The Curse of the Flat Tire


Once, when my older son and daughter were quite small, I was driving the I-70 corridor towards St. Louis. My tire blew. Fortunately, it was a small car and easy to control, but when I finally stopped on the shoulder – only to see my hubcap go spinning into the median – I was trapped on the highway by a 6-foot cyclone fence.

There seemed to be no way to go over (or under) it, and to walk around would take at least 45 minutes with an 18-month-old and a seven-year-old. And the service station was just beyond….

I boosted my daughter over the fence, holding onto my toddler with one hand. I kept telling him how he would “get” to finally climb a fence, like a big boy, and he didn’t disappoint me. My daughter reached up from the other side to grab him at the top. Then, of course, I had to scoot over too, very fast, so the kids would be safe.

I think that was the start. Oh, I’d had a couple flat tires previously, but they obviously weren’t too memorable.

My daughter, on the other hand, has had many flat tires. And then, being of limited means from time to time, only purchases one. So she frequently suffers this curse multiple times in a month-long period.

On one occasion, just a couple years ago, she was driving from Missouri to Texas. She called about 9:00 that night, to tell us she had a flat tire. We were about oh, eight hours away. She wanted to know what to do.
First, we asked where she was stranded. “Oklahoma.” Um, okay, but where? “I think I’m in Tulsa.” Okay, that narrows it down. We now have a city and a state. “I don’t know what highway I’m on, but there are a lot of lights.” Okaay.

After a few phone calls – well, seven or eight of them – we determined her location and booked her into a nearby motel. A good Samaritan helped her put on the spare, and the next day she got a replacement tire. Yup, just one.

This was, for reference, the second of three tires that she replaced that month.

On Wednesday of this week, my son got his license; he’s had a permit for a year-and-a-half. On Saturday, he took his car to get it washed, and the battery died. We replaced the battery, and he left to drive about 20 minutes away for a Halloween party.

He called at 8:25 to tell me that he was on his way home, and he called again at 8:30. He had a flat.
Of course. And so it begins, the curse of the tire. Again.

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