Thumbs, Tires, and Tradition. This Story Has It All.

Thumbs, Tires, and Tradition. This Story Has It All.

Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

Some people (such as Barb) are born with green thumbs. Some people (such as residents of the planet Twilo) are born without thumbs. And then, there is me, born all thumbs.

To lay it on the line, I am no handyman. I put this down to nature and nurture. My dad lived to be 80 years old, and I don’t believe he ever held a tool in his hand. From his upbringing in a fairly up-scalish home in Berlin, through adulthood in various Chicago apartments, there was always someone else to do the dirty work.

That’s not to say I haven’t tried to be a macho man. I can pull out a toolbox laden with wrenches and hammers and screwdrivers. Yet every hose I attach to any faucet leaks, every screw I drive quickly becomes stripped, and every smart device I connect laughs at me.

All this is a long way of saying, that the other day when a nice co-worker came to tell me she had noticed my car in the parking lot with a flat tire, my first impulse was NOT to get out the car jack and crank ‘er up. To be honest, I didn’t even know if I had a jack–or a spare.

So I did what most Jewish males would do in my situation–I made a phone call. AAA promised me a service truck within about 45 minutes…and two hours later one arrived. No, the tech didn’t have the right tools to get my old tire off or to properly hitch up my car for a tow. But he was a nice guy, and managed to load the car onto his flatbed, tightened the straps, and took me and my ride to the AAA service center, a country music Sirius station playing all the way.

The guy at the service center desk looked tired and overworked but was nice enough to squeeze my car into the schedule and onto a lift. Up went the car, and after some sledgehammer work, off came the tire, revealing a slash on the inner sidewall. In the More Bad News Department, no replacement tire was available.

On went the slow-drive spare (yes, I did have one), and I began the long drive to the north suburbs. Fortunately, it was now rush hour, so I had no problem limiting my speed to 50 mph on the congested Tri-State Tollway. Also, fortunately, the tire dealer where I have already replaced 7 tires on my 4-year-old car was open and they had my tire size in stock. It would be a 90-minute wait, so Barb picked me up, we had a carry-out dinner, and got back to the tire dealer just before closing time.

As I drove home, I noticed I still had all my thumbs, and they were all still grease and grime free. From Berlin to Riverwoods, some things never change.

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Filed under:
life style, Uncategorized

AAA, Flat tire


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Hi! I am Les, a practicing pathologist living in the North Suburbs and commuting every day to the Western ones. I have lived my entire life in the Chicago area, and have a pretty good feel for the place, its attractions, culture, restaurants, and teams. My wife and I are empty-nesters with two adult children and four grandchildren.

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