The Flat Tire Adventure (4 cents)

We had a beautiful day yesterday, driving to Middleburg for lunch and a stroll and going on to Sky Meadows State Park to hike up the Piedmont Trail.  Coming back on Interstate 66, at about 4 p.m., we thought it would be appropriate to make a coffee/tea stop.  We got off the highway in Manassas and then I got the idea to go to McKay’s bookstore, where I had not been for several years.  We drove to the shopping center where McKay’s should have been, and saw a vacant store (I later learned that McKay’s moved to larger quarters, and did not go out of business) instead.  Heading back to to the street, I must have turned too abruptly and rather than driving up a parking lot lane, I went over a curb, and then back down to the parking lot lane.

No problem, you’d think.  But the curb was rather steep, and as the car went back down to the road, I heard first a squeal, and then a whoosh.  I stopped the car, opened the door, got out and saw that the front driver’s tire was flat, flat, flat.

OK, I can deal with this, I thought, but then, the adventure started, as I saw the car start to drive away and realized that I had not gone into ‘park’ before getting out.  My wife was belted in and couldn’t reach across to step on the break, so I realized that I had to do it.

Jogging along side the car, I was trying to figure out the logistics of jumping while the car continued to move forward.  Do I hold the door, the steering wheel, the seat, some combination?  Do I jump off my right foot, or my left.  What happens if the car is moving faster than I think it should be?

These questions might have come to my mind (they should have), but frankly I don’t know if they did nor not.  All I remember is that I ran alongside the car, put my hands somewhere, jumped off the ground, was sitting in the driver’s seat, and put on the break.

Interestingly, all of this seemed rather routine.  At no point was I particularly worried, and I don’t think that my pulse increased at all.  No sweat, as they say.

Well, it could have been worse of course.  The car could have run into another car, or worse, into a pedestrian.  But the path was clear.

Luckily, there was a Shell station right next to the parking lot, and there was an extraordinarily nice young man working there, who brought his jack out to the parking lot, took the tire off and put on the spare, took the tire back to the station to test it to see if it could be repaired (which it couldn’t).  The station did not have the appropriate sized tire, so we drove back with the spare, which (although it can apparently drive for 3000 miles) I will soon replace.

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