In my travels as a photojournalist yesterday, I drove down to Tupelo, Oklahoma to cover a baseball game, but found that it had been suddenly rained out by a rather spectacular, and spooky, thunderstorm.
I turned around and head back toward Ada, thinking I would stop in Stonewall and photograph their softball game so the outing wouldn’t be a complete waste of time.
As I drove, the pop-up thunderstorms all around me got really interesting-looking. I saw a long shaft of rain to the south, and turned down a county road to get a better look. Just a few hundred yards down the road, I heard, “fsst, fsst, fsst, fsst…,” the tell-tale sound of a rapidly flattening tire. I turned around quickly and drove back to the intersection with the highway, and got out to find the left rear tire of our Nissan Frontier LE 4X4 Crew Cab pickup completely flat.
It turns out that I had never changed the wheel on our truck, so I actually had to consult the manual about a couple of things. By the time I had the spare ready and the jack set, the key for the anti-theft lug nut was nowhere to be found. This happened to me once before in 2010 in Utah, and on that occasion, a wrecker service actually chiseled it off. Fortunately, our friends at Ada Nissan drove out with a key, and I was then able to change the wheel. The tire was damaged beyond repair and will need to be replaced, and when they do, I will ask them to replace those stupid anti-theft lug nuts with standard ones.
I know everyone has some sob story about car trouble. I happen to think everyone should know how to change a wheel (not, as most people say, a tire, since it’s impossible to get a tire off a wheel by hand – so you don’t change a tire, you change a wheel), how to add coolant to the engine, how to jump start a car, and so on.
And! It’s just as cheap to drive on the top part of the gas tank than it is to drive on the bottom part. Or something like that.
I assume the “tire” part is in the phrase because it’s the part that went flat. And in many parts of Oklahoma, my first name is pronounced “weel”, so saying it the other way would get confusing. (Small attempt at humor.)
I do feel better about a few of my flat tire sob stories now that you’ve shared this one… I don’t feel so bad about not checking the hardware beforehand, knowing you did the same thing. :-)
(My wife has interestingly pleasant flat tire stories. A redneck in Oklahoma whipped over and changed out her tire/wheel north of Shawnee. A soldier helped her on Ft. Hood. In Killeen, when it was pouring rain and 05:30, a policewoman did the work for her. So she’s never had to actually do it herself, though I did teach her how.)