I am sure you know that I am not mechanically inclined, nor technologically nor mathematically, nor any other “ally” which requires more thought processes than beating eggs. I do have, however, one teeny, tiny automotive skill of which I am very proud. I can put air in my car’s tires, or at least I could until last week.

My tires are really the happiest with 35 pounds of high-quality air. Thanks to the little computer in my dash, it tells me when they begin to slip below that magic number.

I ignored the 34s and then it got to be 33s and I thought to myself, “It’s time to go down to the service station on the corner and get some air!” But first, I had to change into some automotive maintenance-type apparel. That translates as some shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes, allowing me the full range of motion and agility which one needs for complicated mechanical things.

I pulled into the station and up to the air/water machine. I didn’t think I had enough change for the machine so I used my credit card. I pulled out the air hose, removed the little tire cap, squatted down by the tire, and placed the mouthpiece of the hose over the tire stem (notice I am using technical tire language here). I heard a lot of air noise and I was pretty sure I had even gone over 35 pounds. When I checked it with my very technical-looking tire gauge, it said I now had only 25 pounds of pressure. What? How can this be? How it could be is that the machine was obviously not working correctly as I fed it my credit card again. Another $1.50 and still nothing.

In desperation, I cleaned all the change out of my purse and my console and placed the first quarter in the machine, which stuck quite solidly. Before marching inside and demanding a refund, I noted the “no refunds at this location” sign, of course.

At this point, I slowly rolled over to the next service station on yonder other corner with one tire reading 25 pounds. Yes, I know it was wrong, but I was desperate! The air machine at the other station was pretty and new and somehow, I knew it could be trusted. I put in my credit card and started over. Because the machine was new, so was the tension on the air cord. No matter how I tugged, it snapped back into the machine like a giant rubber band. After near dislocation of my right arm, I devised a technique, not unlike a posture you might see in a yoga class, but then be compelled to look the other way.

I share this as a public service in case you find yourself at this same machine; here is what you do. Get a firm grip on the air hose, lurch toward the correct tire, lift the foot closest to the machine and smack it down on the hose, bend the other leg to get close to the tire stem, and insert it in the air hose opening. You may feel a bit dizzy at first, but it soon passes by the time you get to tire number four.

After this experience, I may start limiting my driving time to save on my air, either that or work on my endurance – unless someone knows of that most rare of classic luxuries, a full-service gas station.

Diane Blanco
Author: Diane BlancoEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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