A new low

One of my more normal coworkers was entering the building as I was leaving last night.

“It’s 5:30,” I told him, helpfully.

“Yeah, I know, I–“

“It’s the end of the day. Did you just get back from Australia or something?”

“Did I–Australia?” he asked, a trifle beleagueredly.

“You know, because in Australia it’s the other side of the earth, and the toilet water swirls the opposite direction, and when it’s summer here it’s winter there, so I worried you might have just gotten back and you’re all turned around and you think we start work at 5:00, but really we end work at 5:00.”

No one at work can say I’m not full of information.

“I forgot my hat, June. I didn’t go to Australia.”

Hunh. Well, if he wants to be all weird, okay.

But that fascinating story is not why I’ve gathered you all here today. I’ve gathered you here to tell you about the plug.

[sound of chairs scraping closer to computer heard across the land]

My car has a habit of telling me my tires are low. If there’s a change of season—not a whole opposite-Australia-season or anything, just a new season—inevitably my car will tell me all my tires are low. In the past, I’ve (“I’ve”) filled them up at the gas station and I’m usually good as new, and by the way I wasn’t that great when I was new, either.

But last fall, JUST AS IT CHANGED SEASONS, it kept saying “Tires low” and pointing decidedly at all four tires with either stemless arrows or really bossy wedges of cheese. I had just moved and it was really the last thing I needed, but I bought four new tires, because apparently you should not go from 2012 to 2018 with the same tires. I thought maybe my tires would stop talking to me when the weather changed.

And that is why I was

IRRITATED

when my car told me I had one low tire, over yonder in the back left. It happened first on Sunday, on my way to Chris and Lilly’s, and I stopped at not one but two gas stations and realized I didn’t…quite know how to fill a tire. Do you push that little handle thing?

I regaled C and L with this riveting story when I got there, and Lilly said, “Did you press that handle thing?” and why does everyone else know how to get through life more than me?

After my visit, when I got back to my car,

PING

low-tire light. This time I drove to Sheetz and pushed the handle thing, and the light went off.

But then as I drove my giant commute yesterday, PING! Low-tire wedge of cheese light. I also heard what I thought was maybe a flapping. Granted it could have been my hips, but I thought not. Then on the way back from lunch, back to work?

The tire was definitely bad.

Fortunately, there’s a shady-looking gas station on the drive, that long drive, from my house to work. I’ve gotten gas there before but never ventured in, as it looks sort of like if you walked in they’d feature pimps dressed like Huggie Bear selling vats of crack.

Can I interest you in the crack du jour?

But yesterday I had to venture in, and by the way it was SNOWING, and thanks, world. So I blustered on in there and oh my god.

There was a PARTY in there. Several people were standing around talking loudly, but it wasn’t anger loud, it was happy loud. They were joking and telling stories and there were delicious snacks available,

and best of all, the owner guy was all, “Well, who’s THIS beautiful woman?”

I looked behind me. That anyone noticed I’d even walked in was a miracle at 53.

“Please don’t give him your phone number,” said the woman behind the counter. “He’ll call you, then he’ll stalk you. You’ll never get rid of him.”

I loved everyone in that place.

And despite the fact that they were busy, including being busy helping an old lady named Lottie, and I was very glad Edsel wasn’t there to eat her face, they got me in right away. It was nice and warm in there, with the snow blowing outside, and I paged through a People Magazine (“The Truth About Meghan”).

Lottie the cute old lady was worrying her “Cadillac converter” had gone wrong.

“Do you live near the hospital construction?” the repair guy asked me, after about 15 minutes.

No, but I WORK near it. For months now, hundreds of construction workers have been on the next block, and they cross the street IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET whenever they feel like it, cars be damned, and they’ve been driving me berserk and I have half a mind to “Let me speak to you manager” them and I feel like they can feel my resentment and they’re probably all, There’s the bitch in the yellow Mini.

CROSS AT THE CORNER. WAIT FOR CARS. Is that too much to ask?

“These are construction plugs. They get shot into concrete. One tire, two plugs,” the guy told me, and then they charged me $16.01 for patching my tire up.

You heard me. Sixteen-o-one. Oh my god I am going there every day. That was the best place on earth.

Anyway, that’s my plug for the car-repair/gas station near my house, get it?

I hope this whole post didn’t make you tired.

Juan

30 thoughts on “A new low

  1. Cool beans. Love this post. Want crumb cakes badly now. But boo to stupid construction zones which are tires worst enemies.

    The silly Brits spell it tyre, btw. I can’t help but compare that to spelling a name like, oh say Shannon as Shannyn.

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  2. Was there a final ruling regarding requests for advice?
    A. Wait for the official “Ask for advice day”
    B. Randomly ask for advice in the comments as needed
    C. Something altogether different that I missed entirely

    Signed,
    Anxious for advice in Alcatraz

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      • I’m absolutely not worthy of a special post. It’s not scandalous, heartbreaking, or even very interesting. However, there is never a lack of good ideas around this place – so it seemed an appropriate forum!

        Like so many before me, I find myself approaching 50, employed by a company whose owners have decided to retire sooner rather than later. I have “some college” (which would be so grossly outdated now) but not an official bachelors, and have been very fortunate to work for the last 15 years as the office manager – my duties being the typical human resources, payroll, tax paying, full charge bookkeeping type thing. As I am browsing around, I find many jobs that pay around $10 less an hour, or jobs that pay similar but require a degree.

        My question is this:
        Is there anyone that would have a suggestion for a mid-life career change? Something one could get some type of certification for that doesn’t require a debt of $50k and 4 years to do so? I wonder if there are careers I’ve never even thought of? I look at the job sites daily in hopes of a “ta-da” moment….but there has been nothing of the sort thus far. I’ve got a good 20 years to remain in the workforce and unfortunately, money does matter.

        Ideas/suggestions GREATLY appreciated!

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  3. Love this! What could have been nothing but a grumble about a flat tire turned into an unexpected pleasant encounter.

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  4. 2. Neighborhood places are the best, even the ones in the hood!
    D. My husband has a cousin who looks and acts just like Huggie Bear.

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  5. Love that this formerly scary place held so much secret joy! Who doesn’t need a cheap car repair that makes sense? Awesome. I join you in not knowing how to do adult stuff like fill a tire. Very entertaining as usual.

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  6. What a delightful discovery. This reminds me of the time we were traveling on the interstate and when a car passed us, he slowed down and pointed at our rear tire. We took the next exit, found a gas station that actually had a mechanic who found a nail in our tire. He patched the tire and only charged $10. It’s nice to know there are good people out there who won’t take advantage of you.

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  7. Everyone in the area! we must have a June party at the gas station and eat Crumb Cakes. Maybe for BRUNCH.

    Also I wasn’t allowed to post this comment yesterday, but I think “Go Chicken Go!” is a gorgeous name to be in a “how we met” story.

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  8. This post made me laugh out loud several times! Another great place in our new neighborhood. Nice to know you have a place to get help on short notice, and friendly. We just replace tires on our cars, one of them had 80,000+ miles so it must have been 2008 when we last bought tires for that vehicle, not true about the other one. Before replacing the tires the tire light kept coming on and we had the gauge replaced on the SPARE, then the light came on again, and again, finally the mechanic decided all the gauges on all four tire needed replaced it was like $316.01. I’m so glad it was just a nail/plug.
    Tee

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  9. #1 – a friend is in New Zealand house sitting and has to give 2 pregnant alpacas zinc tablets every day. Whatever. These hormonal alpacas both have boy names so I asked “Do they have boy names because you are on the bottom of the world and everything is upside down?” and nobody even commented about how awesome that observation was.
    #2 – many years ago when I was young but feeling old and dumpy for a lot of reasons, I was at work and an older man (client I think) and I tried to go through a door at the same time from opposite directions. He stepped back and said “beautiful women have the right of way” and that is still one of the best compliments I have ever received. So say nice things. You never know how much somebody needs to hear it.

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      • I know, right? This guy is really annoying because he is “vagabonding” but this is a pretty sweet gig. There is also a dog and I think some goats, and the house looks out on a bay.

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      • “If I got to go to New Zealand and give zinc to alpacas I’d never be sad again” goes in my short list of “wonderful sentences especially out of context.” It might even top “Everything is better with a little chocolate hat.”

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        • That was me, The Poet, Anonymousing because of not being allowed to post with a name for some reason. (Or no reason.) Also unable yesterday, when I wanted to say that “Go Chicken Go” is a particularly gorgeous place to have in a “how we met” story.

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    • I may have told this story here before but it bears repeating because I love it so much. I was walking into The Walmart one day holding on to my skirt in the breeze and an old man (like he was possibly 90) said to me “I’ve always loved a big girl with pretty legs!” He was so sweet that I didn’t even mind the “big girl” part. And let’s be real – I AM a big girl. It still makes me smile every time I think about it.

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  10. I’m going to attempt to show you my low tire symbol. ( ! ) Doesn’t that look like a butt crack to you? I got intimately familiar with my butt crack symbol last year before I replaced the tires. Im glad you found one more cool place in your new hood.
    Lovely post, Joon.

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  11. SO nice when it turns out to be $16.01 instead of $160.10. Or $1,601.00, as has happened on occasion with my ancient car. Or $2,363.59 at the emergency vet hospital, as happened this weekend. I need a few $16.01 surprises the rest of this month (year) to make up for that.

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  12. I am glad the shady looking gas station turned out to be nice. A reliable auto mechanic that will not talk to you like you’re a girl is a great thing. So many car repair guys try to take advantage of people that I am leery of all of them.

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