Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don't assume... uh, sometimes.

e risk in assuming”

Do you have any idea how many assumptions you make in a day? It’s a lot. In the millions. I checked.

When you’re on the highway, you’re assuming the silver Hyundai Sonata coming your way isn't going to swerve at the last minute and hit you. Could happen, but you’re assuming it won’t or else you’d pull over on the shoulder of the road.

When I order a hamburger, I’m assuming the 14 year-old fry-cook didn’t stick the meat patty under his arm while picking his spatula up off the floor. I’m fairly sure it happens, but I like to assume that it didn’t. Helps me digest better.

Each night I assume that Kay is not going to sneak out of bed, grab the cast iron skillet and crack my skull as I sleep. The girl has elbowed me, kneed me and stole my covers, but in 39 years, five months and 11 days, she’s yet to crack my skull with a skillet.

So, I’m assuming she won’t. Obviously she could’ve spent four decades making me feel safe enough to drop my defenses, so some nights I climb into bed with just a smidgen of reasonable doubt. What husband doesn’t?

But, let’s not go off on the how-to-protect-yourself-while-sleeping tangent. We’ll never get back to the topic at hand, which is the assumption that your spare has air.

That’s right. That’s what I’ve been leading up to. Spare tires. I got the idea, yesterday, while vacuuming the back of my Highlander. I wash and vacuum Kay’s car about four times a year. Religiously. Usually, I vacuum first and then wash. This time, I washed and then vacuumed. I don’t know what got into me.

After vacuuming the hatchback part of the car, I decided to lift up the carpet. I hadn’t done that since we bought the thing back in 2002. Beneath the carpet was a hidden compartment. I looked around to make sure no one was spying on me, and then raised the lid on that bubba.

Hokey smokes! It was the spare tire. A nine-year-old brand new tire. To the right of it was another compartment that housed the jack. I had never even seen the jack. I assumed I had one, but never took time to search for it.

There was also a compartment near the taillight. I hoped it would contain some bottle caps or loose spoons. There’s a rattle in the back of the Highlander that bothers only me. Kay doesn’t mind, nor does our mechanic.

Unfortunately, the compartment was empty. I was thinking of putting a couple of candy bars back there for when I get in a really bad traffic jam, but they wouldn’t make it past the second stop light.

Anyway, before closing the hatch, I mashed on the spare. Another of my wild and crazy moments. That thing was flat. Void of air. It didn’t even make a pssst sound when I pressed on the valve stem. How long had it been flat? I don’t know. May have come that way. When I take the thing in for it’s oil change and 173 point check, I always assumed one of the points is to check the spare. I can now assume it’s not.

We’ve driven the thing for 108,000 miles, give or take, and during a chunk of those miles we might as well have been spareless. All the while, I assumed I was not.

We’ve been in the middle of nowhere in that car. Before we owned a cell phone, even! We’ve driven over hill and dale with the Plilers sitting in the backseat. And, no spare! (Dale is located just north of Scooberton.)

Say we had a flat. “Hey, Kay, get the owners manual out of the glove compartment and find out where the jack is. Freeman why don’t you get back there and find the spare?” Freeman would’ve killed me when he found the spareless air. I mean the—You know what I mean. Virginia has come close to killing me for a lot less than making her walk 47 miles.

This airless spare condition is testimony to the quality of tires that are out there. Back in the day, we got a flat about once a month. Each time we got into our old truck, we’d check the oil and then the spare. A broken bottle could give you a flat tire back then. It might still do it, but I don’t get a chance to run over that much glass anymore.

I ran over a dead bird once and got a flat tire. I’m not making this up. I didn’t intentionally hit it, but boy did I get it just right. The guy who fixed the flat said it wasn’t uncommon. I think he was lying just to make it sound like he had seen it all. “Yeah, you’ve got a warbler flat there. Yellow-rumped looks like to me.

Tires are so much better now. Aren’t they better? As you’ve no doubt discerned, we’ve yet to have a flat in the Highlander. And, that’s a good thing, or else I would’ve written this article years ago and it would’ve been so much more interesting.

Especially if the Plilers had been with us. They would’ve killed me. Assuming Freeman could find the tire iron. I’m assuming it’s hidden under the jack.


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  1. FYI, those candy bars would melt in less than five minutes. You'd be one the side of the road, licking the compartment... which would be an absolutely perfect Kodak moment!

  2. Oops... "on" the side of the road, not "one". I HATE when that happens!!!