Sunday March 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something: flat.

Safe and sound with my parents in Comox this evening, after Max's very first boat ride. Though he seemed more interested in staring at the vending machines on the ferry than out the window at the water and islands.

The first portion of our journey, going from Osoyoos to Vancouver, went pretty smoothly. Well, other than...


After two hours on the road, we decided to make a stop in Princeton for a bathroom break and to maybe grab some lunch. With Max fast asleep in his car seat, I pulled into a gas station just off the highway and we took turns using the facilities.

Once we were ready to go again, Kat took her turn behind the wheel and... got about ten feet before an odd noise brought us back to our parking spot. I got out to take a look and, sure enough, our back right tire was completely flat.

I'll spare you the various expletives that were aired at that point.

I called our emergency roadside service number and they sent someone to come put on our spare, which was: a) buried beneath a mountain of stuff in our trunk and b) only a donut, not a full-size tire. So that meant: a) dumping all our stuff in the parking lot, b) repacking the trunk after the spare was put on, and c) driving to a garage to get a proper tire put on.

There was a fun five or ten minutes at the garage, during which it sounded like they didn't have a tire that would fit our car. I kinda wondered if that might be an issue when I walked through the door and saw nothing but huge truck tires on the walls. Anyway, the guys eventually found one that worked and got it on the car and we got back on the road.

All told, it was about a two hour delay. Max was a champ during all this, finding the whole thing rather entertaining. And then he was back to sleep shortly after we were moving westward once more.

Could have done without all that hassle, but it could have been much worse. At least we got the flat in town, and not during the lengthy passage through the park that we were about to make. There's not much in the way of gas stations or garages in that stretch.


Greg said...

Wow, that's quite a tale of a flat tyre! You're right, definitely better to have it happen in civilisation than the park, and I can just imagine how frustrated you'd have been to be in a garage filled with tyres and have none of them fit your car. What flattened the tyre then? Was it something in the parking lot you drove over, or was that just where it finished deflating?

Sberyichev, whose title had been Mathematician before he was thrown into the quantum prison, sat against a wall that seemed oddly transparent when looked at out of the corner of his eye, but fully solid when gazed at straight on. He had the sensation that he was sat in a long line of people that receded into infinity in either direction, but if he turned he head then no-one was there, just the walls of the cell, a body's length away.
There was paper on the floor beside him, and a pencil on top of the pages, but all he wrote there was a dull and insipid diary based on his memories of a Jane Austen novel he'd once tried to read. It was deliberate, so that his gaolers could see that he was doing something, but not what he was really doing. For in his mind he had constructed what had to be the geometry of the quantum prison and was now proving theorems about it.
"It has to be locally flat," he said out loud as revelation struck him. Then he realised what he'd said, and reached for more words to conceal his thoughts. "I can't build a nice summer home unless the land around is flat, but I want hills further away for the view."
The geometry of the prison had to be locally flat to support the superposition, because it was a function of linearity. But that meant he could construct an atlas that identified the topology in each region... and that would allow him to walk out of the prison as though nothing stopped him.

MosesMalone said...

“You don’t even understand. It is HUMILIATING! Can you imagine never being ‘liked’ at all? Every boy I wanted to date liked Chelsea instead. She of course she looked like a gorgeous woman in 4th grade. People made fun of me, but honestly, it was only a little. There were girls who were tortured. I was really funny so even though I looked like everyone’s kid sister, they liked me too much to tease. None of the cute popular boys that everyone liked ever liked me back. They could have any girl they wanted. So I remained childlike until I was practically through high school. Absolutely awful.”

"I hope my daughters are just as flat as me.”

Marc said...

Greg - it looked like a rock shard. It seems likely that we hit it on the road, as the parking lot didn't seem particularly cluttered or dirty.

I can tell you're enjoying weaving all this mathematics into your prose. And liking that you're managing to do it without totally going over my head :P

Mo - yeah, definitely a rough go, but as long as it's not too bad it's for the best in the end, as you say.

I remember a few of my classmates saying some truly horrible things to girls back in the day though. Ugh.

MosesMalone said...

Ha! It's cool. We all turn out just right.