When I first got my car I was required to change my license plates; this was a two day long event that involved multiple trips to the auto-part store and my female landlord asking if I needed help. This wasn’t because I am mechanically disabled, I am but I can put a computer together so I understand the basics of how screwdrivers work, but more because the screws holding the plates on hadn’t been moved in the vehicles 15 year life. It was so bad that I am pretty sure that one of the screws that came out stripped, but also managed to both leave part of itself inside the hole and pull all of the threading out with it—basically meaning that the only thing that would fit back inside was insanity. While it seems impossible it basically involved a hammer to get anything back in to hold my plates up, which is one of the reasons I am sure the neighbors don’t speak to me.
This story is pertinent because that was a non-moving part on my car needing to be replaced. When my tire went I am pretty sure that there was a moment that both Veronica and I came to a silent realization that we might have to weld the rim off to get the spare put on. Also, I should probably point out that I live in fear of getting a flat tire—I think mainly because it is one of the few times that I am expected to use my limited knowledge of how a car works to make it continue doing so.
The problem comes, I believe, from the sick sense of humor that every auto designer has. It has been a long running theory of mine that at some point someone slipped the documents for a replacement tire to a go-kart in where a grown up car’s design should be just to see if anyone noticed. For some reason this joke must have grown in popularity because it has yet to be rectified. The jack I have looks like something that my brother’s children would use to fix their bikes, more for cuteness than anything, and the tire iron small enough that when I made a fist to throw the useless lump of metal across the street it was almost entirely enveloped.
So I spent a lot of time on the side of the road rather angry, mainly at myself for getting a flat, but also because the people in the area that we broke down in were so nice that they kept stopping to ask if we needed help. Sure, the first person we took up on the offer so my wife could go get someone with non-playschool made tools to fix the problem, but the more importantly the first through eighth person just continued to make me feel like a terrible human. Not because I hadn’t stopped for someone in the past, but mainly because I always felt like the question deserved a full story as an answer and not the, “nope, all good!” which clearly wasn’t true.
Probably best for fans of the site, the person that ended up arriving to the rescue was my mother-in-law. I would love to go through another entire thing about how terrible I am at cars; the truth is that the above statement about the parts that shipped with the car being crap was spot on—meaning that rusted bolts need a little more leverage to turn than the manufacture default. She went to work on the tire the same way that a dwarf goes to work and leaves a vulnerable princess kicking around to apple products from strangers. I did ask if she wanted me to do finish it, but she just shrugged and told me that she had it. I am not really going to argue with her as her idea of a good time is breaking down in the middle of Alaska and having to figure out how to fix the car with parts she found on the bear she just killed.
I also want to point out that my brother-in-law happily drove past without so much as slowing down. When I asked him about it he basically said, “Yeah, I saw you.” Thanks Chris.