring and wonderful to strangers in a way that is almost mind-blowing. (Thank you, Pittsburgh!)

2.) I am too lazy and distracted to make time for regular car maintenance.

And 3.) This stupid tire had a breathing problem and I needed to have it examined.

Because this tire-- this brand new frigging tire-- had been slowly losing air week by week from the time I bought it. I would pump up, but then it would deflate again and just need more attention.

So it was more like a big name film star, than a tire, really. Or Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada. You could never attend to it enough. Just when you'd think it had everything it needed, it would deflate, demand, and you'd have to blow air into its ego once more.

Thankfully, since we're in Pittsburgh, we have the solution to driving divas like this. Places like Duke's Tire, one of those old timey mom-and-pop (mostly pop) places which almost don't exist anymore, where the service is quick, efficient and, most importantly, they don't take guff from uppity rubber spheres with a need for regular adulation.

I was expecting them to find a nail, a tack, or water buffalo, or like the one time I had tire issues, the better part of a metal file. But it turns out there was a leak around the gasket. And in minutes, the good ol' Duke boys replaced it and sealed it for $15-- and a look of apology as if they feared they charged too much.

It warms the cockles of the heart, I tell you. All of them, those cockles. Not that I know what cockles are.

I imagine you pick them up on the way to the wonderwall in Tarnation.

13 comments:

Deray said...

Wait a minute, if you just bought the tire isn't it still under warranty? especially since it wasn't a puncture?

Jenn Thorson said...

Deray- As the dealer I got the tires from doesn't have evening or weekend hours, I would have to take off work. So it's actually easier and more cost effective for me to just drive a few blocks from my work and get it done at lunch.

meleah rebeccah said...

Well, I am glad the old man in the grocery store parking lot was NOT of the snatch-and-grab-car-jacking variety.

As for the Devil Wears Prada tire? Well, I just had a similar issue. I finally broke down and took my car to one of those quickie repair places - turns out the valve was leaking. Thankfully it was an easy fix, and it only cost $15.00.

Barry said...

That is a pretty rare occurance. I used to fix tires for a living in a real service station (yes I am THAT old) and what happened is not common. Especially since there is a pretty standard routine for installing a tire on a rim which always includes some type of lubricant/sealer.

Howdy, and nice story! BTW.

PS. Find Oasis and you find Wonderwall :)

Jaffer said...

Unless your car is a wheelbarrow with a spherical wheel (aka Ballbarrow © James Dyson), tyres/tires are annuli called torroids. #nerd #industrial_designer #draftsperson #anal

Jenn Thorson said...

Meleah- Well, talk about coincidence, eh? Glad you got yours fixed. It's a pain to see, "Oh no, it's deflated again."

Barry- More and more I'm convinced you know something about just everything! You should go on Jeopardy or something. (And yes, I just looked up what Wonderwall supposedly is. Apparently what the Gallaghers say it was about changes a bit.)

Jaffer- Another font of knowledge. (And with tags no less. :) I think you might need to cut back on your Twitter. #addicted #handsshaking #12stepprogram

DeadRooster said...

NOTE TO SELF: If you want to perform a flawless Snatch-N-Grab, try to appear old and feeble (should not be a problem--at least the "old" part). :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Rooster- Coming from New Jersey originally, I instantly think something suspicious, even when folks on the street say "hi." ("What does he want, does he want to mug me?") But here things are a little different. Not that we don't have our crime. But there are fewer reasons to be on the defense every single second.

PS- Make sure you have a cane. :)

ReformingGeek said...

THUD. THUD. CLUMP.

Sorry about that scratch... Just wanted to let you know that your,er, LEFT tire is low. Yeah, better get that checked.

**wobbles away, scraping car paint off her walker**

Snicker.

Marg said...

Well if nothing else, you are meeting lots of people because of your tire. But what a pain to have it flat all the time. I think it is time for a new one or a good fix. Take care and enjoy your day.

Count Sneaky said...

You did the right thing. Of course, I feel you should put a bullet through a tire like this and give it a decent burial in the back yard.
They say that among tire dealers this kind of tire is known as a "running dead." Among all of the agonies in modern society, tires, body work (the car's not your's), and the Highway Dept. are angst on wheels. Hilarious post.
My best.

Rhonda @Laugh Quotes said...

This was a fun read. I am glad you got your tire fixed.

Jenni Jansen said...

Really Funny post. I can so relate to being disracted. Kids will do that to you. I just had my car inspected last weekend. It expired in june. It made me paranoid toward the end. I was to the point of turning on the windshield wipers whenever I encountered a policeman. It actually worked. I didn't get a ticket. Now I can drive at peace and legal once again.!
You inspired me to write about my past few months.
Keep up the great writing!