Running Wild

Lessons learned: How to not change a tire.


I’m about to go into some pretty embarrassing detail at my own expense. I’m fully aware that I may not live this down and will be mocked for eternity, but the important thing to remember is that although I tired to do something pretty dumb, I learned from it.

My work schedule is actually pretty perfect since I get Wednesdays off. So, I work 2 days, get a day off, work 2 days, get 2 days off, and about every 4-6 weeks I work on a Saturday morning. Pretty great, huh?

Well this past Wednesday was not so great for me. It started off really productive. I was up and out of bed by 8am. I did some laundry and picked up the house a little bit. I even unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, which is one of my least favorite things to do next to grocery shopping. Around 11:30am I left for my doctor’s appointment. Nothing exciting happened on the way there, but on the way home that’s when things got annoyingly difficult.

I was a mile away from my exit to go home when one of my dashboard lights came on. It was the orange one with an exclamation mark I think. Anyway, it was alerting me that the PSI in my front right tire was low. When I first noticed it, it read 17. No idea what that means but I knew it couldn’t have been good if my car was alerting me about it. Although, sometimes I think my back-up sensor totally overreacts when I’m parallel parking. I kind of figured that’s what was happening then, too. Well, I should really stop “figuring” because less than 8 minutes later the PSI in my right front tire was now at 3.

Side note: what the heck is a PSI? Like what does it stand for? All I could come up with was “Pressure Something Interesting”. I don’t know. 

Desperately trying to not break down on the highway, I got off at the next exit I saw and was able to park in the Kroger parking lot while I assessed my situation. The assessment wasn’t good. My tire was completely flat and once again my adult life skills were being put to the test.

It didn’t look like I had hit anything or that the tire popped. I just thought the screw was loose or something and it was slowly leaking air. Spoiler, I was the one with the screw loose.

I just would like to stop this story right here before I lose all of your respect, to say that I KNOW HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE. 

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly depending on your opinion of my intelligence level, changing the tire was not the first thing I thought to do. No, the first thing I thought to do…

Are you ready?

Hold on. I just want to say that life is one big trial and error. How does anything get done if we don’t make mistakes?

Okay, I’m ready.

My first thought was to walk a half mile down Cary street to the Carytown Bicycle Company and get a tire pump… for a bike. Yep. I did that.

I literally tried to reinvent the wheel.

And guess what? It doesn’t work. Shocking, right? I know, I was surprised too. I have no idea why a bicycle pump couldn’t inflate my car tire.

Have I lost your respect yet? At what point did you face palm? My face palm moment came when the bicycle pump flew off the tire when I pushed down on it.

I think we should just keep moving with this story though, and not focus too much on the details.

Finally, it dawned on me that I may actually need to change this tire. So I took a deep breath and started tossing everything in my trunk to the back seat. I had forgotten how much stuff I had back there. When the trunk was clear and I could get to my spare tire, the first thing I pulled out was the lug nut wrench thing and two wedges that just confused the heck out of me. I didn’t see anything else in there except for the spare.

I thought if the 2 wedge things were somehow supposed to be a jack, it’s the weirdest looking jack I’d ever seen. But to be fair, I don’t know many Jacks… Ba Dun Tssss.

Okay that was lame.

For the life of me I could not figure out how this thing worked. So I did the most natural thing a person could do in a situation like this: I called my dad. Who did not answer because he was on a plane flying to New Orleans. I officially became an adult in that moment and did the next best thing to calling my dad: I sat there and stared at the parts until someone stopped and asked if I needed help. Use your resources, right? Well a really nice guy did stop to help me. I told him I didn’t understand how these wedges were supposed to lift the car up.

Apparently they’re not. The guy went to my trunk, lifted out the spare, and low and behold there was the jack. It kind of felt like he did a magic trick and found my Jack of clubs. Then I had my second face palm moment. This day was not going so great for me.

The guy was super nice and helped me change the tire. Actually, he kind of did the whole thing. I’m not complaining though.

To wrap up this hilarious story of my not so bright moments, later that day when I went to get my tire fixed I was told all four of my tires had dry rot and that all four needed to be replaced.

My wallet still hurts, but a lot of life experience was gained.

Also, anyone need a bicycle pump?