It all started back when I was pregnant with Half-Pint. Or maybe it was well before that...like when we bought the minivan. At some point we had to start putting air in one of the tires every so often. Just a slow leak, you know. No biggie. But it was always Lumberjack filling the tire and I confess, up until this point in my life, I'd never used one of those air pump hose thingies at a gas station because I'd never had a tire with a slow leak. And, plus, it's the manly thing to do. You don't make your wife get out and put air in a tire while you sit and listen to NPR. Instead, you get out and put air in a tire while your wife sits in the van trying to keep the
So we dutifully keep the tire pumped up like good, responsible citizens and I hadn't thought much of it until one day I was out, tootling around with errands by myself [what I really mean is: without Lumberjack. I still had the other girls with me. that constitutes "by myself."] and I realized the tire was low. I made my way to the gas station, parked the van, and had a quick think to myself. I'd never aired the tire up before. My pregnant belly was doing the steering for me these days since I could no longer even reach the steering wheel with my hands. I decided today was not the day to just try to figure out how to air up the tire...because, well, my dignity was important to me. As it advertises itself as a 'Full Service' gas station, I felt confident in walking inside to ask for assistance.
"Hi there! I have a low tire, and it's a little awkward putting air in it, being pregnant and all" - I motioned to my belly as outstanding proof -
"And I sure could use some help. Would you be able..?"
The attendant shook his head. I started to laugh. After all, I might be pregnant, but I hadn't lost my sense of humor. I could spot a joker.
"Haha, no really..."
"Nope. Sorry. We provide the free air but we can't help with it. It's a liability issue."
At that point, the dignity I had attempted to preserve just up and left me. As in, flat-out abandoned me right in the middle of lunch. There was no gradual welling of tears in the eyes, no swallowing down hard the lump that rises in the throat. Nope. None of that slow-building stuff that's an indicator you just might be about to cry and should cough it down or leave while faking a smile. None of that happened, because tidal waves and train wrecks don't move that gracefully. I turned into an instant, hysterical monsoon of tears and sobbing. The attendant stood there blinking at me. I ran out the door weeping. TRUE STORY.
I happened to see a guy about my dad's age parked in a truck near my van. I walked up, shoulders still heaving and with a steady flow of snot crawling out my nose, I tapped on his window and explained I needed help. Like a proper Southern gentleman, he hopped right out of his pick-up and assisted with the low tire. I was internally questioning why we hadn't just gotten the tire replaced so I'd never have to deal with this...but it's just a slow leak, after all. I interrupted my thinking to thank him profusely and go on my way. Yay for Southerners.
Several weeks later, I birthed a very cute baby and I'd all but forgotten about The Incident because
Fast forward a bit in time. I'm once again out running errands by myself when I noticed yet again the tire was low. Lumberjack was nowhere around - helping someone else about 30 minutes away. At least he had Scout and Freckles with him. Fool that I am, I chose to go to the same 'Full Service' gas station, expecting something of a different result.
Wasn't it Mother Teresa who said that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results"? Or Winston Churchill. Or somebody else who's already dead. Here's a tip. LISTEN TO THE DEAD PEOPLE. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.
So, just to recap, in case I've lost you:
1. Our minivan has a consistently low tire that we bother to do almost absolutely nothing about.
2. The 'Full Service' gas station our town boasts employs schmucks.
3. Also, I am insane.
So there I am, at the gas station, realizing I don't have a pregnancy on which to blame the need for assistance. Because I still haven't ever filled a low tire. Well, that was about to change. I called Lumberjack while I crouched down on the sidewalk with the air hose, trying to look like I knew what I was doing. I asked him to talk me through the process. He did, but things kind of fell apart pretty quickly at that point.
"Is the tire doing anything? You should see the tire airing up."
But that's not what happened. In about 4 seconds flat - which is really almost too little time for anybody to do much of anything - the tire went completely flat. COMPLETELY.FLAT.
I, of course, said all the helpful things I could think of.
"It's flat. How did that happen?! I did exactly what you told me to. Crap, it's flat! Like totally, completely, THERE-IS-NO-FREAKING-AIR-IN-THIS-THING FLAT. Why haven't we gotten this tire changed?"
I'm going to up the voltage real quick and speed this story along. Since Lumberjack couldn't come to my assistance, and the gas station attendants sure as hell weren't going to help me, a friend right around the corner came to my rescue at Lumberjack's request. Once he got there, he determined I hadn't screwed anything up [hurray!] but that there appeared to be a problem with the air compressor. I went inside to check. It was a different employee this time, and he confirmed that their air compressor was indeed broken.
Thanks for the warning, mister. Thanks for posting a sign that says the compressor is down, so if you try to use the pump it'll flatten your tire instead of airing it up. You suck, and by the way, I hate your face.
While our friend ran across the street to the bike shop owned by yet another friend, the station attendant ran outside holding a tiny can of air.
"I am so, so sorry for your flat tire. This should fill it up. We usually sell it for $2.99 a can but I can give you at least 50-cents off."
Oh, would you? Would you, really? What a bargain. But I said none of that. I shot him the most evil look I could muster and shouted, "HOW ABOUT A SIGN THAT SAYS NO AIR?!?!?"
He ran back inside. He may have been crying. I didn't care.
Our friend returned with a hand pump from the bike shop, put enough air into the tire to get it to driving condition, and advised me to find another gas station with an air pump just to top it off.
|slow going, but hey, it works.|
But why do that? It's just a slow leak, after all.