Flat Tire Tuesday

Tuesday started innocently enough. A lovely rumbly thunderstorm was hovering above the house, so I spent a little extra time in bed enjoying the growling thunder and drumming rain. Flat TireAfter managing to get myself in gear, I started laundry and cleaned the bathroom. Not thrilling stuff, but necessary and it felt good to tackle some home chores at my own pace. With an afternoon haircut appointment, I began planning other errands around that 2:00 time slot. The clouds even parted and the sun came out.

The plan: drop wedding dress and other assorted items at dry cleaner; pick up quick bite to eat (for lunch); get hairs cut; stop by The Fresh Market for baby bok choy (Publix was out); go to Target for new shower liner; run through Unnamed Big Box Store for spray paint (Halloween decoration project); hang out with Sally (elliptical); create brilliant and witty post; make dinner.

What actually happened: left house with wedding dress and other assorted items for dry cleaner. While en route, drove over piece of metal in road that quickly punctured and completely deflated tire. Luckily, it happened just a few blocks from Adam’s office, and (double lucky!) he was actually IN the office when I called. As he headed over to parking lot I’d pulled into, I began pulling apart back of car to locate jack, tire iron and spare tire. When I was 16 and had just gotten a drivers license, in preparation for a potential flat tire, my father refused to let me drive alone until after I’d shown him that I could remove a tire and put on a spare. Today wasn’t the day to employ my knowledge, though. Adam sent me to my haircut in his truck.

After a successful haircut (my stylist, Britney, and her boyfriend, Paul, will be a crow and a scarecrow – respectively – for Halloween. Unrelated to this story, but directly related to my previous post on costumes), it was back to Adam’s office to trade cars. Adam suggested I track down a new tire and have it put on the car. My dad may have shown me how to handle the immediate issue of a flat tire, but he did not teach me anything about purchasing new tires. The make and model of my car can use three different sizes of “standard” tires. Then, there are multiple options for “optional” tires, for which I think the word “optional” is a little questionable. I mean, they’re an automatic suggestion, and there isn’t just one “standard” option… so aren’t they all kind-of optional? I digress. (I usually do)

After nailing down the specific tire that I want, at a price I like, I call the closest location of TiresPlus to confirm that they have the tire in stock. The friendly gentleman who answers the phone advises that they have four in stock and would be happy to work on my car as soon as I arrive. Arrive within 7 minutes of said phone call. The gentleman at the desk (hereafter referred to as Guy) greets me by saying “Tampa Bay,” which isn’t so much a greeting as it is him reading the words printed across the chest of my t-shirt. I let him know that I have just called and spoken with someone, and need just one tire replaced. My words baffle Guy. He requests my phone number, to which I respond that I’ve never been in before and won’t be in the system. He asks if I’d spoken with Ralph. My memory is telling me it was Jim. The name Jim baffles Guy. He asks for my phone number again, to which I respond that I hadn’t given any info to the person I’d spoken with on the phone, just said I’d be right over.

Thinking perhaps visual cues might help, I provide a printout with the online quote and specs for the tire I want. Caucasin Man Scratching His Head In ConfusionGuy looks at his computer in a manner that one might call… bafflement. Guy tells me that they don’t have any of those tires and asks if perhaps I’m in the wrong place. Considering that perhaps I had made a mistake, I look at my cell phone and ask Guy for their phone number. He searches under the desk and begins reciting a number. The number does NOT match the number on my phone. Mentally blaming the internet (since I’d gotten the phone number from the TiresPlus website), I prepare to apologize. However, another gentleman steps over and says something so beautiful that I can’t quite remember the specific words… something to the effect of “you and I just spoke on the phone about the 235/65R16, right?” (I would dub this man “Saviour,” but as he doesn’t appear in the story again, it’s not necessary)

An hour and an episode of Criminal Minds later, Guy yells my first name from the counter. As I walk up, Guy is looking at my paperwork. He seems… baffled. As he turns the papers over and wanders away from the counter, another woman comes up to the counter. She advises another employee (we’ll call him Guy 2) that she almost left, but realized they had not returned her keys. CarKeysGuy 2 states that they would have given her the keys and asks another worker whether he’d left the keys in the car. He hadn’t. People begin looking for Nissan keys.  Guy returns, with my paperwork and keys. Guy 2 sees my paperwork and keys and says, to the other woman, “here they are, Nissan keys.” She advises them that she drives a Kia. And I point out that the keys now on the desk are, in fact, mine, and not for a Nissan. Guy and Guy 2 stare at the paperwork. Guy 2 picks up my paperwork and says, to the other woman, “You’re Smith, right?” She responds, “Yes, Jill Smith.” He then asserts, “With the Saturn,” to which I pipe up, “I’m the Saturn. I’m also Smith.”

Yes. Two Smiths at the same time. Apparently the coincidence was just too much for the Guys. Please note that our first names are not related, nor are our cars (neither of which was a Nissan, to be clear). Also, neither is the work we had done. Jill only got an oil change. However… she’d already been charged for my tire and its installation on my car.

*sigh*

At this point, I could continue on about how long it took Guy and Guy 2 to figure out how to deal with returning her money and taking mine, but really, you get the point. Three hours after the initial tire puncture, I was back on my way. Greeting me were dark clouds and buckets of rain. My new haircut and I ran from the car into the dry cleaner, The Fresh Market and Target. No Unnamed Big Box Store, no Sally and, instead of making dinner, Adam and I met somewhere in order to avoid eating at 9pm. Again.

I’d draft my schedule for tomorrow, and adjust to include the things I missed today, but maybe I’ll just see how things pan out on their own.

Key Photo Credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc

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