19 January 2014


When I lived in Universe City, it seemed like the sun was always shining when I went to Gone West and the clouds descended again as I returned to Universe City. 

I don't know if this is actually true - Universe City does get substantially more rain than Gone West - but it felt true, and it was true today. As I drove on the highway toward Universe City, the pleasant warmth of the sun disappeared into fog, and I had to turn the fan in the car from cold to medium and then warm. 

I was running a little late for my own goodbye party (let's face it: when am I not running a little bit late?) when I heard a loud noise that sounded like something hit the passenger side of my car. Weird. 

The car drove just fine, so I continued on a little ways, as the car began driving less and less fine. 

Back tire, passenger side. 


  1. 2010 - Front passenger side tire: faulty valve. Multiple flats.
  2. 2011 - Rear driver side tire: weird hernia thing; replaced.
  3. 2013 - Rear driver side tire: intentional puncture while parked in front of my house; all four tires replaced.
  4. 2014 - Rear passenger side tire: blow out on the highway.

I don't get it. I drive a little tiny car with little tiny tires. How do they keep failing me like this? Is it normal to have so many tire issues in barely three years of owning a car? It's not the alignment. This little car drives straight indefinitely when I take my hands off the wheel, unless there is a cross wind.

I parked well off the freeway and called roadside assistance. I got a card in the mail once that I was supposed to keep in my wallet (I did not) saying that I had roadside assistance, and I happened to see it yesterday as I was cleaning out my office (end cleaning time: 1 am).

Only it would take them up to an hour to get there, and I realized that the tire place that replaces their tires for free if something goes wrong might be closed on Sunday anyway (it was). I am not going to buy a new tire from some other place if I can get this one for free.

I could have gone forward to Universe City, but once the tire was replaced, either by me or by roadside assistance, it would take a very long time on back roads, driving under 50 mph. I would completely miss my party, and I worried about the donut tire making it so far. The distance back to Gone West was shorter.

I can change a tire, but it was freezing out there. I was dressed for warm, sunny Gone West, not foggy, blustery in-between land. 

I had to take everything out of my trunk in order to get at the spare.

My hands were freezing.

The only good news in this picture is that I keep a waterproof stadium blanket in my trunk. I put it on the damp ground next to the car and went to work.

I was in the process of tightening the bolts on the spare when someone stopped to help.

I don't mean to be critical of big-city majority culture (OR MAYBE I DO), but it's worth noting that the very nice guy who stopped to help me, after many, many cars just drove by, was Latino and spoke with an accent. Kindness is still alive somewhere in the world, just possibly not here.

The nearest exit was only a mile or so off, so I took that one and stopped at the bucks of star to try to warm up.

It took more than twice as long to drive back on a winding country road along the river, but it was far prettier. I've missed that road entirely, even though it runs all the way down to Universe City, because it is so much slower than the freeway.

I'm glad I got to drive it today.

Now I'm home, in the warmth, taking this extra time to pack. I probably need the extra time, too.

No comments: