July 22, Sunday 2007 THE PERFECT DAY

My car’s tire is almost flat.
I’m leaning over, peering at it with disbelief, while my sister Polly whimpers.

“Oh no. Oh nooo,” she’s whispering. I have to be in El Cajon at 4:30 for a hair appointment and I’ll never make it.”

“Call the woman and explain,” I say.

“I can’t remember her name,” Polly says. “I can’t remember her number and I can’t remember the name of the shop!”

“And you’re the smart one in the family,” I retort.

My sister and I have come down the mountain to buy bathroom fixtures for my house re-model. We’ve accomplished that and I’ve convinced Polly to give me about 20 minutes more at Home Expo to look at lights and mirrors.

“It’s got to be only 20 minutes,” Polly says firmly, “because you have to drive me back up the mountain to get my car for an important hair appointment.”

Well. Now here we are, an hour from home with an almost flat tire.

“I’ve got road service,” I say. “I can call them.”

Polly almost cries as she says, “I don’t have time for road service.”

Polly is not making sense. I know that with some women our hair appointments are more important then money and men, but this is silly.

“We can’t,” I say, as I shake Polly’s shoulder and look in her frantic eyes, “drive home with an almost flat tire. It’s way too far.”

We’re both groaning. What to do? What to do? Two women in a strange town and an hour from home with a bad tire.

As I lift my drooping head to look around me I can’t believe what I see. We are parked and disabled right in front of a Discount Tire Store!
How sweet is that?

I grab Polly and trot with her into the store.

Oh my gosh. There’s a long line of people waiting to have their tires attended to.

We get in line and the minutes tick off with Polly mumbling some more about how she almost took that woman’s number with her when she left with me today, and what is she going to do now?

Finally, I get to speak to a Tire Man at the counter.
His hair is black and it stands straight up in the air. I wonder how it does that.

Tire Man leads us outside to take a look at my car’s tires. Polly is filling him in about her difficulties with the time element and the hairdresser.

“You’ve got a nail in here,” Tire Man says, as he fingers the back rear tire.
“It’ll take an hour to patch it and let it dry.”

My sister almost collapses.
“I don’t have an hour,” she pleads.

Tire Man pulls a little thinger from his pocket and checks all my tires.
“They’re bald,” he says. “Lady, you’re driving on bald tires!”

My mind starts clicking. My Car Man told me three or four months ago that I would need new tires by the end of the summer. It looks like my ‘end of summer’ has come a bit early.

I start to talk price to Tire Man and how my Car Man has told me to go to Cost Co to get the best price on the kind of tires my car needs.

Tire Man assures me he will get on the computer and compare Discount Tire’s prices to Cost Co’s.

Polly is still acting badly.
“I have a terrible headache,” she tells Tire Man. “I can’t just not show up at my hairdresser’s. I told her I was desperate and she made a special appointment just for me.”

She tugs on Tire Man’s dark blue sleeve.
“Can’t we just drive home and get Venus’ tire fixed up there?”

Tire Man is horrified. “Lady! You’d have a blow-out on the freeway. Can you imagine how terrible that could be?”

“Polly,” I hiss, “he doesn’t understand about hair appointments. You’re just going to have to adjust here.”
Inside the office, Tire Man shows us the tire comps on the computer. It looks good.

“I can get you four new tires in 30 minutes,” he says.
He looks at my little white haired sister who is obviously not doing so well.
“I’ll put you ahead of all these other people who are waiting. It’s the best I can do.”

“Do it,” I say.

Eeeh gads. Another huge sum of money, but what is that compared with all the piles of ‘cash’ I’m spending on my house? I’ve become giddy with borrowed money.

Polly sits down outside the store on a concrete bench.
“My head is hurting so much,” she says, “that I can’t bear it. I need chocolate! I’m going across the street to get some.”

Twenty minutes later, she’s back. As she plops down on the bench with me, she says, “It’s weird, but my husband just called on my cell and he’s about 5 minutes from me, just driving around! He came down the mountain today he says, just to tool around. He’s going to pick me up and take me to my appointment.”

“This whole experience is weird,” I say.
“We have a flat tire right in front of the Discount Tire Store instead of having it out in nowhere or on the freeway where we could have been killed.
Then, I had been planning to take the car down the mountain in a month or so for new tires and that would have meant waiting for hours while the place got around to putting them on the car. Instead, look at this, I get our lives saved, get new tires and it’s all done practically instantly and it’s cheaper. It’s perfect.”

I glance at my car which has just been lowered on the rack.

“See you later,” I say, as I go inside the office to inquire about getting my car.

“I think my car is ready,” I tell one of the Tire Men at the counter. “Should I just go outside and wait for it?”

“Sure,” the Tire Man says.

“Or,” a good looking young guy standing by the far counter calls out to me, “just come over here and wait by me!”
He grins, showing his perfect white teeth as he looks me up and down. He shakes his head ‘yes!’ and winks.

Eeek. I have indeed just had a Perfect Day!

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