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The least inconvenient auto breakdown I’ve ever had

November 15, 2011

So yesterday, I drove from Montpelier to White River Junction, VT, about an hour away. (Great meeting with ceramic artist Eric O’Leary; may lead to collaboration on a book project.) All well.

Then this morning I get up to give my wife a ride to the bus stop, about three miles away. And when we’re almost there, I get a flat tire. In the middle of downtown, right outside the Uncommon Market, which has great coffee and tasty breakfast sandwiches.

Wife walks three blocks to the bus. I whip out the cellphone and call AAA, then go in the Market and have breakfast. Sit on a bench inside the Market, looking out the window at my car.

About the time I finish my coffee, the tow truck from Bob’s Sunoco pulls up. He hoists my car on his flatbed and drives it (and me) to my usual repair shop, AutoCraftsmen.

Pardon the product placements. It’s not that I’m getting any kickbacks; I just appreciate all these businesses. Great service, nice people.

A few minutes before 8, they open up for the day. They’ve got a full schedule, but they sneak my car in first. Now, I should explain that my car is 14 years old and has 280,000 miles on it. It has a full-sized spare tire is mounted outside on the rear hatch. The tire’s been sitting there, untouched, since the car was new.

The mechanic takes it off, and — mirabile dictu — it still works! It holds air, the rubber hasn’t turned to dust. And I drive home. The whole experience cost about an hour and a half of my time; I had a nice breakfast while I waited; the tire had the decency to not go flat while I was on the freeway yesterday; and, to top it all off, I already had an appointment the day after tomorrow to put the snow tires on the car, so I don’t have to worry about new tires until spring.

If you ever have to have a flat tire, I strongly recommend that you do it exactly this way.

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