as i sped my way towards work this morning, i switched off ice-T on the shuffle and concentrated hard so i would know how to describe the newly sprung sound to the mechanic when i took the car in at lunchtime. the best i could come up with was "a low pulsing sound". it (in addition to my new found tire paranoia) was enough to force me to pull over and check the tire pressure. all systems go. perhaps it has something to do with the return of the CHECK ENGINE light. terms like rear end differential, head gasket, and crankshaft began to spontaneously appear in my head... all carrying a high price tag.
as the "low pulsing sound" had still not ceased, i assumed command of the right lane at a responsible 60 mph pace as i gripped the wheel and pulled my back off the seat. and then: BLAP!!! i felt as if i was about to be as airborne as a strain of the hong kong flu. i meted out my pressure on the brake pads (after learning a disastrous lesson several years ago that too much slamming of brakes only causes more problems) until i skittled to a rubber-burning stop on the right shoulder of airport freeway.
after scooting out the passenger side door and assessing the damage, i climbed back in and phoned AAA for a tow (as my spare tire was the one that blew). i then strapped on the seat belt, grabbed Hey Nostradamus!, and tried to settle in for the 30 minute wait. the caffeine from my morning coffee was given a consistent boost of adrenaline leaving me to feel i could throw up on command as i glanced repeatedly at the multi-ton hunks of speeding metal attempting to resist the gravitational force of a car on the shoulder of the highway.
eventually, a small latino man with a gold-capped tooth and a twinkle in his eye showed up. he placed me in the cab of his tow truck, pumped up the muzak for me, and donned his orange vest before darting back and forth into oncoming traffic. once his task was complete, i informed him we were destined for the sears at the irving mall i had just passed where the tire had been "repaired" just weeks before. he assured me the journey would not exceed the AAA allowable three miles *wink*wink* and then did his best to correct his steering after taking both vehicles off the edge of the road.
in honor of victim #4 of The Year of the Tire, the fellows at sears took good care of me to the tune of only $38.XX.
while i had still been in wait of the tow and in the process of consolidating my embarrassing mounds of car trash in the backseat, i learned that this event in my life was occurring for a reason when i suddenly spotted NJ's errant button stuck between the seat and the console sporting the slogan: