Aug 07 2006

deflated.

Published by at 9:55 pm under amy's head,daily,likes & irks

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I haven’t gotten around to typing up this post until now.

Mostly because I took pictures with my stellar (NOT) camera phone, and was trying to get moblogging working so I didn’t have to email everything around twice.

Moblogging still not working, but we’re still working on it. It’ll be neato when it gets working.

So I was on my merry way to work last Thursday, driving along innocently enough, when I thought I heard something funny. I turn off the iPod and listened.

Nothing.

Inch forward in traffic. There it is again. I pull over, and it is not a pretty sight. My rear passenger tire is totally flat, and I’m driving on the rim.

In a way, I’m kind of stoked, because … I love this sort of shit. I love to change tires, and here I get to do it all by myself! Few years ago, I went off roading by myself and got totally stuck on a small tree trunk. I checked out the situation and being the daughter of an engineer, totally figured out how to get myself out of the mess I got myself into and was working merrily away at gathering the supplies(lots of big rocks) and then got to work. I was getting there, albeit slowly, by myself, when a guy and his girlfriend motored up on their ATVs and helped me out. I say “helped me out,” but it was more like, the guy swooped in and did this macho “Oh, it’s a good thing *I* came along” act, and kind of muscled me out of it. I hovered for a while, tried to do what I was doing, but finally sat down with the girlfriend and watched. I totally wanted to kick his ass, but at the same time, when you’re out 4-wheelin’ by yourself, folks around to bail you out of trouble is always a good thing. I could have been in a situation where there was no way out unless someone came along with a winch, so I just counted myself lucky to have some help and called it good.

But still. Even though I was dressed up all nice, and even somewhat warmly (long sleeves – the AC in my building is VERY EFFECTIVE) in what was the heat wave of the entire summer, I was kind of tickled that I had a flat.

I kicked off my shoes and got to work.

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first order of business was to get the necessary tools. Namely, the jack and lug wrench. Unfortunately, they are located under the back seat, so that means CAR SEAT = OUTTA THERE.

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Next, I needed my spare tire. My 4Runner has a full sized spare that is hoisted up underneat the back of the car. It was pretty easy to get down. See curious hole above bumper. Stick pump crank into hole. Fiddle around and turn. (Kind of kinky.) Watch as the miracle of engineering lowers my spare tire!

Ok, spare tire. CHECK.

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Next: Operation JACK!

This was a little trickier. I’ve jacked up other cars, but I never had the opportunity to do it on my truck (i’ve had flats before, but the damn men always do it.) So I was actually uncertain where I was supposed to put the jack. On a car frame, there are little indentations right under the door frame, near the tire where you put the jack. Nothing like that on the truck. Plus, if I jacked up the frame, I could probably jack as far as the jack would go and the tire would stay on the ground. The glory of big truck shocks! So peering over the arcane drawings on the jack and even breaking out my manual, I determined that I needed to jack it by the axle:

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The drawings seemed to indicate a specific PLACE on the axle, but I sure as hell couldn’t match anything up on the real axle that looked like the drawing, so I just picked a place and started cranking. It worked fine, and nothing appeared to break! Yay me!

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(for a phone camera, i quite like this one.)

So, next up. Get the flat off. I had my handy little lug lock doodad.

Let me just say that by now, my happy-go-lucky attitude was starting to wear thin. NOT because I didn’t want to do it. NOT because it was now 137 degrees and I was sweating like a pig. No, my friends, it was because I was VERY near the main commuting drive, as I was previously IN the commute when I quickly pulled off and started my tire changing escapades, and there were a stream of folks still creeping along in traffic on their way to work. I’d been outside for probably a good 30 minutes now, and did anyone pull over to ask if I needed help?

No. Not one. NADA. ZIPPO. NO ONE. Sure, it was fine. I had a handle on things, but jeez, people, it’s nice to at least be asked. Show some common decency for crying out loud. What kind of world do we live in, people, if you can’t stop and check to make sure someone doesn’t need some help? If you were stuck on the side of the road, wouldn’t you like to be asked if you need some help? Many hands make the fucking work light, people! Yes, I’m swearing, but dammit, this really pissed me off. Everyone so fucking busy so fucking involved in their own little world that they can’t stop to help a stranger. Everyone, just go fuck yourself, and see if I care.
This is where I was at:

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And this is what someone commuting along the street would have seen as they drove (at a stop and go crawl) along:

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So yes, I was hot. I was sweaty. And slowly, I was starting to hate the world. “SCREW YOU TOO!” I would say out loud as I cranked away at the jack to the cars who passed me by. And Not. One. Car. Stopped. I was very indignant. Don’t people stop anymore? I stop. Just the day before I had stopped when a car 2 spots in front of me puttered over to the side after holding up traffic in the middle of the intersection. “You need any help?” and he smiled and shook his head, “Nope, I’m OK. Go ahead.” He probably wasn’t. He had the phone up to his ear, and he was probably calling for help, but I bet he thought, “It was nice to be ASKED.”

Nobody even bothered to ask me. Too busy scurrying to work like the busy rats they were. I’m not bitter or anything. I DIDN’T WANT YOU TO STOP ANYWAY! I’M JUST FINE WITHOUT YOU. JUST SEE IF I CARE! I was angry, but I was ok, because I WAS handling it fine on my own. Don’t need your help, motherfuckers.
But then, there were the lug nuts. I got more embittered when it came to the lug nuts.

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They were on $%&*ing TIGHT. I managed to get 2 of the normal ones loose, but the one with the lock on it, I just COULD NOT get loose. The lock caused it to protrude so much that I couldn’t get a good amount of leverage to loosen it up. I tried and tried, and cursed my wimpy girl arms with their wimpy girl muscles. I cursed anew at all those male muscled men who drove by without even stopping to see if the woman flailing along at the lug wrench might need a helping muscled hand.

Finally, I kicked in the towel. Went and sat in the driver’s seat (which you should’nt do, if you’re in the middle of changing a flat tire. Ahem. Never get into the car until it’s lowered again), turned on the engine and sat in blissful cold air conditioned air while I called USAA to invoke my priviledges of their roadside assistance. They got someone on their speedy way.. it’d take an hour. So of course, first thing I did was to hop out and take pictures of everything. Then I called work. then I continued to curse everyone who was passing me by and not stopping. I SAW you looking over, and then when I looked at you, you quickly turned and looked straight ahead. Don’t make eye contact, because if you do, I might become an actual PERSON in your mind and you might actually feel GUILTY for IGNORING ME. Fuckers.

I don’t like giving up. I’m a very proud girl, and admitting that I Can’t Do something is Not Fun. But I had to. I had to admit defeat. The ironic thing was, I was CALLING FOR HELP when about 149 people had passed by me, and probably half of them were men with nature had given more testosterone to than I, and therefore had man muscles that could probably wrench off that damn nut. But no. I had to admit defeat and wait an hour. Fuck you too.

But then, there was light. My salvation came. A car drove up at the house I was parked across from, and as the man was heading to the front door, he saw me and came over to see if I needed any help.

And I wasn’t too proud to say, Yes! I do! I need these lug nuts loosed! I would be glad to make use of your man muscles and hand over the lug wrench! And he was very helpful and used his big man muscles to loosen them (to give my small girl muscles credit, he did strain quite a bit. I didn’t feel so wimpy then), and then together we put on the tire and lug nuts, and he lowered the jack while I phoned up USAA and told them never mind.

I thanked him profusely, and he humbly said your welcome and went into his house, and then I tossed all my various crap that’d I’d tossed out on the side of the road (flat tire, car seat, car seat under thingee, my shoes, my truck manual, jack, jack crank, lug lock, lug wrench) back in the truck and headed home for a shower and a morning of working from home.

That afternoon, I spent 2.5 hours at our auto shop waiting while my oil got changed and my tires (the front one also had a slow leak) got plugged.

Here is a picture of my feet in the waiting room of the car shop:

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Polish applied with the aid of Jocelyn and Ethan.

The moral of the story? Don’t assume people have it covered. Pull over and fucking ask if they need some help. Even if they don’t, I bet the gesture I bet the gesture will be appreciated.

And also? You’re on the highway. there’s a bit of a gap ahead of you. Someone puts on their blinker to change into your lane.. QUIT SPEEDING UP TO CLOSE THE GAP AND PREVENT LANE CHANGING. That’s just damn rude and I am SICK of it.

The world just needs to watch it, or I am going to have to put the smack down.

UPDATE: I have already had a few people tell me that I am supposed to loosen the lug nuts BEFORE jacking up the car, for stability, safety, and more ease of loosening the nuts. THANKS! and I will keep that in mind for next time.

Also, while I will definitely take precautions for my own safety when stopping to see if folks need help, (not stopping in isolated areas, staying in my car and offering to call for help, etc.) I will still stop to help people. I have to assume folks are good, rather than live my life assuming the worst. But, I will do so in a cautious, safe-as-can-be manner. Also — there was NOTHING unsafe about where I was, with the million of people driving by, no one would have been in ANY danger stopping to help ME.

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