So I walk out of the radio station, after doing my Saturday shift from 2-6 pm on 98.7 WFGR, only to find that one of my front tires needs air.
It was pretty low, so I knew I had better get some air in the tire before I jumped up on the freeway. Because I was in the downtown area, I knew it was going to be challenge to find a place to get some air.
Having grown up on the westside, several gas stations came to mind that might have a compressor and air hose. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most of those stations were gone now. Replaced with some other type of business. I did remember on gas station on Stocking Avenue that might work.
So I pull into the “green and white” gas station and find — to my surprise — they did have an air hose! I felt like I had hit the $540 million Mega Millions jackpot. I get out of the car and walk up the machine, only to realize…there was no free air. It now would cost me $1 for air for my deflated tire. Oh, and it had to be in quarters! So I scrounge around in the center console in my car to find what seemed like the last four quarters in existence! Jackpot (again).
So into the machine go my quarters (I almost felt like a gold panhandler throwing away my find). The compressor fired up! We are golden! Soon my tire will be back to the recommended P.S.I. and I’ll be homeward bound…or not!
Sure the motor was running, but when I put the end of the air hose onto the valve stem…NOTHING was coming out into the tire. I don’t know if the threshold of pressure on the compressor was too low or what, but I wasn’t able to add any air to my tire at this location…there went my hard earned $1.
So, off to the next place. If my mind serves me correct, there is another gas station on Alpine Avenue that used to offer FREE air! Could I be so lucky? Not a chance. I pull up to where their the air hose used to be…only to find an empty wall. After driving around to the front of the store, I found a new machine to dispense air…but it too cost $1 and I was out of quarters. Wait! I think there is a department store that has a gas station that offers FREE air. Northward on Alpine I go…
On the way to my next destination I drive by a tire store…Hey! What a great place to have an air hose for people to fill up their tires. If they are having issues with their tires, what a great place to shop for new tires, or perhaps have the old tire repaired if there is a nail or some foreign object stuck in the tire. But apparently I’m the only person who thinks that way. There was not an air hose to be found at the tire center. I felt like I was searching for “Big Sid” (remember the snake that was lost in Standale back in the ’70s). No luck.
So I drive north to the gas station attached to a department type store (What are they calling it now days? It used to be a “supermarket” and then at one point a “hypermarket”). They had an air machine…but it too had changed to a “pay me for the air you breathe” machine. I knew after my initial search for quarters that I was fresh out. I would have to go in and exchange a paper “George” for four pieces of metal to feed the hungry air compressor machine.
It worked. I was able to get my tire re-inflated to the recommended 29 P.S.I. (according to the placard on the inside of my front door). I could now journey northward without fear of blowing an under inflated tire.
So, the moral of the story is: First, apparently the days of FREE air are gone forever. Even finding a place that has an air hose is like searching for “Waldo”. Second, maybe tire stores should consider adding an air hose to the outside of their building…I’m just saying…I think it’s a great marketing idea. I’ll send you my “marketing” bill later…once I see the hose on the side of your building. Or — in all reality — I’ll pay you $1 for using your system of collecting air and forcing it, through a hose, into my tire.