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#67417 - 06/09/06 04:57 AM I weep for the future!
Ors Offline
Namu (Giant Tree)
Addict

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Florida, USA
So on Monday I found out that my car needed extensive repairs, so much so that my wife and I decided that we needed to find another car. We checked out the car lots that night and Tuesday morning bought a car. Now before I let my old car go, I wanted the car radio I bought at Best Buy to be taken out so I could put it in my newer car.

So I hop onto the four lane highway near my house and quickly see a car just pulling over on a bridge. I see a blonde girl get out, and she appears to be alone, so I decide to pull over and see if she needs help. Now there's not much of a shoulder on this bridge, but I put my hazard lights on and slowly backed up til I got close to her car. She practically runs up to my car, I roll down the passenger window and she says "Oh my god, what the f*** happened?! What was that?" I said that I'd take a look, and I should say that I know very little about things automotive. Even so, I quickly determined that her tire had, well, exploded. I'm not sure how it happened, but there were three big blown out spots on the tread.

She asks if I have a phone, I told her I did and handed it to her. I thought I'd grab my emergency triangle out of my trunk and put it up to get a little more attention from the on-coming traffic speeding by at 60 MPH, so hopefully they won't kill either of us. I open my trunk and discover, I'd already moved my car kit to the newer car! No flares or triangle today!

So this girl, I'm guessing she's 18 or 19, is talking to her mom on my phone. It seems her mom is not sympathetic to her plight and is unwilling to assist in any way. The girl hangs up and says she's going to call someone else. I say that I'm going to make a call first and call 411 so I can get the non-emergency police number...yeah, I'm thinking I need to program that one in my phone. So I'm being connected, and the girl figures out who I'm calling and she says excitedly, "I don't have insurance!" which is required in this state. "And I just got busted for public intox last night." Now I'm thinking I would have felt a whole lot better with a police car with bright flashing lights behind us to alert other drivers of our presense, but I hung up my phone before the call went through. I asked if she had a spare, and she said that she did. She grabbed the doughnut out of her trunk and then was worried because she said, "I don't have a jack."

I looked in her trunk and said, "yes you do, it's right here" and pulled it out.

I decided if I was going to change a tire for this girl, I'd better put my car behind hers and a little bit in the lane of traffic to encourage other drivers to give us a wider berth. I forgot to mention that I had to tell this girl that it would be a good idea to turn on her hazard lights.

I figure out how her jack works and place it and crank it up to where it is snug under the car. I started loosening the lug nuts and she queries, "Don't you need to have the car higher up?" I explain to her that if I tried to loosen the lugs with the wheel in the air that the tire would just spin. During this process she asks me if I have a cigarette in my car, because she was on her way to buy cigarettes...no luck for her because I don't smoke.

I get the doughnut on and start cranking the jack down. She had put the blown tire in the trunk by this point. I gave her the jack and then noticed something that could only have happened during a fiasco like this...the doughnut was practically flat! I had already explained to her that she needed to drive about 45 MPH when using the doughnut, and while I was busy sweating her spare on her car she had called someone else and arranged to meet them at a place about 10 miles from where we were.

When we saw that the doughnut for all practical purposes was flat, I asked if she needed a ride somewhere. She said, "well, I'm not leaving my car here, I don't have any insurance." She assured me that she was going to drive really slow. I suggested that it would be a bad idea to drive, especially so far, with a flat tire. I said she would certainly ruin the spare and probably cause expensive damage to the axle. I suggested that she could have the car towed, but she said she didn't have money for that.

I was running out of suggestions when I remembered the two cheapo air compressers that plug into a cigarette lighter that I had bought on clearence at Wal Mart a few months back and forgotten about. Luck was with me, because they were still shoved in the back of my trunk. I asked her if her cigarette lighter in the car worked...of course it didn't!

So I pull my car into the lane of traffic and park right beside her car...luckily the cord on the compresser was long enough to reach from my car to her tire. I hooked it up and let it rip. At first I didn't think it was working, but slowly the built in gauge began to rise up to the PSI recommended on the tire. I packed up and suggested that she get the doughnut checked by a professional right away and get a new tire as soon as possible. I also suggested that she learn how to change a tire and to quit smoking because she was too pretty to have such an ugly habit.

She had thanked me a few times during the whole process, but I don't really think she understood how much of her butt I actually saved today.

No phone, no clue how to change a tire, no insurance...and yet I don't think she understood the situation.

The thing that went through my mind was that line from "A Streetcar Named Desire"...

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

She didn't even ask my name...

So I was telling my wife the story and asked her if she knows how to change a tire (no, I really didn't know before today). She said, "No, and I don't need to know because I've got AAA!" I told her that AAA wasn't always going to be there and she swore up and down that she didn't need to know and she refused to learn. She's pregnant, and quite honestly has been a little more irrational than usual lately. I'm hoping I can convince her to learn...maybe after this baby. If not, I'll just put detailed instructions, maybe on Rite in Rain computer paper, and put it in a sheet protector with the spare tire. Give her a little help at least.

So that's my story of why I weep for the future.
_________________________
Ors, MAE, MT-BC
Memento mori
Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (They all wound, the last kills)

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#67418 - 06/09/06 05:25 AM Re: I weep for the future!
Paul810 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
A good friend's wife told me a story about her father. When she had gotten her license her father bought her a car. She didn't know about it and when her father told her she ran outside to see. Sitting on four blocks was her new car with the hood open. On the side of the car was four tires, the tire jack and wrench, motor oil and a filter, the sparkplug wires, the bulbs from the headlights, and a few other things. He decided before he would let her even move the car she would be taught to do basic car maintenance and care.

Smart man, I wish more parents were like him. It pains me to see the amount of people that can't change a tire, can't change their own oil, don't know how to check tire pressure, oil level, ect. Not only that, but it's kind of scary that so many of these people are driving these poorly maintained vehicles on the same roads that I am. <img src="/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

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#67419 - 06/09/06 05:30 AM Re: I weep for the future!
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Wow... Where is Darwin with the Mighty Chainsaw of Natural Selection when you need him?

When I went through driver's ed, we had to change tires before we could squash cones. That wasn't that long ago.

Just remember, those who do not learn from history are destined to be mocked by it.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#67420 - 06/09/06 01:23 PM Re: I weep for the future!
BrianTexas Offline
Ordinary Average Guy
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 304
Loc: North Central Texas, USA
I teach at an all-girls high school and we wanted to see how much they knew about car care (most juniors and seniors drive themselves to school). When asked "What is the first thing to do when you notice that your tire is flat?", the most common response was, "Call Daddy."

BTW - You might want to avoid irritating the pregnant wife. I think that she is the most dangerous creature that you'll face in any wilderness <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Also known as BrianEagle. I just remembered my old password!

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#67421 - 06/09/06 03:51 PM Re: I weep for the future!
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Quote:
"I don't have insurance!" which is required in this state. "And I just got busted for public intox last night."


Perhaps there was a good reason her mom was unsympathetic. Tough love?

I sometimes wonder if I'm really doing someone a favor by bailing them out. I was sitting in the minivan with the kids in the back waiting for my wife to finish shopping when suddenly the whole van lurched. I looked behind me and saw a girl back up her car and then pull into the empty spot on my right.

I got out and walked around the front of my car, dreading what I'll see. I saw the left front fender of the other car was all smasked up - dread increases. When I looked at the right rear corner of my car I didn't see any damage. I looked closer and finally found a scuff on my tire where she had clipped it with the corner of her bumper.

She was apologetic but didn't seem as flustered as I'd expected. I told her there was no damage, so don't worry about it, but to please be more careful in the future. She left to do her shopping.

As I was standing there feeling relieved, I took another look at her car. ALL FOUR CORNERS were smashed up. This was not simply a case of an old beat up car, it had been systematically beat up by someone who is incapable of swinging into a parking space without bouncing off the surrounding cars.

I was lucky, but perhaps if I should have called the police, if only to put her one small step closer to losing her license and making the world a safer place.

- Tom


_________________________
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

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#67422 - 06/09/06 05:54 PM Re: I weep for the future!
massacre Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 781
Loc: Central Illinois
You were far too kind, Ors. She must have been a pretty blond girl. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Seriously.... No insurance, public intox, no money for a tow, no flashers on (until you told her), non working lighter (and who knows what else), flat spare, probably seriously worn tire that blew in the first place. Woefully unprepared, incredible lack of understanding of the situation (except that she could be in for more trouble) and happy enough to let you take care of it for her. Funny that she had enough money for her cigarettes...

First, I would have called the police just as you intended. It's not your fault she didn't have insurance and you risked your life to help this moron of a girl. You could have simply said, "I have to call my wife, she's pregnant" got back in the car and called for the police. They will forcibly tow anyone in such a situation. They wouldn't even think twice about fixing a flat spare. She would have been cited for the insurance and you don't risk your a** trying to help someone who clearly is not interested in helping herself.

******

Oh, and for those wives who are dependant on AAA, tell them how fun it would be 1) waiting for an hour or more in the Heat/Snow/Thunder Storm with a screaming child. 2) Not being able to get a signal to even get AAA in the first place. 3) Waiting for AAA to come in the middle of the night. And does she absolutely follow procedure and verify that the person arriving is from AAA? I've heard urban myth's about the AAA guy who turns out to be a mass murderer....

Anyway, AAA is a crutch and shouldn't be used by anyone who can do it for themselves. It's nice to have when someone like this girl invites Murphy for a visit and then asks him to stick around for a while, but it surely shouldn't be a first line of defense. Explain nicely and carefully to your pregnant wife that changing a tire really isn't that difficult... appeal to her sense of protective nature with her child to come and make her realize that NOT knowing is potentially endangering someone other than herself.

Of course, do this from at least 20 feet away with one foot out the door and car keys in hand... Or you might just see Darwin pulling the cord to start that Chainsaw... (luckily you procreated before he got there)
_________________________
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

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#67423 - 06/10/06 05:08 AM Re: I weep for the future!
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"So I pull my car into the lane of traffic and park right beside her car..."

If you lived here in WA, you'd be dead and we would never have known. And at the speed you would have been hit, they would have scooped you up with spoons and had to check DNA files to ID what they could find of your body.

"She said, 'well, I'm not leaving my car here, I don't have any insurance.'"

Pity you couldn't talk her into leaving it. With any luck at all, it would have been stolen and stripped by the time she returned.

[Tom] "ALL FOUR CORNERS were smashed up." I believe that is called Driving by the Braille System.

If the idiots were the victims of natural selection... and JUST them... there might be hope. But they tend to take out way too many people with them when they go.

Sue

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#67424 - 06/10/06 05:30 AM Re: I weep for the future!
Ors Offline
Namu (Giant Tree)
Addict

Registered: 09/16/05
Posts: 663
Loc: Florida, USA
As hindsight is 20/20, and if I had it to do again, I would have let the call to the police go through. Why was I putting myself in harm's way to help this helpless girl? Yes, she was very pretty, but dumb as a fence post. Correct, it was not my problem that she didn't have insurance, and for her sake, the police officer might not have asked anyway, which still wouldn't have been my problem. Too much trying to be a nice guy I suppose. The way I carried out the assistance, in some ways, wasn't very ETS of me. I'm so ashamed <img src="/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

But, I did learn from the experience, which is what this whole life thing is about. And next time I won't be so easily distracted by a pretty face and a mini skirt <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Ors, MAE, MT-BC
Memento mori
Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat (They all wound, the last kills)

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#67425 - 06/10/06 06:42 PM Re: I weep for the future!
311 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 285
Loc: NY USA
I always wondered why there are Braille instructions on the ticket dispenser for the short term parking lot at the local airport.

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#67426 - 06/10/06 06:52 PM Re: I weep for the future!
311 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 285
Loc: NY USA
When I was a lad, my dad & I came across a car (winter) attempting to tow a trailer which was way too big for the tow car & had slid into a ditch. The driver had on only tee shirt, slacks, loafers & had no coat, boots, or other cold weather gear. He was making his semi-annual trip from his heated garage with door opener in his heated car to his other home in Florida. Thus, no need for coat, boots, etc. unless. . . . oops!

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