Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tires And Gate Latches

This (see pic to right) is part of the reason I couldn't go to the Club Grudge Drag Races yesterday at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe. It was stuck in my f'n back tire! 

I had just dropped my wife off at work and then ran to my P.O. Box and didn't see my new auto insurance policy in the box. I was waiting for an updated policy the agent said was on it's way. I got home and called my agent, around 11 AM. "Don't drive today," he says. "Why?" I ask. He says their was a mistake transferring from a commercial policy to a family policy. Our van had been registered to our Arts School, but since the school closed we had to reorganize all our book keeping, including the van insurance. I had been planning on leaving for the Club Grudge Drag Races at 12 noon to do some filming for Rats & Gassers. So now I wait...and wait...and eventually they call (like around 2:30 PM). "We need you to drive to the office immediately and drop off a check to bind the new policy, we can't do it by phone." "Ack!" I say after I hang up. I drive all the way over to the University District, 15 minutes on the freeway, jump out of the van, drop the check, sign the new policy and jump back into the van and then...thumppa thumppa thummpa, I have a flat. Pull it into an empty parking spot. Wow- I made it all the way across the parking lot! Get out. Back passenger side tire is completely flat. Could this be sabotage? An angry apartment neighbor not wanting to listen to my bass guitar playing at 10 PM? Hmmmm.  Just then I remember that as I was dropping my wife off at her work that very morn, we had ran over something under the bridge construction on Highway 99. Ack!  Well now I gotta get this tire patched quick! I walk across the street to an AM PM Mini-Mart and get some FixAFlat. As I am walking back across the street a lady says, "Hey! Excuse me..." I look over at her. She is a fifty year old hipster gal, with shortish graying hair and modern attire, probably works or teaches at the University. "What's up?" I reply. "Do you know who Jim Jarmusche is?" she says slowly. "Oh yes," I reply, "he is one of my all time favorite directors." Really?" she continues, "I wanted to say you remind me of him,, kinda look like him."  "I will take that as a compliment, " I said as I jogged across the street.  She smiled yelling, "Oh yes pelase do," Back at the van, I quickly pumped the flattened tire full of the foamy FixAFlat goodness. It wasn't enough to make the tire even remotely round, so I broke out my portable air pump, plugged it into the cigarette lighter and finished pumping up the wounded back tire. Now it was spewing little tufts of FixAFlat foam around what looked like a large headed nail stuck between the treads. I jumped in the van and drove a few blocks to a Chevron that had "On Duty Mechanics" and pulled in. The mechanic was friendly, quickly pulled the tire and began twisting and pulling on the "nail." He twisted and pulled and pulled and twisted. "What the hell is stuck in your tire my friend," he murmured out loud, between grunts and groans. Finally it began coming out. It twisted around and up. He stopped and we both looked at each other. What the hell was in my tire! He grabbed his pliers and continued pulling. just kept coming. When it finally popped out, it was over five inches long! So guess what it was?!? An outdoor gate latch! This metal latch was stuck completely in my tire so only the round end was poking out. When I drove to the Insurance office via the freeway, it must have loosened up and then when I parked, all the air came out. Only $17 to pull this bad boy out of my tire and patch it up.  Still I didn't get home until after 4:30 and the Club Grudge had started at 1 PM. If I left for Monroe at 4:30 with all the evening commute traffic, I would get there until 5:30 or even 6. I decided to bag it, and went to pick up the wife from work to save her the hour long bus ride home. Sometimes things just don't work out how you want 'em too.

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