Friday, June 11, 2004

Ugh. It's NEVER a good sign when you get a phone call from the receptionist, who asks, "Do you have a red car?" That's what happened to me at about 1 PM today.

"What's wrong?" I asked. That's when I was told that my car had a flat tire. People who were returning from their lunch break noticed the problem, and it didn't take too long for them to track down whose car it was. I went out to look, and sure enough, the right rear tire was just about as empty as it could get. Oh, great... just freakin' great! GRRRRRR

I had a spare tire in my trunk, so I figured, "Fine, I'll call AAA to come and change the tire".

But nothing is ever that easy and straightforward, is it?

AAA arrived about 90 minutes later. Naturally, it was raining when I got out there to retrieve said spare tire from my trunk for the AAA guy.

Unfortunately, my spare tire really is a spare TIRE. There's no rim; it's just the tire. He couldn't change it for me. Instead, he filled it with air so I'd be able to drive to a nearby gas station and have THEM fix the tire.

I went back to work so I could retrieve my handbag and explain that I needed a little while to get my car to the gas station. The AAA guy had told me to get the car there ASAP because we weren't sure how quickly the air would leak back out of the tire.

They told me that it was OK, and if it took too long for them to finish fixing the tire, to just go home and not worry about coming back to work.

So I wrapped up the submission that I was partway through entering when AAA arrived, got my things, headed for the car, and drove the couple of blocks to the nearest gas station. I took my time and had my hazard lights flashing the whole way, since I wasn't sure how the tire (which was already beginning to go flat again) would respond to being driven that distance. There are two gas stations across the street from each other at that intersection, but I pulled into the one that was closer to my workplace. The less driving I had to do on that tire, the better.

Did I mention that nothing is ever easy and straightforward? The gas station that I had pulled into was so backed up with work that they didn't think they could work on my car until tomorrow.

"Tomorrow?! But I live in Philadelphia! I won't be able to get home", I said. They suggested that I try the gas station across the street because they might be able to change my tire sooner.

Of course that meant trying to limp my car across a highway full of traffic. (What the heck were all those people doing driving at that hour of the afternoon, anyway?) But I agreed to try the other station, thanked the guy, and got back into the car. Windshield wipers on, headlights on, hazard lights on, get car to exit, wait two years for traffic to lighten up enough to navigate my car with its re-flattening tire across the street, and away we (slowly) go.

The third time was the charm, THANK GOD. I finally was able to get the tire changed. And, since it was less than an hour before the time I'd normally have left work, I figured "Oh, to heck with it" and went home.

Now I need to get a spare tire, though, because the punctured one was too damaged to salvage. Apparently, I drove over a piece of metal, which was imbedded in the tire. Gosh only knows when that happened.

Oh, well. So for my $12 misadventure, I got an extra hour added to my weekend. Harmony was thrilled. When I was between assignments, she used to love parking next to me on the sofa in the afternoons and getting doted on. Today she got lots of tummy skritches, so she's one happy feline right about now. :o)

Oh, and I nearly forgot. I had one more "nothing goes right on the first try" moment before I got home. I goofed up and went into a cash tollbooth instead of the EZ-Pass lane. There went $3 more out of my wallet that I wasn't expecting to spend. At least it's one LESS toll that was charged to my EZ-Pass account, so it all balances out in the end, I suppose.

Considering the way the rest of this day went, I think I'll retire for the night NOW. ;o)

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