Monday, November 8, 2004

Thank you, Fate

Around 4:00 today, I realized I had a couple more hours of reading to do at work.  I went to the vending machines to buy a Coke, figuring I'd need it to get through the work.

By the time I returned to my desk with my 75-cent Coke, I decided I was a total idiot.  I could just take that work HOME at read it from my sofa.  Where I could have all the Coke I want, a cute kitten nearby, and a raging fire in the fireplace.  Not to mention avoiding all the traffic -- which looked to be bad as it was threatening rain.

So, I put the Coke in the conference room fridge, packed up, and drove home.

On the freeway, five miles or so from home, my car starts vibrating.  Bouncing a bit at every revolution of the tires, as if I have a flat.  It starts softly, but at freeway speeds, it gets pretty intense.

Intense enough that I think I ought to stop off at a service station once I get off the freeway.

I keep going, and, as the vibrating continues, I start to wonder whether cruising along at 60 miles an hour isn't such a hot idea under these conditions.  The car doesn't seem to really ENJOY these speeds, and I'm thinking I ought to, y'know, humor it.

I pull over into the slow lane and tool along just around 50.  I'm about 3 miles from home.  I wonder if I ought to punch my hazard lights, drop to about 30, and inch my way off the nearest offramp.

I'm just about to go for the hazard lights when I hear a POP from my tire.  I grab the wheel really tight waiting for the inevitable spin-out from a blown tire, but my car keeps going straight.  Just with lots more vibrating.  And a very soft ringing metal sound, as if my hubcap or wheel is actually INVOLVED in the driving process now.

I get the heck off the freeway, pull over at the nearest curb, and inspect my tires.

Look, I'll be the first to admit I don't know all that much about cars.  But I *do* know the difference between a flat tire and a non-flat tire, and, well, this tire wasn't flat. 

I even poked at it a little.  Looked normal.

I get back in the car and get back on the freeway.  I continue the two miles to my exit with no further incident, and pull into the gas station.

Gas station guy asks if he can help.  Why yes, he can.  My car feels like I'm driving on a flat, but the tire isn't flat.  He takes it for a test cruise around the block.  We're barely out of the driveway when he says, "You've got a separated tire."  This, I'm told, is what happens when the rubber on your tire just splits.  I need a new tire.

Gas station guy sends me to Discount Tire Center just down the street.  Tire Center Guy charges me about $72 for a new tire installed while I wait.  He says there's just enough time for him to replace the tire before they close at 6:00. 

I sit in his waiting room, doing my reading for work.  And I think about what a phenomenally GOOD thing it was that I left work early today.  Imagine how much more fun this would have been if my tire had separated after dark, while driving in the rain, and I hadn't diagnosed it until long after the Tire Center had closed.  The mind boggles. 


st0rmwhispers said...

I believe in angels...I'm glad yours was there when you needed

annalisa135 said...

I've never heard of a separated tire before.  You just taught me something new.  $72 for a discounted tire place is horrific!  At my discounted tire place, I pay $25.  Yeah, now that is discounted.  I'm so very glad you are safe and sound and since I already read your next entry I'm even more thankful for your wellbeing.  Much love to you, chick.  (((((s)))))