Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ending Your World, Pt. 2

Okay, readers, I thought I'd lighten the mood around here a little bit by sharing a deep-seeded fear about which you can all laugh. It's not exactly a phobia and I've never had nightmares about it. It's just one of those things that my little OCD-riddled brain loves to chew on for hours on end, especially during long car trips.

From the first moment I consider taking a trip, to 100 miles into a trip, to the moment I consider getting back on the road, I worry about my tires. More to the point, I worry about them being so flat that I'll have to use an air hose. This is bad, because I'm terrified of air compressors.

Well, maybe not terrified, exactly – not in the same way I'm terrified of Mtv or snakes – but the whole process of using the air hose at a gas station makes me nervous.

I should note two things here. First, let's be clear: I am not afraid of doing light mechanical work. I've drained and replaced almost all fluids in my truck; I change my own oil and oil filter, and I've replaced air filters, plug wires, and plugs. In fact, as long as I have a car, I plan on doing all of these things and learning how to do more (brakes and transmission fluid are next on the list). This isn't about me fearing cars – just air hoses and what they'll do to the tire, and what the tire will subsequently do to my pretty lil' head.

And that's the second important note: my dad tells a story about being a kid and inflating a tire, and the thing blew up in his face. To this day he hates air hoses too.

Is it possible my father passed along that traumatic air hose incident to his son via genetics? Well, genetics from the other half of the DNA equation probably also explains my compulsion to have a vegetable garden, so I suppose so. But having a vegetable garden doesn't haunt me on road trips, and having a vegetable garden would help, however marginally, with this whole green house gas thing.

Which brings me to last night. As you all can tell, I've been obsessing about An Inconvenient Truth lately, so I was doing a little research yesterday and learned that a key component to gas mileage is properly inflated tires (Oh, hell, that's a lie. I didn't "learn" that, I already knew that, but hadn't done a thing about it. Why? Because I'm terrified of air hoses).

Anyhoo, having seen the film and realizing that I had a good opportunity to conquer my fears while also improving mileage, I finally decided to take action last night.

Part of the problem is that I didn't have a decent air gage, so I took my bike pump out to the truck in the cool dusk and attached that sucker to the front tire. The owner's manual indicated the tires' psi should be about 29. The front left tire was reading 20 psi. So were the others – all four tires were 2/3rds of their recommended psi.

Since I had the pump handy I just manually pumped all the tires back up to 29. But then I also went out and bought a decent pressure gage (I've never ever trusted those damn stick gages). Alas, by that point my tires were all correctly inflated so I didn't get the chance to use an air hose, but at this point I'm – get this – looking forward to the opportunity.

I have the tools. I have the gumption. I have crappy tires that will likely need inflating sometime soon.


At 8:14 AM, Blogger Softball Slut said...

Well I am proud of you for conquering your fears. I have a horrible fear of inflating my tires too. I just get a boy to do it for me. I also wind up letting more air out of my tires than I let in. I have been known to use several quarters trying to hose up my tires.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Trout said...

Oh for the love of Pete.

Yes, I know it's spelled "gauge" with a "u." I also know that when I wrote this post in Microsoft Word this morning, it seemed to think that word didn't exist. That struck me as odd, but I went with it anyway.

And that's the last time I believe Microsoft Word.

P.S. - I'm leaving it in because at this point most of you have caught it anyway.

P.P.S. - I had yet another grammatical error in the comments section recently but will abstain from pointing it out. It's minor, but one of my pet peeves and therefore pretty ironic.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Rosellen said...

Your problem with air pumps is genuinely genetic. You were endowed with double dose of DNA tire wimpiness. I'm certain that I influenced you during your impressionable pre-pubescent years with my ongoing fear of flat tires on long road trips.

Your grandfather would do the same: in preparation for a trip, he'd walk around the car, kicking each tire to make sure that it wasn't about to deflate.


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