Musings: While Sitting at the Tire Shop

The sun is out and the temps are above freezing and I’m sitting outside the tire shop while the technician puts two new tires on the kid’s van. Well, its my van, but its what the kid drives, so…

The back end of the vehicle has been repaired with a hatch that doesn’t match, and there are visible rivets along the edge of the patch alongside. Hence the moniker “Frankenvan”.

I think the kid was six when we bought the van new to replace the old Dodge I’d been driving. That van’s radio didn’t work anymore and the hatch used to stick midway closed so I’d have to jump on it to get it down. I’m sure that was funny to watch, especially if I was in a skirt and heels for work.

It was strange to buy a brand new car. It was the first time I’d bought one new.

My very first car was a used Chevy Citation hatchback, bought just after I’d graduated high school and started working a pretty much full-time job. My grandfather helped me get a good deal. I got a loan for the 2500 bucks it cost. I’m not sure you can buy a drivable car for that much nowadays.

That first Dodge van was bought soon after the kid was born. It was difficult getting the car seat into the little 2-door Mazda 323 my husband had. We still kept the 323, so we became a 2-car family.

Well, 3 car actually–my husband had a ’68 Javelin to drive around in, too. Still has it in the garage waiting to be made drivable again. But that car story is for another musing.

The technician working to put the tires on the Chrysler is an older man, a little stooped. My husband knows him, just as my husband knows a lot of small-time car guys. We bring our vehicles here because we know him. And he does a good job, though it might take him a little longer than a younger man would take. I watch him inspect the underside of the van when he takes the first tire off, checking for too much rust and holes. He sighs, but seems satisfied that it’s okay.

He’s the only one working here; he’s the only one ever. If he’s sick, the place is closed. But I don’t recall him being sick much.

Because of the pandemic, the chairs are set outside for those waiting for their car. You always have to wait. It’s a small lot and there isn’t really room to drop off a car and come back later. He’s working outside, in the sun, a single jack holding up the back of the van. He chats with me, asking how my hubby is, how the kid is, telling slightly off-color jokes. Nothing to make me upset.

He’s almost finished with the van, putting the last lug nuts on the wheel, when another customer shows up to have work done.

I dig out my credit card to pay, and we wait–and wait–while his contraption finds the internet and finally completes the sale. I ask how his sister is; he chuckles and tells me another joke. I offer a tip in cash (my hubby made sure I had it when I left the house) and he laughs and accepts it.

It was a pleasant just-over-an-hour stint in the sun. I started this post on my phone, finishing when I got home, just to get all the thoughts down.

You don’t get the visiting and camaraderie at a big shop. You sit in their cold waiting room, watching horrible gossip TV on mute, keeping three chairs away from anyone else (it’s a pandemic!).

This was a nice break in my day; it got me out of the house. I got to talk with someone other than my hubby (in person, no less). And I know my business went to help someone local keep their shop doors open.

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