January 16th, 2013

krazy koati

It's the only way to live, in cars

Back to more current stuff. My car's got one of those tire pressure sensors and the warning light was on. I know sometimes when the car is cold, and it's been cold, the light goes on just because the tire naturally contracts in the cold. But last week we had a nice warm stretch and the light was still on, so, I checked and my pressure gage said the rear passenger tire was very flat. I filled up to 32 psi and ... the warning light didn't turn off to indicate the pressure was fine, but it takes a couple miles driving for it to go off normally and I just didn't have any reason to drive that far.

Today I checked the pressure and it was flat again, about 24 psi. I called the local Scion dealer and found they could take me right away. When I pointed out the tire was barely 5,000 miles old and that I had a string of earlier problems with rear passenger tire pressure --- I didn't realize how many until I looked at old service reports --- they looked more thoughtfully and noticed the wheel rim was a bit bent. They speculated it was from a bad pothole or something like that, and so, it'd either need replacing. There was some confusion about whether my wheels were original stock --- I have the limited-edition Scion tC for that year so the wheels are not the standard-issue --- but they put in the order and I resigned myself to that sort of depression which accompanies finding that your car needs repair.

That's not fixed yet, but my mood is a bit improved by the sort of thing that shows why I'm perpetually either cheerful or flighty depending on your interpretation. I went to McDonald's to drown my sorrows in a McRib, and went to the second storey because why would you eat on the first floor of a two-storey McDonald's? I sat at a table I realized had the little wheelchair-access dot on it. The McDonald's hasn't got an elevator. The only way to the second floor is through the twisting stairwell or, I suppose, being winched up and through the windows. Thus my gloom was, if not dispelled, at least halted.

(Yes, I know, the restaurant was likely complying with reasonable rules that a certain number of tables on every floor be set aside for handicapped-preferential seating, and that not everyone who needs special accommodation is in a wheelchair, and that the wheelchair symbol is a convenient and unmistakable shorthand. But the image of getting the wheelchair up to the second floor so someone can eat a McRib with altitude delighted me.)

Trivia: Thomas MacDonald, head of the federal Bureau of Public Roads, boycotted meetings of the Lincoln Highway Association after the committee decided in 1921 that the highway's surface should be reinforced concrete ten inches thick. (MacDonald held that the road surface should fit local conditions more precisely and that a number of materials might be satisfactory. It must be noted, the concrete road formula proposed had been in use only two years.) Source: The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers who Created the American Superhighways, Earl Swift.

Currently Reading: Down In Jersey, Earl Schenck Miers.

PS: Arthur Christmas and the Least Common Multiple, because that's on my mind too.

(Sorry to use such an obvious song cue, but it was actually playing at the dealership while I waited for the verdict. How could I reject it?)