Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just Exploding with Stuff

While yesterday found me in the horrors of the car shop, today I've got new tires. Yes, it's true. After suffering through several hours of what can best be described as "tire change foof" I'm now the proud new owner of four new tires and a properly aligned car to go with them.

It was quite an ordeal to get the new tires put on, let me tell you. I landed in the shop early morning, hoping to get a head start on the day and maybe not waste all of it there. They were very nice in the tire place, I mean, at least as nice as tire place people can be. The guy helped me pick out new tires and told me he hoped it wouldn't take very long. They had some kind of sale going on so I'm to get a mail-in rebate of sorts (we shall see if that actually manifests itself or not. I'm guessing probably not here but, eh, that's ok.)

The waiting room at the tire place is not nearly as nice as the one at my car dealer. (My car dealer, it would appear, has been spoiling me all this time.) They did have some coffee that looked to be a few days old (read: sludge) and they had a flat screen TV of sorts, but it was about 30 degrees in Austin and the place was not too well insulated (think cold here.) I never took my coat off. Every time somebody came in or out (and they seem to do that a lot at tire places) I would get this cold breeze. Brrrr. Not to mention they have those loud guns that kind of go "Zzzztttt" as they screw on the tires. So, there I sat, for a few hours, stuck fiddling with the iPhone and watching odd morning style TV. (That was an experience, let me tell you.)

For starters, they had this show on called something like "Good Day Austin!" (or some such thing.) The nice lady came on and started talking about something called ice wine and Thanksgiving pies from Round Top Pies. Now, I've been to Round Top before (it's actually not too far from my house) and I know what the pies are like (they are yummie. Actually more like yummie yummie yummie kind of yummie) so it's a good thing I had predisposed knowledge of said pies. All I heard from the TV was an endless stream of, "Yes, and this year they even have a pie made of...." ZZZZZttttt (goes the tire gun) "....and a special pie just for Thanksgiving called the...." Zzzzzzttttt. Oh joy! That was a fun experience, let me tell you. It did leave me rather curious about this "ice wine" business-that's something I'll have to check out at a later date (note to self: drink some ice wine and figure out what the heck it really is. Zzzzttt be damned.)

After this "Good Morning Austin" (or whatever) the next show that came on was "The Price is Right." I hardly know what to say about this. It's like a joke that's its own punchline, that, really it is. For starters, I didn't even know this show was still on. It's a new, modern version of the old favorite, I'd guess. It was really quite difficult to watch with the tire gun going off again and again and the breeze blowing in and odd times. You might just have to use your imagination here but it went something along the lines of this:

"Ok, Wendy, now for $200 tell us what you think the price of this mustard is..." Door slams open. "Woosh" of cold air is almost as loud as small/cheap flat screen TV set.

As Wendy gets cheered on by the crowd, "I'm going with $2.39!"

"Ohhhh! Let's see if the price really is $2.39....shall we reveal the price of the mustard.....drum roll please....the actual price of the mustard is....." Zzzzztttttttt. [Back door opens while Carol freezes.] Ah, that was a fun experience indeed. You might think that, after all of this, I'd be about as angry as a wet hen. Normally, too, why you'd be right about that, but not this time. No, you see, this time I actually got new tires for my car. Four of them. Yes, it's true, I got four new tires.

You see, I had forgotten how good it feels to have new tires. When I got back into the car, I felt like I was sitting on a phone book. And the car? Why the car actually stopped when I wanted it to stop and drove when I wanted it to drove. It was no more hoping it would stop. No more, "please, oh please, let me get to the next corner without taking a mailbox along with me." Nope, it was none of that. I feel like I got an entirely new car. It was amazing.

My car, you see, had gotten so bad, it was hardly stopping at all. I guess it's one of those things-kind of like boiling a frog-it got worse and worse and worse, little by little and I hardly noticed it. It was a slow decay that eventually reached a breaking point, only I didn't see it because I was right in the middle of it fussing with the radio too much. My car wouldn't stop very well. It had gotten so bad that I was almost afraid to take in passengers. I would tell them silly things like, "Oh, I think the brakes are going or something. This is an old clunker. When it comes time to stop...help me out here...I'm going to need you to sort of...well....think stationary thoughts. Imagine if you will a brick. Don't just imagine it. Become one with the brick. Picture the brick. Picture it not moving through time and space. Yeah, let's hope the car does that at the next stoplight, mkay?" This was not pretty.

Then, one day it rained. Oh that was a joy, let me tell you. I tried to go slow, but it wasn't slow enough. Approaching a turn coming off one of the highways near my house I wound up doing a Tanner Foust and almost ended up right on the sidewalk. Seriously. I drove sideways and drifted through a turn, and it wasn't even raining that hard. I clung to the death wheel thinking I had just lost my mind or something (never suspecting I needed new tires.)

But now? All of this is over. No more bricks. No more Tanner Foust. My car rides like new. It's like I'm sitting on a phone book in there. It's so comfy. It stops! It goes! When the red light is red it actually stops at something approximating a normal distance. I can hardly believe this. It feels so good. It's like I'm happy again. I feel like I have a new buggy. Zoom Zoom!

There's a passage in Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine written about a boy getting new sneakers for the summer. Bradbury writes about how high the boy can jump, how fast he can run. I'm always reminded of that when I get new tires (or new shoes.) It feels....well...just good. So now I'm happy again. All new tired up. My week has, in fact, turned around. I somehow managed to pull the boiling frog out of the water and I can now enjoy life (well, at least driving) once again. Ah! They tell me the cold weather is even going to taper off this week. I still don't know the actual price of the mustard but, hey, I take my good stuff when I can get it. There is happiness once again in the kingdom that is little Carol's world. Rejoice!

Until next time...

PS This shot is one of my "exploding buildings" from Santorini. Fun stuff that...playing with the zoom. All that and everything's blue!

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