It’s sure lucky I got four new tires last week during my annual car inspection. I wouldn’t have wanted to blow an old tire in the massive pothole at 34th and Girard Avenue. Last night I was making my normal hour long trek home, following my same route through the 30 Blocks of Squalor and making a left turn onto Girard Avenue at 34th Street. I’ve made the same turn from the same lane hundreds of times over the last seven years. It was dark, foggy and raining last night. You wouldn’t expect the bankrupt city of Philadelphia to have proper lighting at a huge intersection pictured below.
As I made my left turn, all of a sudden, I hit the biggest invisible fucking pothole known to mankind. My tiny little Honda Insight was almost swallowed whole by this crater in the road.
I bellowed SON OF A BITCH!!! at the top of my lungs. My next thought was, please God don’t let me have a flat tire on the 30 Blocks of Squalor as I’m about to go onto the Schuylkill Expressway. God was in a playful mood last night. My tire pressure warning light immediately came on. I had to make a split second decision. I’d be on the Expressway in another minute. The irony was that I was directly in front of the dreaded $28 million white elephant Zoo Parking garage that I have railed so much about. God was chuckling as he watched the panic in my eyes. My thoughts ran immediately to the headlines I see on the news every night.
I decided to pull into the Sunoco A-Plus gas station at 38th & Girard and start praying. The place was swarming with cars going in all directions. I was able to maneuver to the side of the building into a parking spot. I got out and heard the hissing of my deflating passenger side front tire. Decision time. I’m dressed in dress clothes and a tie. It’s raining and I’m the only white person in a 30 block radius. Do I ruin my clothes, get soaked, and risk my life by being out in the open? This is why I pay AAA that annual membership fee. I called AAA and got a nice lady who took down my info in order to dispatch a truck to my location. It was going to be an hour until the guy arrived.
The dispatcher lady asked if I was safe. I told her yes, even though I was thinking that I was stranded in one of Obama’s five PROMISE ZONES. Does that sound safe to you? I hunkered down in my car and tried to blend in. Luckily it was dark and foggy. Evidently this Sunoco station has a permanent crazy black guy who stands out front and whoops for no evident reason every few minutes. It is a little disconcerting to someone not from the hood. I just observed the comings and goings of the Squalorites from my disabled vehicle. I did not witness one white person the entire hour long wait. I did see Range Rovers, BMWs, and Cadillacs filling up during my stay. I don’t know if this is a black thing, but the parking lot was much like their neighborhood. No rules. Cars going every which way. People parking wherever they felt like it. I must have seen three or four close call accidents just in the parking lot.
I did have to take a piss, but I would have rather pissed my pants than go inside the mini-mart and use their bathroom. In my mind I was visualizing Otis Day and the Knights singing Shama Lama Ding Dong as I entered the mini-mart.
Bob, from AAA, arrived at 6:45 and assessed the situation. He said, “Yep, that’s a flat tire.” He proceeded to use real tools, not the dinky little crap supplied by Honda, to change the tire in about 10 minutes. I asked him if the spare would be OK to get me the 30 miles home. He didn’t instill confidence in me when he said “It should be good for 50 miles. Just don’t change lanes.” I gave him a nice big tip and he gave me some very wise advice – “Watch out for potholes.”
I tore out of that parking lot like a bat out of hell. The spare made a funny sound and the tire pressure warning light stayed on. As I got onto the Northeast Extension cattle shoot, with no place to pull over, warning lights about tire pressure started blinking. Jesus Christ, I really had to piss now. I just kept going and praying I could make the last 12 miles. God must have moved onto someone else, as I was able to make it home.
My wife thought the City of Philadelphia should be responsible for paying for my new tire. I just laughed. She found the City of Philadelphia Pothole Reporting website and typed in the location of the pothole with the comment “Car Swallowing Sized Pothole”. The city guarantees the pothole will be filled within 24 hours. Yeah right. They also guarantee that kids going to their schools will be educated. How’s that working out?
I don’t ask much from the city of Philadelphia. They extract 3.5% of my pay every week for their services to me. All I want is drive-able streets and stop lights that work. This seems to be too big a task for these union drones. I don’t even mind small potholes, but car swallowing potholes should be fixed immediately. Every day I hear the traffic report saying that stop lights at major Philadelphia intersections aren’t working. Water mains break every day, destroying streets, homes and businesses. Government is virtually worthless. They suck the life out of an economy and can’t even perform the most basic functions of a municipality.
I can’t wait to see if the pothole is repaired on my trip home tonight. If someone is fishing for carp in the pothole, I’ll have my answer.