The Tire


I don’t own a car.  I walk or ride a bicycle everywhere I go. If I need to go into the city I take a train.  If I need to go across country I take a plane.  When I occasionally have need for a car I borrow my daughters.  It’s a band new bright, shiny Mercedes.  It’s got all the bells and whistle’s rich people like.

About a week before Christmas I borrowed the car.  I was riding along minding my own business when a display panel appeared on the dash.  It showed the tire pressure in all four tires.  The driver’s side rear was in red.  The other three tires showed a pressure of 38 psi.

The low tire was reading 29 psi.  I made a stop.  When I got back in it had drop to 26 psi in a matter of an hour……so….I did the logical thing, I stopped and put air in it…..for now.

The next day my daughter came from the city.  When the low tire display came on again I told her to stop and put some air in until she could get it repaired.  It was the day before Christmas.

We stopped and I put some air in it.  She was driving.  We were near where I lived.  Recently the city had re-configured the street in front.  they added what are known as “bump outs” designed to funnel traffic.

My daughter hit one.  It worked.  She got bumped out.  When we arrived at her place I looked at the tire.  It had a significant bulge on the tire wall.  Could blow any minute.  Definitely not safe, especially since I was suppose to take them all the way to La Guardia airport from Asbury Park, N.J. the day after Christmas.  I suggested it be changed to be on the safe side.  son-in-law agreed.

Christmas day was ice-cold.  I thought waiting till it warmed up in the afternoon would be the prudent move.  It was son-in-laws car so he should change it if not at least help.

I looked at him.  He was on the couch with a blanket wrapped around him, deeply absorbed in his ipad. He looked very comfortable.  I thought to myself, the last thing in the world he wants to do right now is go out and fix that tire.

It was Christmas so I decided to do it my self even tho I was leaning on my 70th year.

I went outside.  II t was very cold, but the sun was shining.  I located the spare tire, what is known as a donut.  Never been used.  It needed a separate set of lug nuts which were still encased in plastic.  So pretty.

Anyway I cracked the nuts, jacked it up with the scissor jack, popped the tire off, put the donut on, lowered it and threw the bad tire in the back, all inside of a half hour.

Driving to the airport the next day I discovered that son-in-law who was in his forties had “NEVER” changed a tire in his life. I had  inadvertently preserved his record.

I turned the car over to his brother, who I assumed would tend to replacing the tire.  Three weeks later my daughter returned with the car.  The donut was still on.  I asked her about it.  She said she didn’t know why it had not been changed. I told her I would take care of it.

That was on a Saturday.  The next day was Sunday.  Monday was Martin Luther King’s Birthday.  Would the Mercedes dealer observe it and be closed when I got there.  Didn’t know so decided not to go.

Tuesday it snowed.  If I had to make it I could….but !!  That car is designed to firmly hold the road.  The tires were wide and flat.  Except for the donut which was smaller and round. Which could potentially alter the equation.  A recipe for disaster.  Discretion being the better part of valor I decided to wait. 

Wednesday the streets had not been cleared.  I passed again.  Thursday I decided to give it a try. Before doing it I picked up my friend for coffee.  He had gotten use to the convenience of the car and had a couple of errands he wanted to accomplish.  I couldn’t do that and get to the dealership on time.

I didn’t expect my daughter till the weekend so to help him I decided to do it Friday.  My daughter had told me to have the dealership call her for a credit card number to pay for it.  To alert her I called before leaving.  No answer.  Left a message.

When I got to the dealership they were just about to go home and my daughter did not answer the phone.  The service rep took the pertinent information.  I told him I’d be back Monday.

When I talked to my daughter on Saturday she complained that I was slow.  The other guy had it three weeks and didn’t accomplish it.  I was under a week and she was complaining.

The next day was Sunday.  Monday I took it in.  An hour and four hundred and seven dollars later it was fixed, one month to the day it had been changed.

Tuesday I used it.  Wednesday I gave it to son-in-laws brother.






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