Monday, June 20, 2011

My luck, it is a’changing

By now, we all know that bad luck follows me around like a sea sponge. Insistent, unyielding, determined. This is particularly true when it comes to anything auto-related, judging by the fact that I don’t even commute for work, hardly drive at all, yet in the last 3-4 years, I’ve been rear-ended twice (once on my birthday!), had my car completely totaled by an assclown (and convicted felon with no driver’s license and no insurance) on I-290, and have had my share of flat tires. Three, to be exact, though none of those have left me stranded in remote places leaving me wondering how to use that weird jack they include with the car.

That is, until yesterday. Kind of. It wasn’t remote per se, but getting a flat while driving on I-90 out in the general area of Bumblefuck ain’t so great either.

Aha, but here’s where the luck comes in! Because somehow once I heard the thunk-thunk-thunk and realized I in all likelihood had a flat, I did not pull over willy-nilly and decide to check out said flat on the side of the highway, where I in all likelihood would have been flattened. Mayhap even by the classic predatory yet ironic bus? Hey, a girl can dream.

But no! Instead, I calmly and wisely figured (hoped/prayed) that I could make it on Bad Tire to the next exit, my mom’s exit which is where I was heading, since it was less than a mile away. So I bumped along slowly on the shoulder – and did NOT get squashed by a semi! I know, shocking!

But wait, there’s more!

So I get off and manage to make it to the first turn, and pull in behind the restaurant that’s there on the left. And call my mom to see if she has any kindly neighbors who know how to change a flat. Yes, yes, I theoretically know how this is done, but given that it probably would have been dark out by the time I figured out where to place the jack and how it actually works, this seemed the more prudent course of action.

She finds a neighbor who can help, and as they’re headed over, I find the tools, get the spare off the back, etc., all in between taking Kona for walks in the field behind the restaurant. Oh yes, he’s insisting on “helping,” of course.

Needless to say, the fiasco that ensued was very much in keeping with the style to which Miss Tasha is accustomed. And as always, because I am all about helping my alert readers, aka “the little people,” I’ve gleaned some keen observations regarding the whole process that should be heeded by those to whom they apply. To wit:

To manufacturers of those flimsy tire changing kits: M’kay, do you think you might be able to have those jacks go up just a tiny bit higher, say an inch or so, just in case the person trying to get the tire changed managed to park the car on a slight tilt, such that the jack won’t lift the car high enough to get the new tire on? Thanks.

To the brain trust people who design the cars: Your helpful note in the manual that “the exact tiny divot where the jack should be placed – or major catastrophe will ensue when the jack slips and the car comes

crashing down on you – is noted by a small white arrow underneath the car” – is in fact not at all helpful.

To wonderful good Samaritans: I thank you so so much for stopping to help us after stopping for drinks at the restaurant, mother and son, living in Sun City (the retirement community cough resort that my mom also lives in) – truly I do – but the next time you do so after having more than a few cocktails, please be a bit more careful? Because I think if we hadn’t noticed that you were turning things the wrong way, you might have wound up decapitated.

To The Kone: Momma loves you dearly, HRH, to pieces! Forever and ever! But I want to assure you that when I disappear into the restaurant to get bandaids (for good Samaritan) or ice water (for tire changing helpers), I will come back. I will always come back to you. A 2-minute absence does not necessitate yanking the leash out of my mom’s hand and running insanely to the front of the restaurant looking for me, almost running in front of a car in the process.

Things got progressively more absurd, of course, from the realization that the car was on that teeny-weeny slant and we had to reverse the whole process and move the car….to The Kone running wild and free! Looking for his momma. Sigh. To my having the following conversation with Lita, the mom, while her son was still working at changing the tire.

“Say….do you like tomatoes?” I ask, out of the blue. Somehow she didn’t think this was an odd question.

“Oh yes,” replied Lita. “I love them!”

“Great! Expect to get a bushel of them on your doorstep in August,” I said, beaming. “Mom! Write down her information!”

Why, we were having so much fun chatting that the whole thing would have been downright festive had there not been that danger of my teetering car drunkenly decapitating someone. Ech, but what is a lost head between friends, really?

In the end, the tire got changed, no one was decapitated, my mom made a new friend, the helpful neighbor got wine and T-bones as a thank you, and The Kone had yet another adventure. And then there was the next day, when I went to the Costco tire center where I had gotten all new tires a year before. My mom’s neighbor had warned us that unless I had specifically purchased a Road Hazard Warranty, I’d be stuck buying a new tire unless there was a defect.

Young Costco Guy: Okay, the tire wasn’t repairable, there was a gash in the sidewall.

Me, sighing: Of course there was. What would have caused that? I was on the highway! Are you saying a rabid nail went leaping off the road to its death in the side of my tire?

YCG: Umm, maybe? Sometimes these things happen.

Me: Okay, so how much do I owe you for the new tire?

YCG: Eleventwentyfour.

I look at him and tilt my head. Eleventwentyfour? Is this some kind of New Costco Math? It doesn’t compute.

Me: What was that again?

YCG: Eleventwentyfour.

Me: Eleventytwentyforty?

YCG: No, just eleventwentyfour.

I think to myself, hmm, this must be what they’re teaching kids in school these days. They’re so used to texting and shortening words, that now they’re shortening numbers too. Could it be $1124? No, of course not. $110.24? That makes more sense. I try to coax him out a bit, using my excellent communication skills, to mayhap get him to use non-texting language.

“So,” I say craftily, “if you were me and you were going to write this out on a check which you probably wouldn’t do because you kids do everything online these days but let’s just pretend, and say there were no mobile devices anywhere in existence so that you couldn’t send a text, what would this figure look like?”

I for one think I’m being very astute in picking up on these younger kids’ hep lingo and all that, but for some reason, he looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind.

YCG: Umm……..eleven dollars and twenty-four cents?

Now, I’m not saying I wrote out and slapped that check down and bolted out of there before he could figure out they had made a mistake……but hell yes, that’s exactly what I did. Okay, so I did discover that Costco has some insanely amazing service plan in place whereby all tires come with a 5-year Road Hazard Warranty, which is prorated based on how many miles you’ve driven on the tires. But still! Yet another reason to love this place. Costco, aka Mecca, will you hire me? Please?? Now?

And yes, this is what passes for really good luck around these parts. Car got a flat tire on the highway but close enough to an exit? Sweet! Par-tay time!

Clearly there should be a picture of me in the dictionary next to the word “super easy to make happy.” It’s a gift.


Anonymous said...

Tasha, you brave girl you, my step son own's a towing and roadside service, and would help you out any day, any time. For future help, call me, that's right around our area.


Dee said...

Roadside assistance: $0.00
New Tire: $11.24
Smile on Kona's face: priceless

Suerae Stein said...

Love your glass half full attitude!!! And I laughed a full belly laugh at the entire eleventwentyfour part. I never would've puzzled that one out - NOTHING on cars ever costs $11.24! Your dog is a cutie pie, btw.