With apologies to tire dealers and the people who love them, I hate buying tires.
I don’t like thinking about my tires. I imagine they are always about to explode, cause injury, or cost me a fortune (possibly all three in rapid succession). Daniel and I were loading up my truck for a weekend canoeing when he got a close look at my tires. This is never a good thing. One way I avert anxiety about my tires is to never really look at them closely.
“You need new front tires,” he said. The last person who told me this was my friend Andy almost two years earlier and he got an earful.
“Uh huh,” I responded in a tone that I hoped indicated the subject was closed.
“No, I mean it. You need new front tires now,” he insisted. “You can’t be driving this truck north with these tires. Look.”
He then proceeded to insert a penny between what was left of my treads. The top of Mr. Lincoln’s hair was apparently not supposed to show. All of our beloved former president’s coif was clearly visible. (This just demonstrates, in my opinion, how unscientific this whole tire business really is. If our 16th president had a fluffier hairdo, I could go for another few months without buying new tires.)
The view of Abe’s hair eventually convinced me and I went to the tire dealership. There was a big sign posted that said they would only install a pair of new tires in the rear. But when the man at the dealership took a look at my tires, he said they would not move the back tires to the front because they were too worn. I could buy two new tires, but it would mean keeping the two that were worn out and replacing the ones where Lincoln’s hair was not yet showing.
I didn’t know if I should get mad and walk out or believe them and buy four tires.
So I did what most women (and probably most people) would do: I got mad— and then I bought four tires.
As I grumbled off with my four new tires, I wondered why I was so particularly peeved. Yes, I am completely ignorant about most things having to do with my truck and I don’t want to be taken advantage of. Yet I don’t really believe that people generally take advantage of ignorance and I don’t believe tire dealers are less ethical than the general public. To be completely honest, it was a relief to know that I would now have a respite from the growing certainty that I was driving around on bald tires. The truth was, as little as I wanted to admit it, I did need new tires and I probably did not get robbed buying these.
There are simply realities of life that I prefer to pretend do not exist. My aging truck (along with my aging body) would be at the top of the list. Being a perpetual optimist can come with an annoying downside: an unwillingness to look at unpleasant realities and deal with them.
I drove north with the canoe strapped on my truck. I was glad I had new tires and glad I could breathe new life into my old vehicle. I took a moment to be thankful and then took one more moment. I promised I would not be so awful the next time someone— anyone— suggested to me that things were not quite as I would like them to be.
Till next time,