The fancy truck I drive tells me the pressure of each tire. Which is good, because tire pressure is not on my priority list…ever…
When the tire “map,” as it were, popped up the other day, it told me all the tires were low by about five pounds.
So I gunned it to warm the air and gain some pressure.
I wish I were kidding.
But the owner’s manual seated within the car pocket subliminally told me I was acting like an irresponsible beginning driver.
“Don’t ignore my warnings. I’m high-tech; you’re not; you’ll lose,” the truck announced to my chagrin, because it’s right. It’s always right.
Besides. I needed gas. And an Icy Drink.
Under the guise of Adult Vehicle Maintenance, I pulled into a prairie 7-11, one so busy that it’s hazardous. But it has the best Icy Drinks: just the right juice/ice combination so important when enjoying a frozen beverage.
“Bubs,” I said, as I pulled up to the air compressor. “I’m going to leave the key on, and you’re going to read the gauge,” which I displayed with my best parade wave at the dashboard control, “And tell me when the pressure number reaches 41. Okay?”
(Note that I was so proud of myself for using correct vernacular instead of pointing and using nonsensical words ending with “-icky” or “-ingie,” as in: “I’m going to push a button to get air to squirt into the wheel…valve…thingie.”)
“Okay,” he proudly respond as the driver door slammed shut behind me at the precise moment the radio volume escalated to a level left behind with high school and days of “cruising.”
“Turn it down!” I barked, indeed using a pointer finger to enunciate my point. And I frowned; it was All Mom there for a minute, though I really like Imagine Dragons and my toes betrayed me. They were thankfully hidden by the enormous truck body so I could retain my Mom Status and get away with a wiggle in my butt.
At the first tire, the one most perilously close to empty though not low enough to have caused any true alarm, I unscrewed the valve cap and proceeded to push air through the stem. Down about five pounds? I’ll count to…10…
“What’s it read?” I yelled in to my child, ever vigilant to his mother’s voice.
“Turn down the radio!” I repeated atop a window bang. Things were getting heated.
“What?” came the reply over the stilled air.
“The gauge, on the dashboard, what does it read now?”
I waited a beat.
“Okay, what about now?”
“It’s been two seconds!” I yell, rising to stroll quickly to the open window and wave my rubber hose dealie in my son’s perplexed face. “What does the gauge read now?”
“36,” he said, his eyes wide but sparkly, because, hey, I was waving a hose in his face, and yeah, that’s pretty funny, but fortunately he didn’t laugh. Smart kid. Mostly.
“You didn’t even turn your head and look!” I noted loudly.
“Oh,” he mumbled, then turned to read the number. “38.”
I paused. I’d counted to 10 and only gained 2 pounds.
“Alright,” I muttered, more to myself and the guzzintas in my head than to my boy. “Fine. I’ll count to 20 then, sucker.”
And I did.
And after a similar verbal exchange as previously, I heard my boy say, “It says 45.”
“Yeah. 45…is that good?”
“Yes,” I answered. “If I were going pontooning in this thing.”
“Never mind, never mind,” I said, canceling the ensuing conversation post haste.
Did I want to air the others up to 45, stay balanced, would that work??
No, no…I’m kidding. I knew the situation was overinflated, never fear.
With a fingernail, I proceeded to release some of my hard-won air.
“What’s it say now?”
“Yeah, uuuummm…I’m looking…”
“I don’t believe the gauges have moved.” My spirits were low. It was a hot day. I’d been at work all day. I had no Icy with which to cool my ire. Things were dicey, I’ll admit.
“Still says 45.”
“But I let out so much air,” I said to no one in particular, because of course my son had found a Big Nate book in the previous half second and cared not one whit for my predicament.
“Fine,” I said, again surly. “I’ll show you how to let it out, ya stupid ol’ stupid ol’…” (Insert any swearing you like in there; I’m sure it’s as accurate as any illustration would be.)
“Okay,” I said after letting the tire relieve itself. “Howzabout now?”
Oh, sweet Lord in Heaven, he’s so cute…don’t let me use this air hose inappropriately, I prayed as I stomped my unhappy self toward the driver window and popped my head to check for myself.
“It looks like a big red butt,” my son whispered in my ear.
And sure enough, I’d lowered the pressure so much that now the tire map glowed rouge and indicated with a decidedly butt-like icon that indeed, the tire was low, low, low.
“What now?” Bubs asked.
“I get rid of the butt.”
I stomped back into place, shot air into the air like I knew what I was doing — all the while relying on my bird like instincts to tell me when air pressure was optimal — and released the hose when any good bird would.
“What’s it say now?” I called for what I hoped was the final time.
“Perfect!” I screamed at anyone within listening range. “Mama earned an Icy Drink.”
I wrapped the hose around the waist of that delightfully inexpensive air dispensing machine, stormed into the store toward the frozen concoction dispenser and filled two cups to the brim.
“I got no trouble until the butt glows red.” I’m gonna print it on a bumper sticker.