Thursday, June 12, 2008

Strange Car Tire Day

Tuesday was a very strange day. I dropped one of our cars off at the shop for new tires. Originally they thought it would take 20 minutes, so I planned on waiting for it, but by the time I got there at 2PM they estimated a 2 hour wait, so I walked home. It's about 2 miles, which isn't too bad.

On my way home I reached the major street intersection between the car shop and my house, and noticed thousands of nails in the road, this weird kind with a blue plastic ring on each one, causing most of them to stand with the point facing straight up! It was a nightmare of tire-popping evilness covering perhaps a 30 square foot diameter from the empty cardboard box that must have fallen out of the back of some contractor's pickup truck. This mess covered about a lane and a half of this 3-lane-each-way road.

As the only pedestrian in sight, I felt a special duty to help pick these things up. I would NEVER want to drive my car over such as mess; how could your tires not pick up at least 3 or 4 of those? How long had this been here, with people driving over it? (It looked fairly recent to me).

There was no way I could pick all these up in my hands and throw them to the side of the road; it would take an hour or more. Looking around quickly I spotted one of those home-made signs on a wooden stake, "make money fast, with realestate!" or something. These signs are everywhere, and technically they're illegal, but nobody ever does anything about it.

I grabbed the sign and yanked it out of the ground - looks like a good shovel to me!

So I started shovelling mounds of these nails as fast as I could, in between sets of traffic trying to drive by; waving oncoming traffic in my lane over to the next lane, so they wouldn't run over them any longer.

It took about 3 light-changes to get the vast majority of the nails scooped onto the side of the road. Of course, some of the nails (pointing down) had been driven into the asphalt, and wouldn't shovel very well. I kept scooping at them with my makeshift shovel, but a few just wouldn't budge.

I kept hoping a police car would stop and help out, they're usually good for things like this, but none ever came by. From the 110 degree heat, I was feeling weak and a little sun-stroked (this happens quickly in Phoenix AZ), so I figured what I had done was good enough; there couldn't be more than 5 or 6 of these damn little things in the street anymore. I stumbled through the intersection over to the nearby Bashas to get a bottle of water and an iced coffee.

After that I walked home.

Now it's 4PM. I call the car shop, but since one of their employees just quit earlier that day, they're a little back-logged, our car had just gone up on the rack for the tire change. "Should be done in 20 minutes," the guy assured me, which I knew meant 45 minutes. You know how that works.

But I had a problem - I needed to be somewhere at 4:30, and it will take 10 mins to get there, and my wife and I only had 1 car left at home. She agreed to be dropped off at the shop and wait for our other car to be finished. So I dropped her off, and went to my appointment. Everything worked out - or so it seemed.

The next morning I go out to the garage for something, and notice one of the front tires of our brand-new-tire-car seemed a bit low. "That's odd, maybe they didn't seat the tire properly," I thought. I had instructed them to put the 2 new tires on the front of the car.

Then I looked at the top of the low tire, and what did I see --

There was a nail plunged cleanly straight into the tire; the blue plastic ring was flush with the outside tread.

Yes, my wife had driven back the same way I had walked, through the "evil nails intersection", and somehow picked up one of those nails, even though I had scooped every one I could out of the way, two and a half hours earlier!

What are the odds of that?

The only good news is, they guys at the shop screwed up and put the new tires on the back of the car, not the front. The nail had punctured one of our old tires. That was a relief to hear, that we didn't puncture a brand new tire 2 hours after purchasing it; the bad news of course, it cost a little money to get the puncture fixed on a non-warranty tire.

So, I guess you could say I picked up 1000 nails out of the road, that day; but my wife - she picked up the last one.