Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for September 16th, 2022

My Latest Adventure: Tire Repair at Oh-Dark-Thirty (by Good Samaritan)

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Folks, it’s taken me a bit over twenty-four hours to write about this, but I had a bit of an adventure on Wednesday evening.

I was driving back from Mom’s place about a half hour before midnight, and I heard one of my tires go “flap, flap, flap.” This is a very ominous sign; it means the tire has blown out, nine times out of ten.

Anyway, I went to the closest gas station (about a quarter of a mile away), and tried to put air in it, just in case it would hold enough air to get back home, seven miles away.

It didn’t hold air.

At this point, a Good Samaritan (who told me his name, but I was so scattered, it went in one ear and out the other) stopped at this gas station on his two-wheel pedal bike. (Not an e-bike.) I have to admit that I was startled, as I was putting air in the tire at the time. He took over trying to do that, and asked if I had a spare tire.

I’d already looked in the trunk, and I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t in the standard place — at least, not where I usually expect it to be, close to the wheel wells and underneath just about everything else in the trunk. Nope. Instead, this was closer to being underneath the backseat, in the trunk, than anything. (It still was underneath everything else, so I guess that’s something.)

I can hear at least a few of you asking why I didn’t call for roadside assistance. Well, I tried, as I do have AAA. They sent back a link to follow, which would’ve been fine if I used a smartphone; I don’t. This meant I had no way to get a hold of them whatsoever.

Anyway, after nearly an hour, the Good Samaritan (a sixty-year-old Black man) and I found my spare tire and the jack. Within the next twenty-five minutes, he’d gotten the old tire off (yes, it had blown out, and had steel belts sticking out the sides of the tire in a weird, almost retro fashion) and put the “shorty” — also called the doughnut — onto the car.

As some of you might be wondering, the police saw that me and my car were in distress and stopped by. At that time, they also saw that my Good Samaritan had things well in hand, thanked him, and drove off again. (I was happy with that, as by that time we’d found the spare tire and the jack, and the old tire was nearly off.)

I didn’t have much money to give him, but I gave him what I had, plus some of my mom’s good coupons. (Mom is what you might call an extreme coupon clipper. She usually has excellent coupons for $5 off toilet paper or $8.99 off specific brands.) I thanked him profusely (at one point, he told me to get out the baseball bat he’d seen in my trunk, just in case anyone else tried coming along who wasn’t so friendly, so I used my baseball bat as a cane while all this was going on), and then drove off.

The car felt really weird with that doughnut on. The vibrations — which I always notice, being a musician — were wrong. That’s an emergency tire only, which is why I went to get tires on Thursday afternoon…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the story.

So, I had called my father to let him know there was a problem right after I’d pulled off into the gas station, which was at least one hour and forty-five minutes before I ventured on back home. My phone decided it didn’t want to call anyone else, thank you, and lost all charge (even though I’d left Mom’s with a full charge; this phone is very strange). Once I was back, I let my father know I was OK, and we talked a little bit about the earlier Brewers game (which they lost to St. Louis).

Because of the emergency — which lasted a little over two hours — I sweated through everything. I managed to take a shower despite muscle cramps in weird places and all sorts of back and leg spasms. This helped somewhat, at least with the pain.

Anyway, I didn’t sleep all that well, or for very long. I knew I couldn’t leave that doughnut on the car, as I said before…so I started calling various places to try to find tires at a price I could afford.

Most of the places quoted two tires of the type I needed as being over $300. (As I have a 2010 Hyundai Accent, this seemed odd. A few years ago, I got tires — I think it was even all four tires — for around $175.) None of the places had these tires in stock but said they could order them.

At this point, I talked with my friend Lika (who also lives in Racine). She had found some good used tires of the same type as I needed and recommended this tire place called Mickey’s LLC on Twelfth and Washington Avenue in Racine. As my car has 130K miles on it, tires that have a good amount of tread but aren’t necessarily new are a whole lot better than having that doughnut on one side and a tire that was nearly as bad on the other. (Worst of all, my car is a front-wheel drive, and the two bad tires — the blown-out one and the other — were both on the front.)

Anyway, I was pleased with the service I received and with the tires. They were affordable, the tire repairman was quite pleasant, and he told me that my Good Samaritan had told the truth. Both tires needed immediate replacement, and one of the two back tires also needed replacement before winter starts. (The other went bad about eight or nine months ago and was replaced at that time.)

With the new-to-me tires on the car, it once again had the vibration it should. The tires were the right size and the right shape, so that made sense.

The tire repairman also told me that probably next spring, I should have someone rotate the tires and do an alignment, considering the aberrant pattern of wear on the old tires. This also made sense to me. (It was also suggested by the Good Samaritan, who said that he could tell I had a lot on my plate with various responsibilities, and that he wished my husband were still alive so this had never happened. Michael was good with cars, in the main, and having two people rather than one person checking the car before going anywhere is a sensible suggestion.)

For the moment, I have the doughnut on the top of the trunk, along with the jack, just in case that back tire goes bad before I can replace it. (The tire repairman said he may have a tire for my car tomorrow, and if not, by Monday. I intend to replace that other tire, which might make it a month or two and that’s all, ASAP. No more blow-outs for me, thanks…not even slow-speed ones.)

So, that was the entirety of the adventure. I met a very kind-hearted man who helped me a great deal in that Good Samaritan. The police came out and were friendly, kind, and made sure I was OK before leaving again. The tire repairman at Mickey’s was also friendly, kind, and helpful.

It was an ordeal nonetheless…but it was much lesser of an ordeal than it could’ve been.

There are indeed good people in this world.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 16, 2022 at 2:45 am