It seems like I spend so much time dealing with girl issues, it’s kinda nice to occasionally have a manly task to tackle. My opportunity came last week.
I assumed it was nothing when my dashboard lit up with the “low air in tire" signal. I figured a little had seeped out over the past few months, sort of like my hair gel. I’ve had the same jar for the past two years and noticed recently that it might be time to reinvest in a bit more Surfer Hair. Nothing to be alarmed about – there was time before an emergency.
I was going to stop to check out my front passenger side Michelin, but I was tired, so I kept driving.
DJ, Stephanie and I pulled into the Zaxby’s to pick up a healthy feast of chicken strips and Texas toast. I promised to warm up some frozen peas to round out our meal. I could tell they were thrilled.
As we pulled out of the drive through and onto Hillsborough Street, it was apparent my seeping was a little more serious than I had originally thought: a tire so flat I could barely turn the steering wheel.
I pulled into the service station conveniently positioned ten yards in front of us. This wasn’t a gas station, this was a real garage – like one that works on your carburetor and stuff.
How lucky am I? I thought. Until I realized it was closed.
I briefly considered calling Triple A, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I just couldn’t stand there in suit and tie while some dude in a homemade tank top with his crack hanging out man handled my treads. I was gonna have to do this myself. Plus, I figured this was a great opportunity to teach the girls how to change a tire!
“Dad. What are you going to do?” my eldest asked.
“I’m going to change the tire,” not flinching in my decision.
“You?” Her eyebrows were up, her pupils fixed on my bow tie.
Stephanie had to toss her thoughts into the conversation, “This should be interesting.”
I went to the back of the vehicle and removed my suit coat and tie. I looked down at my favorite dress shirt covering my huge pecs and arms. That needs to go too.
There’s something so manly about standing in public with only your Hanes t-shirt on. White tee, suit pants and wing tips. Yeah – get at me.
DJ sent a text to the woman who was bring Michelle home from an afternoon playdate to let her know we’d be late.
I found her response extremely offensive.
“Mrs. Horton asked if you could change a tire.”
Well, I can...if I can find the spare.
This was the first time I’d had to do anything mechanical on this vehicle and I struggled to find the tools I needed to complete the task.
“The first step, girls, is to find the tire.”
We looked everywhere. Lifted every hatch and covey we could possibly find.
“I know it’s in here somewhere.”
Stephanie went to the glove compartment to get the directions.
“We don’t need directions to change a tire!”
She didn’t listen – instead she began to read.
“Apparently the tire is under the car. You have to use this thing,” she handed me a tool that I’d tossed on the sidewalk, “to lower down.”
She then stuck the metal device into a hole near the back bumper of my MDX and began to twist it. Within a few seconds, the tire appeared from beneath my vehicle.
“That was the next place I was going to look,” I informed Miss Smarty Pants.
I don’t know why they screw the lug nuts on as if the car is going to be thrust into outer space. I had to put the wrench on each one and jump up and down on it using the entire weight of my body to loosen the boogers.
As I bounced up and down, I glanced at the line of traffic at the nearby stoplight. There were three cars in a row, windows down, all packed with NC State students heading back to their dorms. All were looking at me. All were clearly amused.
What I didn’t know was that my two daughters were standing behind me with their phones at their faces, videotaping my every move. They were capturing the moment to broadcast to their friends on social media.
At first I was riled, “You are NOT being helpful! Put those things down!”
But then I warmed to the idea. This would be proof that I could indeed change a tire.