Tire Pressure Monitor Malfunction

I drive one of those newer model cars with a supercomputer for a brain. It’s smarter than me in a lot of ways, and although it probably doesn’t know nearly as much about the Beatles as I do, it definitely knows more about cars. The other day it told me, annoyingly and with the worst of timing, that my tires were not inflated correctly. It has little L.E.D. lights built in to the dash specifically to tell me these kinds of things, which is something some Japanese engineer probably thought was a good idea. Fearing I had run over a nail or bottomed out in a New Orleans Road-Crater (TM), I ventured down Magazine Street to see about getting someone to make the blinking light go away.

It was my day off. I had no prior intention to do anything but catch a buzz and go to the market for some groceries, and then came the fucking blinky light. It mocked me. It insulted my one-day vacation and my assumptions of what I might do with that day. It loudly insisted that I pull in to the nearest garage so it could be acknowledged.

The garage into which I pulled was dedicated entirely to tire replacement/repair and alignment work. I thought I had gotten lucky living so near to just such a place; that were it not for my luck I might have had to drive my car on flat tires and risk warping my wheels.

I pulled my car as close to the garage as I could, carefully navigating the mass of parked-car detritus that was the shop’s unfinished back-log. Ominous orchestral music ensued.

“Think I’ve got a nail in my tire – think you can soap it up and check it?” I said, hopefully.

“Sure gimme the keys.” said the attendant, drunkenly. Obviously, obscenely, drunkenly.

Oh dear.

It was (seriously) 98 degrees in our “fair” city that day in August, and I was not of the mindset to take my wife, my car, and myself someplace else to have this particular service rendered.

Besides, it’d be bad for the car, right?

My wife and I were ushered into the “office”, which was a 10′ x 10′ minimally air-conditioned shoe-box in back of the maintenance bays. We sat for a moment fiddling with our phones and making small-talk before noticing a fracas outside. People were yelling.

Not “Woo-Hoo” yelling. More like “I fucking hate you and I will kill you” yelling.

We decided to stay put in the “office”, considering we had no keys to our only means of escape from the situation and that it was really damned hot out there. But it kept getting worse.

After 45 minutes, we began to worry. More yelling. No word from the mechanic. Yet more yelling.

Finally, as I am ostensibly the one with balls in my marriage, I decided to venture out and figure what the hold-up might have been preventing the pulling out of a nail from my tire. (Actually, it was my wife who decided I would do this; forget what I said about the balls.)

I emerged from the office only to find the drunk person to whom I’d given my keys drunkenly screaming at an old man whom I can only assume was his father; screaming about how he’d already checked the fucking tires, dammit, and didn’t find a leak or appreciate being talked to that way. And then he began to approach me to explain all of this to me, his valued customer.

He tripped. He cursed. He re-started his approach.

I tried not to laugh at the large drunk man who had the keys to my car in his hand.

He dropped the keys.

He said something to me, but it didn’t really elucidate the matter in any helpful way. It was, as they say, incoherent.

I nodded, as you do when large threatening drunk people say incoherent things to you.

The father approached, apologized profusely for keeping us waiting nearly an hour, and told me that he hadn’t found any leaks in our tires. He explained patiently and quietly that the tires had probably just gradually deflated due to the extreme heat, and he was sorry to have kept us waiting so long.

Then, I swear to god, he smacked his very large, very drunk son across the head.

I winced. I prepared to sprint, briefly thinking that I was leaving something behind, perhaps my car, perhaps my wife. I really don’t know what went through my head, but my hind-brain told me to be prepared to bolt.

The son turned around and walked away, in a huff.

“No charge.” said the father, and walked away.

“You sure?” I said, contritely and with more than a little confusion in my voice.

“Shoulda been done in five minutes. That fucking kid can’t do nothing.”

I didn’t disagree, but I tried not to agree either. I identified with the kid in some way, but also with the father. The kid probably didn’t want to be working at the tire-repair shop, and got drunk that morning as a way to cope with his situation. He probably felt conflicted whether to help out the family business or whether to do something else with his life.

As for the father, well I really felt for him. He had built a business, devoted his life to it, and here was his little shit-head son being drunk and not giving a flying flip, failing at changing tires. I’ve not yet done anything truly exceptional with my life, but I never got the feeling my father was disappointed in me. This fellow was disappointed. And yelling a lot.

I was not always good at the things my father tried to teach me. I still don’t know how to drive a standard transmission. I once shot him in the hand with a nail-gun during house repairs.

(It was an accident; shut up. I was also crap at gardening, but my wife’s tomatoes made up for it.)

My Dad can’t hear me now, but I’m gonna try harder. I won’t be like that guy. I will try.

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