The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


My tire, that is. Yesterday turned out to be a very long day indeed. It all started with a warning light on the dashboard of my car. You may remember that the car was purchased brand new in March of '06. I have never in my life owned or driven a brand new car, so I have been extremely gentle and loving and cautious of my multi-ton metal baby. The universe has rewarded my care by throwing a tree at her during the December storm, but I can save that diatribe for another day. Yesterday the issue was the light.

Nor was it a logical sort of light. If it were up to me, warning lights on dashboards would all be little words that light up and say things like "look under the hood at that little whirly thing" or "that clicky thing is acting a bit strange but you don't need to panic" or "find a person in greasy overalls as soon as possible". You know. This, unfortunately, was a tiny exclamation point in parentheses with a little jagged line underneath.


What in the world could that mean? Even better, I noticed it at about 7:15 in the morning as I was driving down the hill to go to school to take a chemistry test at 8:00. I could not miss it, and I could not be late. But this was an exclamation point! (Yeah, one of those.) To me, this sounded serious. This sounded as though the accompanying words might well be "run for cover because this baby's gonna blow!" I was concerned. We need to understand that the definition of concerned is full-scale freaked out lunatic panic, akin to finding a moth in the cashmere. I was definitely concerned.

A note here: I am always deeply concerned and vexed by lights on my dashboard, to the point of utter irrationality. Even if I know it's no big deal, such as when the service engine light came on automatically shortly after I had the work done and I knew it was only because it does so based on mileage and has absolutely no way of knowing I had the work done and so on, I still panicked. That time, I actually tried to explain to the light that I'd already had the oil changed and everything was fine. Same thing the few times I've ever let a tank of gas get low enough for the light to go on. I'll drive along saying "I know, I know! You've told me! I'm on the way to the gas station RIGHT NOW!" Oddly, this doesn't help. Conversely, if the light goes off, even if I know that the problem isn't solved, I'll feel better. Weird does not begin to describe my attitude about cars.

So here I am with this weird light glaring at me, wondering what in the hell it could represent (the jagged line vaguely resembled the back of an alligator...but I was pretty sure I didn't have a "You've driven over an alligator" warning light....never mind that they're not all that common in the northwest corner of Washington anyway). I can't go home, because I absolutely cannot miss or be late for the test. I'm terrified that the car will blow up. I am officially, a wreck. Finally, I got to the long stoplight at the bottom of the hill, fumbled the owner's manual out of the glovebox, and tried to locate the light and the possible solution to my predicament. (I am forced to wonder here why the owner's manual must be as long as a bestselling novel and zipped into an unwieldy leather case that must be turned sideways and balanced on the steering wheel to read...someone's idea of a sick joke, I expect.) My eyes were darting back and forth between the traffic light, the dashboard alligator warning light, and the manual. It was not an awesome happy moment.

Finally, I learned that the alligator was in fact, a tire. The light is a "tire pressure warning" light. There is no other information other than to check the tire pressure, which I decided was probably not best done in a moving vehicle (although I did consider yelling out the window at the car next to me to just "see if any of them look squishy, would you?!"). I got to school, walked around the car, and sure enough: the left front tire looked low. In the sense that the word "goodyear" was half invisible as the tire sank wearily into the concrete. Quite low, really. And now I had another predicament: I had no idea how long it had been leaking. It seemed quite possible that I could come out at noon to find all was quite well; I could also come out to find the car sitting on a rim and the offending tire pouting and refusing to cooperate. This is bad. It is also far from ideal testing conditions. I finally decided that I had no choice so went into school and calmly took my tests (the sense of the word "calm" that means: I sweated and panicked and tried to silently bargain with the universe for the tire to be still driveable and in exchange I would check them every single day and never swear at the car again and never again spend too much money on yarn. I was desperate--you have to remember that.)

I don't know which of the things I offered did the trick, but the tire survived the morning, and it even survived the trip over to Discount Tire to have the lovely gentlemen there take a look at it for me. Whereupon I got one of those looks after explaining that "the left front tire looks a little low to me" and they guy came out and eyeballed it and said "A little? Yeah, it looks a LITTLE low to me, too." It was 16 PSI, as it turns out, which I guess doesn't stand for 16 kinds of Perfectly Sweet Internally.

Long story short (too late, I know), I spent much of the afternoon staring at back copies of Field and Stream while the tire gods (for so they've become to me, and not just because they fixed it for free, although that didn't hurt) pulled a phillips head screw out of Imelda's tire. (I can't explain why my car is Imelda...she just is.) And no one knew how to turn off the warning light so naturally I drove home explaining to Imelda that I had already taken care of the tire, that I genuinely appreciated the warning, I did, but that she no longer needed to warn me and for the love of wool stop telling me the damned tire is low and how the hell do I turn off the freaking light??? (So much for not swearing at the car. Which is okay; the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival is this weekend, and I'm pretty sure I won't stop spending too much money on yarn, either.)

I finished the crayon socks last night at Knit for Life and I was going to put up a picture...but it really does look pretty much like the other one (I think this is probably good). I'm going to stay home today (I don't have any classes on Tuesdays, and Imelda and I are taking a brief break from one another) and possibly start a mosaic sock. It looks a bit will be good for my relationship with my car for me to have something else to swear at.


  • At 10:34 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    It's probably just as well you didn't have my first thought after reading your description of the light: "Ohmigod, is it maybe the brakes?!" Little jagged lines tend to have me thinking about brakes, for some reason. Glad it wasn't them, what with driving downhill! And after this, Imelda's name makes perfect sense. Imelda = shoes = tires. Logical.

    Congrats on finishing the crayon socks; have fun starting the mosaic socks. (I look forward to totally apeshit progress updates [g]) Yarn therapy is always good, especially after dashboard light frights. Hope you did well on the test! And you must least you didn't have to worry over what to blog about again. ::runs for the hills::

    (snurgles to Ed. no, I have no idea what I mean by that. I get silly around cats.)

  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger beckie said…

    Oh, I have so many flat tire stories....

    Sorry about your troubles-I hate those lights on the dashboard! I totally agree with you, they should install lights that tell you want is wrong! It would make life sooo much simplier!

    Congrats on getting the socks done!

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Jo said…

    please, please, please lets see the finished pair of crayon socks, possibly modelled on your perfectly fine pins(legs), I've got a great tale of tyre woe to share, too!

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    I'd be thinking protective clothing for attending Medrona Fest to fondle the vendor's wares...just in case it was the promise to..."never again spend too much money on yarn" ?!?!? I'd be keeping an eye out for angry Fibre Faeries.......yep.

  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    My 2005 Lancer is named Lorelai, as in Gilmore. Imelda might be the perfect name for yours: sounds like she has a tire fetish, LOL.

  • At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Gretch said…

    I can't believe this. I didn't really think things like screwdrivers can imbed themselves somehow in tires. Until. One evening, driving home from my hour commute, just past the last tollbooth (back when you had to actually stop and throw money in), I heard a terrible hissing, pulled over and a nice trucker man (at least he didn't pull out the chainsaw I imagined he had in his cab)told me I had a crescent wrench lodged in my tire. How does one acquire a crescent wrench while driving down a highway? Same with a phillips screw driver. Life's little curiousities, I guess.


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