Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekend Adventures

Last Saturday during my shift I decided to make a run for some food. As I have mentioned before, while I don't do this nightly, it's not uncommon for someone at my job to make a food run while a fellow dispatcher watches their desk during said food run. I actually went to the same place where I encountered one of the crazy people mentioned in a recent post. However, this time, everything went smoothly at the restaurant. Then came the drive back to work.

The street I was driving on curves as it approaches my office building. I don't know if I misjudged the difference or didn't turn soon enough or whatever, but I ended up hitting the curb with the side of my tires, causing a flat. I was right next to a motel when this happened so I pulled into the parking lot to get out and check on the car. I called work to let them know I'd be a bit delayed returning due to the flat...then when I got out, I discovered I had managed to flatten BOTH the tires on the right side of the car. No other damage done, at least, but hey, that takes talent! (Interestingly enough, I got a flat near the same location about two years ago also caused by hitting a curb. I think I need to drive in the lane farther away from the curb from now on.)

Anyhow, I obviously couldn't make the car drivable even if I'd called roadside assistance, but I was at this point walking distance to work, which was less than half a mile away. I checked with the front desk that it was OK to leave my car there for a few hours and walked the rest of the way to work. The person watching my desk said that I made good time changing my flat tire and I explained that no, I'd had to park the car and walk.

I walked back to the motel after work. Since it was a Saturday night, I knew that no tire places would be open, so I decided to just rent a room at the motel rather than have the car towed to my place, and then towed again to a tire place. They gave me a decent room rate but unfortunately my airline didn't have any special price with them to get a really good rate. It was a nice room, though, and they did have a pretty good breakfast the next morning.

After the evening's events with my car I was in the mood for some refreshing malt beverages, so I asked if the bar next door was OK, not having ever been there. The clerk at the hotel said it wasn't dangerous or anything, but that it was an "alternative lifestyles" bar. Great. The motel was close to a nightlife area but the clerk advised taking a taxi if I went over there due to the surrounding neighborhood being a bit rough.

I really debated sharing this next bit or not but I decided it was too funny not to include: I'd never been to a gay bar, but I figured, hey, how bad can it be? If you're laughing reading that last remark, you are right!

I walked into a pretty crowded establishment...it was Saturday night, I guess. All of the bartenders were shirtless. One of them touched me on the shoulder and said, "Can I get you something, hon?" I ordered a Miller Lite, which I got overcharged for. Seriously, $4 for a bottle? Anyhow, I paid with a five dollar bill and didn't get any change back, which I found annoying...I would have left the dollar as a tip, most likely, but I don't like it being assumed either.

There was a drag queen doing some kind of standup act in the main bar area, and I decided to retreat to the patio. I found an empty table and drank my beer. Nobody bothered me or hit on me, but I decided I definitely wasn't going to be able to relax and drink my sorrows away at that place. As I was already paying for a motel room, and I knew I'd need to pay for two new tires the next day, I didn't feel like shelling out more money for a cab (or waiting for a cab at that bar, either) so I decided to risk getting mugged and walk over to the nightlife area I mentioned previously.

Actually, I'm familiar enough now with that neighborhood I knew which areas to avoid, and I didn't even see anyone until I got over to the area with all the restaurants and bars. The one person I saw that I was a bit suspicious of (looked like a possible panhandler) actually just said, "Hey, big guy, how ya doing?" when I walked by. I imagine if I'd got into a conversation with him he might have started his sales pitch but I just said "Fine" and kept on walking.

I found an uncrowded bar with a large tap selection and proceeded to enjoy a few Stella drafts (which were only slightly more expensive, and far superior, to the Miller Lite I'd had earlier.) I walked back to the motel about 2 AM and once again had no problems. When I told the clerk and security guard I'd walked back they were kind of surprised...the security guard said, "Damn, man, you OK?" But honestly, nothing scary happened at all.

I called roadside assistance in the morning when I woke up (at least that didn't cost me anything since I have a plan through Verizon) and they took my car to a tire place nearby that I had been to before and I knew was open on Sundays. I opted to get two new but not fancy tires and have the alignment checked. Of course, they discovered I needed new struts also, and a seal in my engine that needed replacing. I went ahead and got the work done, but after already dropping a lot of money on my car recently getting it tuned and the air conditioner fixed, this didn't improve my mood any. They did throw in a free alignment, at least. As my car wasn't going to be ready until the afternoon, I took the bus back to my apartment to change and shower since I had to be back at work before two P.M.

I took a cab to work so I could get there in time and got a REALLY rude cab driver but I got there on time at least. The tire place did call and verify my final price and that my car was ready...I told them I'd have to pick it up in the morning, and they said that was fine. I took the bus home, and then in the morning, I took the bus again back to the tire place, paid them lots of money, and drove home.

I do like my car but I've really had to spend a lot of money on it lately. Still, it's running well now. I got an oil change done on my days off and got it washed, and there really isn't anything I can think of that it needs mechanically at the moment...so I will just keep my fingers crossed for now. I decided to include a picture here (not created by me) of my general reaction to the flats, and then how I felt at the tire shop the next day. Hat tip to Dariush for the photo link.



Other than my car, things have been going pretty well as of late. My nephew came to town for a visit and stayed at my place for a couple days last week. We had a good time and hung out a lot with my Mom as well. Then this past week, an old friend from high school I'd reconnected with on Facebook came to town, and we went out for dinner on my days off. For all of its issues with privacy and so forth, Facebook is awesome for getting in touch with old friends.

I go back to work today, and I'm hoping for a less dramatic and expensive workweek this time. Time will tell!