My tire was flat. Severely flat. Flat enough to need several paragraphs of Charles Dickens-esque introduction to explain just how flat it was. If there were any air in it then it was a long-lost memory. After I took the tire off and set it in the trunk overnight the tire was still deformed at what had been the bottom when I changed the tire. To get that flat the air had to be leaking out for much longer than just for the few moments it'd take the woman who warned me about it to notice: how long had I been driving on a flat tire? It had to be inevitable that I'd broken the rim, didn't it?
So I was looking at replacing the flat tire with all the enthusiasm appropriate for the chore. The time was one thing, but I really didn't look forward to buying a replacement, on the assumption that something had to be severely wrong with the tire for it to go that flat in that little time. My father suggested I try getting it fixed at one of those odd little car-repair shops without names which he favors, although for a wonder he didn't recommend a place that was at least an hour away. (My father's mental map has its origin in Perth Amboy, and he thinks things are ``nearby'' if they're around Perth Amboy, which we are not.) He did recommend getting there by going from the main street, to a side street, to a side street, and driving through connected parking lots, rather than driving on the numbered country route which goes just past the place on the other side, but that's because he was fretting over traffic.
At the tire place I initially approached a sightly older man, sitting by the open garage, wearing well-used overalls and a conductor's cap. He didn't work there. He just had a flat. When I found an employee, though, the tire turned out to be in great shape. It was just the valve was somehow defective and let the air out. It was a few minutes' work to replace that, re-fill the tire and have it put back on, and cost a mere ten dollars plus the tip. The only hard part after that was explaining the ``defective valve'' to my father, who seemed to treat the words as an impossible combination. But the tire rolls safely and soundly, and I was set for the next car problem, the next Thursday.
Trivia: The first water wheel erected under the north end of London Bridge was erected in 1580 by the Dutchman Peter Morris. Its objective was to carry water from the Thames to the location of Leadenhall Market. Source: Old London Bridge: The Story of the Longest Inhabited Bridge in Europe, Patricia Pierce.
Currently Reading: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein. I know how some of the shapes were gotten, such as that nobody before about 1986 could draw a line of latitude that was anywhere near the correct latitude -- look at the very funny attempts to draw straight lines for Connecticut's borders, or that whole Ohio-Michigan-Indiana muddle, but I'm always eager for more details.