A Tire Retired

Monday March 12th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Fox Lake, IL

Well geez, I haven’t had an unexpected crisis come out of nowhere to kick me square in the ass in what – almost two weeks now? What gives? Have I finally paid my cosmic debt to the universe? Oops, I guess not. Today reminded me I’ve still got some balance due.

Everything started out OK. Days like this usually do. The weather was outstanding, and that usually puts me in a good mood right there. I drove to Rockford with Jim McHugh to fill in on WNTA radio from 3-5pm and that went splendidly well. We had a positive vibe and it was a lot of fun as it usually is. We drove back, and I dropped Jim off at his house.

I was intending to drive to the Gurnee Mills Mall to get my exercise walk in, but I had a little glitch happen when I popped a tire on I-294 going about 75 miles an hour. That sure put a damper on everything, and of course it happened when I was right smack dab in the middle lane coming around a curve with nowhere to escape. I thought I was going to die.

The only thing I could do was get out of the way of traffic, but the car was wobbling so much it was difficult to control – even though it was a rear tire that blew. It was shredded to the rim, and I barely missed getting hit by a semi by what seemed like less than a foot.

I wasn’t able to drive on the shredded tire, and was stuck in a very vulnerable spot right in a blind spot on a curve. There was barely a shoulder to park on, and it was scary as hell to squeeze out of the driver’s side door so I could change the tire and get to a safer place.

It’s amazing how quickly things can happen and how fast a person‘s mood can change. I went from sunny and happy to nervous and scared in under thirty seconds. I hadn’t had a blowout in years, and it totally took me by surprise – especially since I’d just put so many miles on these same tires through bad weather and mountain roads in the last little while.

I guess it could have been worse. I could have had the tire pop on one of the mountain roads I was on and slide off the side. Not all of those roads had guard rails, and I sure did notice that as I was driving on them during a rain storm. It looked dangerous, but this was no picnic either. I was stuck in a horrible place to break down, but that’s Mr. Lucky’s life.

Then to make it worse, (it ALWAYS gets worse) my AAA card just expired on March 1st. I’ve had a ton of bills come due lately, and that one just didn’t get paid yet. I laughed out loud when I realized it, and it felt like a bad scene in a movie and I was the lead actor.

Changing a tire is fertile ground for a comedy bit. There’s always that last lug nut that’s impossible to pry loose. The jack is wobbly, semis are passing within an inch of my head, and it’s getting darker. And of course I have to take a hellacious dump too. Funny stuff.

It’s a lot funnier when I don’t have to deal with it unexpectedly. I changed the tire, but it kept getting worse as I couldn’t find a place to buy a new one. I got to a Sears ten minutes after they closed, then a Walmart where their auto department was closed too. Lucky me.


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