Today I did a man’s work. Something sweaty, hard, full of friction and immensely fulfilling. No I didn’t provide for my children or pleasure a woman it was something much more fundamental than that. They say money makes the world go round some say love does and that’s an argument that goes round and round. Instead of making something that makes the world go round I fixed something that makes cars go round and I don’t mean accidents, I changed a tyre. Yes take a moment to marvel at my masculinity. It oozes out; it oozes out so much so that if that car drove behind a puddle of it (and there are puddles of it all over the city) I could cause that accident.
The situation was a flat tyre on a car that my father needed to use that morning. He dispatched my brother to get a Jake, a device that doesn’t survive for long in any household. My brother set off in his pyjamas, an outfit that consisted of a pair of shorts hastily thrown over his boxers to hide his masculinity, mine would have needed trousers, but enough with that I wouldn’t like to put off my male readers (all one of you.)
Back to the story at hand I had to change a tyre. Well my brother came back with the Jake and w got to work, being firm believers in division in labor I let him raise the car not that I didn’t want to. The power that it gives you consider; a car is a few tonnes. A while back I lived somewhere where I had to carry 40 kgs of water a day, my muscles ached, my chest heaved, and my breathing got more even as I was filled with this sense of accomplishment. Now, raising a few tonnes would be like climbing Mount Kenya after only going up long’o'not. Its not that I don’t understand the mechanics of a Jake(well it’s a bit of that, if I begin believing spell-check I don’t even know how to spell it.) it’s just that you’re moving a few tonnes. There is this thing that comes with role reversal, taking care of the parents who took care of you, teaching the master who once lorded it over you or even moving the car that usually moves you. And on this tyre change I did not get to do this.
Instead I got to loosen the screws. I took the thing that loosens the screws, am sure it’s not called a screwdriver and am reasonably sure that at that size they stop being referred to as screws. Let’s call them Tinas this is just so I can call the device a turner, maybe an Ike, ok. An Ike cos it sounds like its hurting those Tinas as it turns them. So I take this Ike and I put in the Tina, at first it doesn’t fit(I hate when that happens), then I realize it’s the wrong hole(I hate when that happens). I quickly change tract- it’s like changing track only that it has something to do with friction.
It fits into the hole and I try to turn it. It doesn’t work. The tyre is screwed on tight. I remembered the righty tighty lefty loosey thing so I know am turning it right or left as the meaning may dictate. The last time a tyre was changed in my house, when we put it back on we turned those screws so tight we jumped on the Ike and made sure it was good and never coming off, when we were done with that, a neighbour of ours came over. A big guy with a drawl, he’s from cote d’ voire and he walks around with these two German shepherds. He wears a vest without looking ridiculous. And he talks slowly, so very slowly like all the time in the world is already his and he just lent it out and is receiving interest on that principal He gets his hand on the Ike and turns it effortlessly. I have to say here that that time all I did was raise the car. Anyway the point of this little aside is so you know the Tinas are tight, really tight. Some guys like them like that but I don’t like the wailing.
When changing a tyre, when turning a Tina there is a wailing that comes along with tit. Have you ever heard metal scream? If not you never changed a tyre. The sound is worse than chalk on a board and you can feel it through your hands. Sound passes faster through solids than it does through air so its much more intense. Anyway I get the Tinas loose (a few minutes with me usually does that). I get it off.
I take the tyre out and in collaboration with my brother we begin the process of putting the tyre back in its holes. It doesn’t fit. We try our best to do it again. Then we use the car to lift the Jake, probably the other way round. And try again. Its still not high enough to put the tyre in. its at that point that I remember that new cars don’t have carburetors- these are the things in old cars that perform the same function as appendix in unevolved humans. Many people should be wondering what a carburetor or lack thereof has to do with changing a tyre. Nothing. I just thought of it right then and wanted to include it here because I love to educate.
Well finally we slant the tyre first into the lower holes and stand it up so it fits perfectly. That’s always a moment for a deep breath or a beer if you have it. A study was done on the calming effects of a beer over counting backwards from 10, the found that nearly 87% of people were calmer after a beer than after counting backwards from 10. When the study was dissected in detail it was found that 13% of the population can drink a beer in less than 9 seconds. That’s more education, though this time its in doctoring study results; always use prime numbers.
It was pretty easy to finish the job. I came back to the house and put on a we were four track-there have been no studies yet on the feeling of accomplishment one gets from listening to we were four over drinking beer. It was then that my father walks in with shoes that need brushing and looks at me saying.
“You look like you haven’t done anything this morning.”