The strangest place I ever went with Toes was a tire shop in Lexington, Kentucky. We were driving back from Cincinnati to Atlanta together–she in her carrier in the back seat and me alone in the front when the low tire pressure light came on. I’d had a tire fixed right before I’d come up to Ohio to pick her up so I didn’t want to take any chances. I took the next exit to have it checked out.
Luckily, I had some practice navigating road trip tire troubles before this. I’d blown a tire going over a gnarly pothole when David and I were taking a road trip from Atlanta to New Orleans. We ended up in Saraland, Alabama for the night biding time until the local Pep Boys opened in the morning.
Toes and I ran into our troubles early in the day. Off the exit, we found a tire shop that bore the last name of a girl I was briefly best friends with in middle school (a time of frequent friend turnover). The guy working the front desk knew relatives of mine from his high school days in Cincinnati so we bonded right away like good former Ohioans.
He told me to pull the car into the shop, and it was fine if Toes stayed in the backseat.
It was a large body shop that felt like a warehouse–dark concrete walls echoing sounds of scratching metal. They hoisted the car up and removed the tire for inspection.
I waited by the car–staring in the window to Toes’s carrier. I wondered what she thought of all of it–the tilt of the car and the sounds of the high pressure equipment being used in the shop.
“It’s okay Sweet Girl,” I reassured her.
And it was okay. It turned out it wasn’t the tire I’d had repaired that needed fixing but another one. They removed a twisted piece of metal from it and were able to patch it up so Toes and I could be on our way. Back to Atlanta and our lives together there.