Wednesday, September 19, 2007

All Jacked Up

So, y'know how I ended that last post with, "today is fantastic?" Well, it looks like I jumped the gun on that particular call.

I left my car in the Lloyd Noble parking lot and hopped the shuttle to my afternoon class. When I got back to my car, there was a giant, L-shaped hole in one of my tires. It's like someone stabbed it ... with an L.

So, since it was less than a mile from the lot to my apartment, I decided to go ahead and drive home on my totally worthlessly flat tire. Three words, people. Scariest. Thing. Ever.

In an even greater act of "Wait! I-can-fix-it," I decided to try and change the tire myself - the VW manual made it look pretty idiot-proof. And yet I couldn't get the stupid lugs loosened even a little bit.

I was quite seriously standing on the lug wrench, putting my full weight on it and the damn thing wouldn't turn. On top of it all, the entire eastern horizon was a mass of onrushing storm clouds, complete with little lightning streaks flickering through them.

Nothing like impending storms to amp up the tension of the moment. Thank you, Oklahoma weather patterns. Fantastic timing. Kudos.

However, my apartment complex definitely has one thing going for it. If you stand outside looking helpless for long enough, people will come help you. Last winter, that was how I eventually got the ice off my car - by sadly attempting to do it myself until several attractive exchange students came to my rescue. It's a girl perk.

Anyway, after maybe ten minutes of jumping on the lug wrench and doing nothing but rock my car, a girl walked past and asked me if I needed any help.

Now I have this little stubborn streak in me which causes me to be stupid about things. And my first impulse when this girl offered to help was to tell her thanks anyway, but I had it all under control, and that I was just lulling the tire into a false sense of security so I could catch it off guard.

But then, I thought about another hour of standing on the lug wrench. And the fact that I had no freakin' clue what I was doing, and that the little diagrams in the owner's manual were only going to get me so far. Plus, the aforementioned big ol' storm clouds were even bigger and storm-cloudy-er.

So I admitted I was totally clueless. This girl (Alyssa, wonderful stranger that she is) helped me loosen up the lugs (it took her all of two seconds; apparently, I suck at cars) and after a while a few more people came over and joined in, and by the time the job was done there were about a dozen people standing around my car. Oddly enough, all the women were helping me with my situation, and all the buff-type men were standing around discussing my situation. Hmm.

With like half of my building helping out, it only took us like fifteen minutes to get everything all fixed up! I was actually sort of hoping the storm would break right as we finished, in a cathartic slow-motion movie sort of way, but it didn't. Oh well.

In any case, thanks to the wonderful people of Traditions for saving me from my hopelessly sad little attempt at car maintenance! I am always amazed by the capacity of people to help the totally hopeless, even when they look flustered and have what appears to be a tire track down their face (I lifted the spare out of the trunk, it bounced back and ran a nice black tire tread down my face. Not exactly my best look.)

Hopefully I'll get to pay them back someday ... although clearly it won't be via car maintenance.

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