Does it ever seem like everything goes wrong at once?
I went on a road trip out of state not too long ago and was foolish enough not to check my tires ahead of time. Unfortunately, my front tires were almost bald in places.
Fortunately for me, they waited to go flat until I was back home in my normal everyday life.
These poor tires held on all the way out of state, on a there and back again adventure to parts unknown. The tires waited until I was doing more normal things to give up on me. My front passenger side tire went flat near Belen, on a drive home from Albuquerque.
Again, this flat tire turns out to be surprisingly serendipitous.
For one, I wasn’t alone in the car. As a person who drives up and down I-25 fairly frequently, getting stranded on the interstate late at night by myself is my nightmare. Also, perhaps an eventuality.
This is why there’s a flashlight with some heft and a first-aid kit in my car at all times.
I was planning to drive to Albuquerque again, at 4 or 5 a.m. the next morning, to cover a feature story. Sarracino Middle School students were headed to the Balloon Fiesta, and I was supposed to take photos and get the story. My car troubles prevented me from covering that story.
But fortunately for me, on this nighttime drive I wasn’t stranded by myself. I definitely would have been, had the tire held out until the following day.
I had someone (more car-savvy than me, although frankly that’s not hard) with me when the tire went flat. They helped me figure out what to do.
It was a phone-a-friend situation (thankyouthankyouthankyou, for the help).
An hour later, the friend arrived with an air compressor. The plan was to air up the flat tire, because, in another act of foolishness, I had no spare tire in my car.
The car troubles folded out like the plot of a movie, with some exciting ups and downs. The tire was too far gone to be aired up, so we called a tow company. Actually, four of them.
Two didn’t answer, and two weren’t available until the next day. OK.
I was sent to find the jack in the trunk of the car. The plan was, jack up the car and see if the flat tire could be aired up enough to make it to a gas station.
I reached into the compartment below the trunk, expecting to feel the jack. Lo and behold, there was the spare tire I didn’t think existed.
As the spare tire was being put on the car (again thankyouthankyouthankyou for the substantial late-night car help), a man crossed all the way over I-25 on foot, making several of the people in our party nervous that he perhaps was up to no good. It was, at this point approaching 10 p.m.
It became clear that the man was walking slowly but surely directly toward us.
When he arrived, he meant us absolutely no harm. Instead, he offered us a palmful of quarters. He’d seen the hazard lights flashing from across the highway. He crossed the highway in the dark to make sure we had money for gas and wouldn’t remain stranded.
The universe is a funny place full of mysteries. For one, where did the spare tire in my trunk come from? I thought it’d been removed quite a while ago…
I made it home on the spare with no additional hiccups. The other tire, despite being similarly worn, held on for the entire journey home.
But my car troubles had not ended.
Just under a week later, with new tires and new shocks (the culprit of my unevenly bald front tires was some very worn shocks), my car refused to start.
The battery was dead. Again, I lucked out, in that people are kind and often willing to help. I got a jump, several rides and quick, helpful service at Leseberg’s Auto.
Once again, the universe was looking out for me. The battery was still under warranty, so the replacement battery cost no money, which was a relief after spending on new tires less than a week before. Although all the car problems cropped up at once, they also showed up in the most convenient ways possible with less expense than expected. My car has outstanding timing.