I write this knowing that Megan is currently in much more dire car trouble than I am. Always be aware of perspective.
I am the all-time undisputed King of Flat Tires. I’ve mentioned it before, and there isn’t much more I can say about it. Not only have I gone through approximately 30,000 tires over the last few years, but I’ve lost them in every way imaginable: blowouts, nails, slow leaks, you name it. Last night’s offender was a nail.
I had noticed the nail a while ago, but had elected to let it be on the ‘it’s-worse-if-you-take-the-knife-out-of-his-chest’ theory. It was actually successful for quite a while, but over the last week the tire had developed a slow leak, which turned into a plain ol’ leak sometime yesterday.
I complained about the tire to Adam during the rather strained but ultimately rewarding final tech/dress rehearsal for 365 (more about that later.) He had a spare can of Fix-a-Flat or some related product which he lent me to shore up the leaky bastard. I popped that sucker on there, filled the tire, and went on my merry way.
This is probably a good time to mention that I have never had a can of Fix-a-Flat do what I wanted, or even what it was supposed to.
I got a few exits down the 134 West when I heard the familiar sound of an unhappy tire. This one had the standard ‘whump-whump-whump,’ plus an element of banshee-like wail which I hadn’t heard before. I took the Woodman exit, which placed me in an area I am completely unfamiliar with (although everything in LA is near something familiar.) The tire was flat and covered in fixit juice.
The first thing I did was call Mr. Adam Legg. I wasn’t really expecting him to do anything, I just wanted to make sure somebody knew what was up, and I’d already been whining to him about the tire. He suggested I call Robert or Royana and see if they were still at the theatre. I was reluctant to do that since, even though it was past midnight on a Sunday, I really hoped to find a solution that would get me over the hill.
I carry an air compressor with me; I’m required to as King of Flat Tires. I hooked it up and quickly found the hole. It turned out that I had simply lost the nail - there was no sidewall tear or other major damage, just one small hole. I could cover it with my thumb and enjoy the illusion of a tire that was sound.
Then the ridiculous idea came to me. A while back, I had picked up a little DS accessory pack to get the thumb stylus (which I have since lost.) it came with three additional stylus….es. I wondered if I couldn’t jam one of those in the hole and essentially just replace the nail. I know it was stupid, but I really wanted to get back to my turf.
I shoved the stylus into the hole and tamped it down with my foot. It stayed. I fired up the compressor and filled the tire to something less than the optimum pressure. The stylus failed to shoot out of the tire. I called Adam again so that someone could explain what had happened to the coroner. And I drove.
On Adam’s advice, I planned to take Ventura to Sepulveda. I got maybe half a mile before I heard the whump-whump-whump of failure. I checked the tire and saw that the stylus had been shoved inside by the pressure of the road (the head on these things is slightly offset, so that it’s flush with one side of the shaft.) I sighed.
But I still had more sty….les.
For attempt #2, I used the sidewalk and a lighter to grind and melt the head into a flattened roundish shape. I was attempting to model it into a plasticky nail, hoping that the new broad head would hold the thing against the tire without getting sucked in. I filled the tire again. I drove again.
And it fucking worked.
This is clearly a temporary solution, and I can just barely afford to get a $30 used tire, but I’d like to see if I can’t get to Friday without friction taking away my little toy. I have my doubts.
But I also have a few more styli.