Thursday, January 17, 2013


Not my actual tire. 

By Terri Lively

I was driving along, on my way to pick up my son from Karate when I heard it -- the loud crunch, followed by the thumping sound coming from my driver’s side rear tire. I quickly found a safe haven on the busy road, which turned out to be the center median. I opened my door to hear the whoosh of the air leaving my tire, deflating my hopes of making it to book club that night.

My first flat. Except when I was in Germany driving the mini-bus and I hit a German version of a traffic cone and flattened the tire. But that’s another post…

Sitting in the middle of Santiago Canyon Road in the middle of rush hour with a flat tire and an iPhone has its advantages. Not many, but a few.

You can find a tow truck service in under 5 seconds. It’s like a quick draw in the Wild West. Pull out phone. Search Google for tow truck service. Pick the first one (take that SEO naysayers). Touch the phone number so iPhone automatically dials. If I could do a fancy twirl with the phone whilst returning it to its holster, I would. The listing said service in less than 30 minutes, so now I just need to settle back and wait. 

You get to know your Groupon Deals. Often this app doesn’t get much love from me. I see it there, with a little red number that grows exponentially, but I mostly ignore it. Trapped here in my Jeep with a flat tire, I found two great deals. Not surprisingly, they are both wine-related. Sadly though, there is no immediate wine- delivery service available on Groupon.

You really get a chance to catch up on your news feed. I read all the way back to last Tuesday on my Facebook feed. I am completely caught up with what’s going on in my Facebook community. I relearned that I have lots of clever friends with lots of cute photos. And more than one of my friends liked the picture of the kids who want a puppy.

You can see every slipper option available on There are slippers that slip on, zip up, lace up to your calf, have open-toes, with leopard print, with eyes that open when you step, slippers you can wear to the market, slippers that make you coffee in the morning…not really. But there are a myriad of options available. So many that I put a couple in my cart and then abandoned it. Somewhere an analyst will wonder why I left my cart. I would tell him this: Too many slipper options.

Your phone can double as a flashlight. Not news really. I am sure a lot of you have used your phone as a flashlight. What makes it notable was that I used it when I was looking for…wait for it…. my flashlight.

You can pester everyone at the Towing Company. I picked this company because they came up first on Google and the listing said less than 30 minutes. When you are stranded in the median of a busy street in North Orange County where every car zooms past you at the speed of sound, less than thirty minutes sounds pretty good.

Apparently 30 minutes or less just sounds good, though. I was still waiting in my Jeep, rocking in the wake of each passing FedEx truck 90 minutes later. But I did call both the tow truck guy and the dispatcher at least five times during that time. I’m sure they were both real happy that I had an iPhone last night.

It turns out the delay was because the tow truck got a flat on his way to fix my flat. No joke. Sometimes life has its own punch line.

You appreciate all the ways this could have been worse. I read on another blog that the author’s grandfather always said, “Nothing is so bad that it couldn’t be worse.” Now when I started out this busy Wednesday, I wouldn’t have thought that getting a flat tire was a good thing. And it wasn’t. But there are a lot of factors here that worked in my favor.

First of all, my husband was home. He was able to go pick up my son from Karate, on time, and pick up dinner at the pizza place, that I ordered from, you guessed it, the iPhone. Had this very same scenario played out today, I would have been on my own as my husband is out of town until Friday night.

And secondly since he was home, I had left my two younger children with him, so they weren’t in the Jeep with me when I got the flat. This means that the 90 minutes I waited for the tow truck, while frustrating and a slightly stressful, was blissfully quiet and whine-free.  Well, except for my whining of course. But if a woman whines alone in her Jeep and no one is around to hear her, does it really count?

Finally, I had just driven up to Irwindale earlier in the day to the Los Angeles Speedway to watch Brenton drive a NASCAR around the track. Irwindale is about an hour from where I live. A flat anywhere along that route could have been a much bigger problem than this one relatively close to my house. Plus I had all three kids on that trip which always escalates the situation.

So while flat tires are never fun, this one wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The tow truck driver finally arrived. He was nice, fast, and skilled. Of course, he has just had a practice run on his own truck so he was warmed-up. He showed me the big chunk of metal that created my predicament, or as I like to think of it, my iFlat.

I paid him, sans the service fee since the arrival took three times the promised time frame. Then I called the dispatcher for the last time to tell him everything was good and to thank him for waiving the fee.

And then, I plugged in the iPhone so it could recharge. It definitely earned it.