Monday, October 02, 2006


Car Trouble and the Kindness of Strangers

It was an ordinary morning. I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for work. Then I hopped into my little Festy and proceeded to enact the morning ritual of crossing three lanes to get into my lane. In the middle of this tricky manoeuvre a guy beeped at me (nothing unusual there) then he rolled down his window and pointed at my front wheel and said ‘I think you have a flat tyre’. This is when the sinking feeling in my stomach started. I moved the car to the side of the road and jumped out. Sure enough the tyre was as flat as a pancake. My first reaction was to open the boot and search for the spare tyre unfortunately I drew a blank there. My second instinctive reaction was to ring my Dad (the source of all knowledge about practical and useful things) to enquire about the absent spare tyre. He informed me that it was probably under the car and could be released by loosening a bolt in the boot of the car. So I duly looked under the car and saw the spare tyre. I also located the bolt in the boot which I needed to loosen in order to release the spare tyre but alas how was I going to do this?

I imagine that it was the utterly puzzled look on my face and the wandering hopelessly around that car that tipped off a passing truck driver that I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. He parked his truck ahead of my car and came over to ask me if I needed a hand. I agreed immediately that I did indeed need help and I explained about the spare tyre under the car but I didn’t know how I was going to release it. He took one look in the boot and pulled out a jack and wrench which were secured behind some felt carpet in the side panel of the boot. To be honest I didn’t know they were there (even though I’ve had the car almost two years) but I sort of hope that I would have found them eventually myself if he hadn’t turned up. :-) To cut a long story short he changed the flat tyre in no time, including pumping up my slightly flat spare tyre from his own truck (how jammy was that!), and was on his way in a flash barely allowing me to shake his hand and say thank you.

Being on the receiving end of kindness did not stop there. When I took the car to a local garage to fix the flat tyre they refused to charge me because it was a minor problem. So a day that started out looking like it was going to be a pure disaster ended with me driving home in a car with four lovely plump tyres and a better opinion of mankind. The only thing I need to do now is find a car maintenance course so that I can tackle a flat tyre with ease and confidence the next time I’m that situation.

With all this positivity, we can only expect a happy happy quote of the week this week can we?

But this sorry tale begs two questions, first how many women can change a tyre and secondly, how many women are willing to change a tyre? Is there a slight discrepancy or am I just a cynic?
That's a well written funny post! Well, I laughed anyway.

Donal, who wants to change a dirty tyre when we're all clean and ready to go to work? Poor Betty would have ended up a complete filthy mess and would have arrived in work with a wicked bad temper cursing and muttering under her breath. Do we really want to inflict that on the rest of mankind?

Well done to the truck driver! :-)
My faith inhumanity is restored...cheered me up no end this morning! Personally, prob could change a tyre if pushed but it's really fecking hard to get the screwy bits off the tyres in my car - must work on those muscles!
Rat Girl, your inhumanity aside, you're approaching the problem all wrong, you need to apply a little more lateral thought to the process. The "screwy bits" don't require muscles but leverage. The simplest thing to do is to put the wheel brace on each nut in turn and stand on the wheel brace and then jump a little. The weight of your body opens the nuts even if they're very tight... that's advice for life you know, who knows when you may need to handle some tight nuts! :-)
... but make sure you dont actually jump on it, it could fall off and you'll end up splitting your head open.

Truck drivers get a lot of stick but in general they are the best drivers on the roads, they have to be. Of course there are the mastrubating truck drivers too but I reckon most of those are pretty sound too.

Isn't changing a tire part of the driving test now? I thought I heard something about how you need to know the basics about how your car functions and stuff, or am I just dreaming of a half decent Ireland again?
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