All right… if I’m being 100% honest, it didn’t start with a skunk. The skunk comes in closer to the middle. Maybe the end. I’m not sure how detailed I’m gonna get with this. Anyway, sorry about the click bait.
This story actually begins with the beginning of fall. No, not that weird day in September that the powers that be claim is “officially” the first day of fall. I’m talking about when it actually started feeling like fall around these parts and stopped hitting highs in the mid 90s.
It was about this time, roughly a week and a half ago, when cooler temperatures finally settled in. I noticed a little light on my dashboard which indicated that there was something wrong with my tire pressure. But since this light usually comes on when it starts getting colder, I ignored it.
Several days later, I noticed that one of my tires was low. Guess I shouldn’t have ignored that light, huh?
I figured I had a leak somewhere, so I put more air in the tire and kept on driving. I’d get around to it eventually.
I’ve put air in it a couple more times since, including yesterday afternoon before making a quick trip down to Blacksburg. The tire held up fine for the drive there and I eyeballed the wheel once more before heading back home. Looked fine.
On the way back, a skunk waddled out in front of me. It was dark. I couldn’t avoid it. And I ran over it.
I don’t feel that bad. Skunks are basically smelly badgers. But, to be fair, I didn’t try to hit it. In fact, at the speed I was going, I slightly impressed myself by maneuvering the car so that my tires wouldn’t run over the skunk. I hoped my car was just high enough off the ground that I’d miss the animal completely.
But then I heard the soft bang under my car. Yeah… I hit it.
I was a little surprised, at first, that I didn’t smell anything horrible. But that was just at first. The odor kicked in about 30 seconds after the fact. I thought for sure that smell was going to follow me around for a week. But I stopped noticing it by the time I got home. So, either I overestimated the power of the skunk stink, or I’ve grown nose blind to it.
When I got home and parked, the tire still looked to be in decent shape. That’s not how it was when I left for work this morning. Examining the tire, I saw that it wasn’t flat… but it sure was a lot lower than I felt comfortable driving around on. Even if I was heading straight to a gas station with an air pump.
So I decided to do something I haven’t done in 15 years. I changed the tire and put on the spare.
I was kind of proud of myself, considering I was doing this in a semi-dark parking garage while leaning against a stranger’s Lincoln. Imagine my surprise when I successfully changed the tire and saw that the spare, too, was flat.
The spare was almost as low as the legit tire, but I felt a little better about driving it to an air pump than I did with the other tire. So that’s what I did. And that worked well enough to get me to my mom’s house, where my stepdad offered to figure out where the leak was coming from on my real tire and then plug it up for me. For free. I like free.
We poured water all over that stupid tire and couldn’t find the hole anywhere. We had to resort to filling up his recycling bin with water because it was the only container we had that was large enough to hold the tire. And there it was… tiny little air bubbles escaping through a tiny little hole.
There was no nail. There was no screw. There was no oddly strong staple. Just a tiny little hole.
Jerry didn’t feel comfortable making the hole bigger to plug it himself, and I don’t blame him. So we went to a nearby tire shop where they made the hole bigger and plugged it for a grand total of $12.
Remember the last time I had car problems? That wound up costing me nearly $3,600. This was much better.
Look… about the skunk. I didn’t go back to see if it survived. I can only assume that, if the blow from my car’s undercarriage didn’t kill it, the truck barreling down the road behind me probably finished it off. I’m sure it didn’t suffer.