This past Monday, I bought new tires for my car. Now, to be clear, I had already tried to do this once on my own (as in, without my dad’s help) because I am an independent woman who should be able to do things independently…right? In any case, I ordered the wrong size tire and got up on Christmas Eve at 7am for no reason accept to be told, in so many words, by the tire salesman that I am, indeed an idiot. Or at least blind.
So, I defaulted the problem to my dad who has a “tire guy” named Freddie. Dads always have a “guy.” I don’t know exactly how they obtains these “guys” but they always have them. Perhaps the information comes in their orientation packet they receive after they become fathers.
Freddie happens to have a small tire shop in the dregs of a town called Glen Avon – which also happens to be the town where I spent the first 11 years of my life. Glen Avon is a town that was built for growth – for the American Dream of sprawling cookie cutter houses and mini malls. But it never quite got past the grocery store with the Spanish language brand names and the Circle K that perpetually had graffiti on the back wall – no matter how many times the local second grade class painted over it. Despite the dinosaur “museum” (an outside adventure walk consisting of several not-so-impressive replicas of dinosaurs and ice-age mammals) and a few Del Tacos, Glen Avon fell short of expectations…in fact it sank to the bottom of a very stagnant pool.
So this is where I got my tires. My poor old battered tires with over 30,000 miles of wear and tear, were tossed in a pile of used tires – correction: piles, heaps of used tires, stacked all about the building and in a large trailer in the back. Tires meant for re-sale to people looking for something to just get them through the week.
A writer should think of herself as a collector of images. This is my image: tires stacked and labeled, waiting for the next adventure, in a town who’s real adventure never even started. The middle of nowhere with a smell of hot rubber. The taste of stale gumballs from a quarter machine. A black streak of tire dust across the palm of my hand. The smell of my exhaust pipe as I drove back down the 60, my new tires bouncing happily, toward LA, toward the familiar 15 freeway, and away from the Wooly Mammoth molding up on the hill.