something about the open road
While I was driving home on Thursday night, my rear passenger tire gave out. Thank God I was close to home and already in the far right lane in preparation for exiting. Twenty more feet, and I could have even been off the freeway, although, in hindsight, it would have been worse if it had happened on the crazy 360-degree exit curve, or on the semi-congested downtown streets, or mainly if the tire had decided to explode in the vicinity of my neighborhood, with its dark, winding, hella narrow streets.
So I hit the button for my emergency flashers, pulled over, and went out to look at the damage. I was expecting it to be just a flat tire, and so I was a bit shaken to find nothing but a bare metal rim and a few small shreds of rubber. Got back in the car, called home and AAA, and waited for the tow-truck dude to show up so he could do something useful with the spare tire. Refrained from telling the daddy-o that I had already been out there, because he kept repeating, “Are you inside your car? Make sure you stay inside. Lock the doors. Don’t get out!” Meanwhile, I guess not all highway patrolmen are rude and obnoxious after all, because the one who randomly showed up offered to stay behind my car while the tow truck came, and then actually stayed until I pulled back on the freeway. “Thanks, I appreciate that,” I said.
When the tow truck dude finally showed up and lifted the spare tire out of my trunk, I had to silently laugh at the fact that nestled among my running shoes and box of textbooks is H‘s soccer ball, the one he placed in my trunk almost two years ago and which I kept forgetting to give back to him, even though he graduated and returned to LA this summer.
As I stood out there on the freeway with six lanes of traffic whizzing by two feet away, my cell phone rang. I swear the boy is telepathic. When I called him back later to explain that I had been waiting for the tow truck dude to finish up, H tsk’ed and said incredulously, “You don’t know how to change a tire? Yasminay!”
Okay, so I do know a few things about cars, but changing tires is not my forte. “Please,” I snapped, “do you even know how dark and foggy it is out here? I wouldn’t want to be sitting out here on the freeway changing tires right about now.”
He laughed. “I don’t know a thing about engines, but I’d have changed your tire for you if I were there.”
“Yeah, well you’re useless,” I said, “since you’re in LA anyway. And dude! Your soccer ball is still in my trunk!” I’m hoping that’ll be enough incentive for him to come back up to Northern California so we can all go to Sam’s restaurant and stuff our faces with chicken kabobs and shawarmas.
The next morning, I opened my trunk to take out a few books and wrinkled up my nose at the stench of burnt rubber inside. Also, I realized that the tire had ripped apart with such force that it also tore away the mud guard positioned behind the wheel. I mean, really, as if my car didn’t look muddy enough as it is… Wait, so maybe that means the mudguard wasn’t doing jack anyway.
In Somayya’s immortal words (in reference to our lack of tire-changing skills): “We have to be boys about this, Yazzo.”
So hey, who’s up for: (1) Washing my exceedingly grimy car? (2) Teaching me how to change a tire? and (3) Playing a quick game of soccer?