Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adventures in City Driving and The Joys of Les Schwab Tire Center

I love city living so far. On Monday morning I woke up to an absolutely gorgeous sunrise of hot pink and orangeburst that glowed around the city's silhouette. I sleep with my blinds open now because I have a huge panoramic window that looks east, and when it's a nice morning, the light reflects off of the floor-to-ceiling mirrored closets in my room and my whole room wakes up nicely.

I woke up to another color that morning too: the unmistakable yellow of the little envelope into which they slip parking tickets.

As an offical resident of the city of Portland, I've run into a few driving related issues.

The ticket was admittedly totally my fault- a stupid error.

Then, this morning, I was leaving for work, and in an attempt to skip the long light at the botton of the hill on 19th, I tried to pull a U-turn. I was trying to get a big area to turn into, so I pulled towards the right, into a driveway of a parking lot. I apparently misjudged the length of the curb though, and ended up ramming my front right tire into the curb. I am used to driving an Explorer, and so this did not phase me... until I saw a man across the street look at my car curiously as I drove up the hill.

At this point, I was right in front of my building and thought it wise to step out and take a look at the damage: flat tire, scraped wheel. Dixie, I love you, but you're kind of a wimp.

I was a little excited to tackle changing a tire by myself, and started to get out all the necessary pieces from my trunk. The jack, the bar thing that takes off the lug nuts, and my driver's manual sat with me on the curb as my hazards flashed, indicating my state of semi-emergency and illuminating my cluelessness as I tried to jam the wrench thing onto the lug nuts. Totally wrong size. I sat there for a second, thinking I would run into my building and ask my manager for a tool when a man in a blue workman's jumpsuit walked by and asked if I would like some help.

My city-girl confidence gave way immediately to my innate damsel-in-distress gene and I smiled gratefully and accepted his help. Within seconds, he'd eliminated my first problem (those were not lug nuts I was trying to take off... it was a decorative plastic cover over my wheel. I just think that's mean) and then set to work loosening the nuts and jacking up the car while I stood there looking on intently- this was my contribution: watching with an interested expression.

Turns out Rick works in my building and was the guy who fixed my shower earlier this week. As much as I like the guy, you can only hope to get to know your maintenance man so much, else it speaks to the volume of mishaps in your life, right?

Spare tire on, I did the honor of lugging the old dirty one to my trunk, and then arrived late at work.

At lunch, I went to Les Schwab to get it replaced. Let me just say, that I looked forward to this all day, because I love Les Schwab. I love it. Les Schwab is the Nordstrom of the service industry. They are speedy, they are polite, they are efficient, and confident, and professional, and I love them. AND THE POPCORN! I LOVE the popcorn. Not to mention the FREE COFFEE! And the old magazines!
I could not have spent a happier hour and fifteen minutes anywhere, I don't think.



I was just licking my fingers after my third bag of popcorn and second cup of coffee when the nice guy (whom I recognized as a graduate of my high school) summoned me to the front to explain the diagnosis and run my card.

I would just like to extend my gratitude to all the tire-changers of the world who are willing to scrape their knuckles and get their hands dirty to help other people out. I think knowing I could have changed that tire if I wanted to was enough for me- I didn't need to prove it, so thanks, Rick, for being there. And thanks Les Schwab for turning such an inconvenience into the bright spot in my day.

Whoever runs into me for the rest of the day is in for a treat, as I'm in a pay-it-forward kind of mood.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! You are ridiculous and I love it. My sister's husband works at Les Schwab, I will be sure to let him know about your experience!

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