It was another cold and rainy day today, and part way through it my car began to complain that something was wrong – the tyre pressure was too low. It’s quite wonderful that modern cars not only have sensors to check tyre pressure, but can warn you something needs to be fixed in advance of there being a problem.
The manufacturer specifies a pressure of 36 psi in each tyre; there were between 29 and 31. So I drove home carefully and went to the service station a few blocks from our house.
There’s a air line there with no gauge on it (so you can’t tell what the tyres are being inflated to) and you have to pay for it with tokens you buy from the counter. I looked at it in disgust. A woman rocked up in a big truck, similarly dismayed that you have to pay for air, and I drove off.
I know my practical friends would have a pump, so I asked them. But theirs was in the back of their truck, which is in the shop for repairs at the moment. They recommended I go to Safeway, where there’s a pump.
The pump in the Safeway carpark has a credit card reader and will inflate your tyres to a specified pressure. Except the card reader doesn’t work, so you have to put $2 in quarters into it.
I don’t carry a bag of change with me wherever I go, so I went into Safeway and bought a bottle of kombucha and asked for some quarters. But because of the national coin shortage (really?) they only gave me four, and four is not eight, so I couldn’t use the pump.
I drove to my neighbours and asked if I could borrow theirs, but it was at their son’s house.
Finally, as the rain continued to pour down, I did what I should have done in the first place: I got my bike pump out of our house and within five minutes of frenzied pumping, all four tyres were at the required pressure. I never needed that kombucha after all…
Next, a car with self-inflating tyres…