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9 - 27
"May You Live to be a Thousand-years old."
Today I met the real-life equivalent of the luggage salesman in Joe vs. The Volcano. If you havent seen ityou shouldhe is the guy that sells Joe his steamer trunks that save his life. When Joe walks into the store he asks Joe if hes thought much about luggage.
"It is the central preoccupation of my life" states the salesman.
Man, this is how life ought to be. There are too many people wandering through life on auto pilot, just getting through each day and waiting around for something good to happen. As birthdaychallenge might say, they are afraid to live their lives. Well, not the luggage salesman. And not the guy I met today.
I had a suspiciously bad tire so before I left I went to my tire guy and he assured me that the tire would make it to Texas and back. However, as I cruised through the Mojave Desert the Lizzy was hugging the road about as well as Triton TR-22 bass boat.
I pulled into Needles to get gas and was greeted by a man in his late 50s, who began to take an interest in my car. He noted the bad tire right away and said he thought I ought to put on the spare. I acted a little suspicious, which I was, so he showed me a spot where the tire had a crack and the belt was about to come through. Then he said that the belt had broken on one of my front tires. Now I WAS suspicious because I had never heard of such a thing but, sure enough, there was a depression down the middle of the tire, which probably explained the Lizzy's poor handling.
"How far ya going?" he asked.
"Not on this tire, youre not."
Now I was stuck in this little town and the only tires that the guy had for my car were 125 bucks apiece.
" I dont sell those rubber bands youve got on your car. Not out here. Its too damn hot "
I hesitated, thinking of Billy Bob Thornton's character in U-Turn.
"Ill even knock ten bucks off each tire and put them on for free."
"Done." I really had no choice. I thought that was the end of it and hoped that these were actually decent tires when he said,
"Go on inside and grab yourself something to drink. Tell the girl at the counter not to charge you. Then come on out, I want to show you something."
What I got was a lesson in tires. This guy really likes tires. So do his employees. I mean, they REALLY like them! He proceeded to show me what every number on a tire means, and just in case I thought he was Joshin me, he would then reference back to his manual and show me where it was stated. He went on about pride in todays workplace and how no one gives a damn anymore. While one of his workers put the tire on, he went over the whole operation with me, then showed me some examples of the tires you get in sets of 4 for $100.
"These things blow out in less than 10,000 miles and people dont get why." He said while pointing to the numbers hed just explained to me.
Of course Firestone came up,
"Thing is, the same thing happened to them back in the 70s. Thats when Bridgestone bailed them out. I bet they wish they hadnt." he said, shaking his head a looking rather sad. Then, just in case I didnt believe me, he showed me an old newspaper article taped to the wall. They wall was like the wall of a tire museum.
After his employee lowered my car I went inside to pay and noticed everyone gathered around my bike on the back of the car. Its a new bike so I wasnt surprised. However, when I came out they all looked at me,
"I see youre runnin Michelins on this thing. How do they handle "
Santa Barbara, CA
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