A Flat Tire: Adventures in Driving and Positive Thinking

You guys, “rough” doesn’t even begin to describe this week.  Generally, I try to keep a positive outlook on things–being negative just takes too much energy–but I came close to losing it.  And it’s only Wednesday. (Yikes.)

Monday started off well enough.  I left the house early enough that I beat the lion’s share of the traffic.  I was going to be early for work! That almost never happens! Except two miles from the office, I hear a loud BANG. My “low tire pressure” sensor immediately lights up, and my pants became slightly damp.

Nothing else seemed off, so perhaps I just hit a pothole that wasn’t there last week (this particular road is notorious for developing potholes).  But during that last two mile stretch, my steering wheel began to shake. Things do not look good for our heroine.

I limp my poor little car into the parking lot at work.  And there it is–my front passenger tire.

Flat as a pancake.

J.D. gets the first phone call of the morning.  Poor, sweet, long-suffering J.D., who puts up with all my nonsense and still loves me better than I deserve.  He is my knight in shining armor, even if I always thought he’d be taller. He makes time in his busy day to come help me put the spare on the car so we can take it to the garage.

My hero has a cowlick on the back of his head.

…Except that whoever replaced my tires in January (yes–this is a BRAND NEW TIRE, folks) used non-standard sized lug nuts.  So none of the tire wrenches we had fit. Call in the tow.

Knight in Shining Armor #2.  Tow truck guy tries his tools, which also don’t fit the weird lug nuts.  So poor little car gets a tow to the garage.

My knights in shining armor today all seem to be dressed more casually than King Arthur would require. Perhaps this is the latest fashion trend in Camelot.

Where they tell us that the part of their business that does tires is actually across the street.  (I was ready to beat my head against the wall at this point.)

One of their mechanics, Knight in Shining Armor #3, volunteers to do tires.  (Oh, by the way, one of my rear tires is looking suspiciously bulgy, and it would be a good idea to have that one replaced, too, so it doesn’t blow out next.)

Okay.  So we go to grab lunch while my poor little car gets two new tires and ALL new lug nuts (to make sure that the next time I need the spare, we can actually get it on).  And we get a call–the specific tires I need are not in stock, and need to be ordered from across town. So they’re going to keep my poor little car overnight.

Thankfully, they offer rentals as a service when this kind of thing happens.  Twenty minutes of waiting, and I’m in an alien car, going back to work. At 4:00 in the afternoon.  My time card for today is hilarious–it looks like I took a four hour lunch.

Thankfully, I had a reliable vehicle just in time for J.D. to leave town for a work trip.  (He’s not far, but he’s far enough to have a hotel room at his meeting place.) If this had happened on Tuesday morning, I would have been up a creek without a paddle.  

Why am I telling this story?  Well, for one, it helps me to get it all down in writing, so I can visualize just how ridiculous the whole thing is.  For another, we live in a digital world–and often that digital world lies. We craft our Facebook pages and Instagram stories so that everyone thinks that we live perfect lives always bathed in sunshine and smiles.  You guys, SH*T HAPPENS. I am not a perfect person, and I’m willing to bet that you aren’t, either. And that’s okay. It’s all in how we respond to it. I am not the first person to blow out a tire and have a bad day.  I won’t be the last.

You, dear friend, are not the first person to fail a test, have a sick baby throw up on your nice blouse, get a scary letter from the IRS, or trip over the cat and break your foot.  And you won’t be the last. We all have those days–and that’s okay. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, cry if you have to (and then wash your face afterward). And keep going. Tomorrow is a whole new day, fresh with no mistakes in it yet.  It may sound like a tall order to keep a positive attitude (especially if you have a domino effect and things seem to fall apart all at once). But the alternative of wallowing in the mess just doesn’t accomplish anything.

Without getting overly preachy, it is a true blessing that we can wake up in the morning and start over afresh. Yesterday’s rough patch does not have to cloud today.

P.S. When I finally got home on Monday night, after staying late at the office to try to make up for my extended absence, I stumbled in the door, greeted Luna and Bindi–and the strap on my purse snapped.

So…are you going to feed me, or what?

Man, I was so glad to finally be home.