Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sure, She Can Smile...

She hasn't gotten four flat tires in the past two months.

Sound strange? Impossible, even?

I had never gotten a flat tire before, so when my neighbor called me at 7:00 AM one morning to warn me that my front right wheel was flat as a pancake, I was suprised, but I figured I was over due. After school he helped me change it and put on the spare. I chalked the whole ordeal up to experience and hoped I would make it back to the states without having to test my newfound knowledge. Sadly, it was not to be.

Over the weekend, I escaped to Kyoto, as is my custom (^-^). When I returned, the front tire was flat again, only this time, it wasn't alone. The back right tire was flat, too. "That's impossible!" I screamed out loud when I saw it. I hadn't driven it even once since we had changed the tire. I rolled down to the gas station on the corner, who's attendents kindly tried to find an extra tire to give me for free so I could make it out to the car shop. "Did I run over something? A nail? Glass? I just had a flat in the front a few days ago..." I explained.

"No, nothing like that," the mechanic said. He pulled out a squeeze bottle and sprayed the wheel down, and soon a buch of bubbles became visible over a small puncture in the side of the tire. "Something cut it, right there," he said, pointing at the bubbles. "You had a flat yesterday, too? That's so strange."

When I explained what had happened the next Monday at my beautiful mountain school, even the teachers reacted the same way. "What? Are you serious? Someone must be messing around with you!" I had been thinking the same thing, but I told myself I was being paranoid and that, of all places, that would not happen in Japan, let alone Ena.

A month passed. I forgot all about it. Then, after coming back from Kyoto last Sunday, I woke up with a grumbling tummy and an empty fridge. I ran out to my car to make a quick food run when I noticed the right front tire was flat again. My dealer sent someone out to change it immediately, but I ended up having to buy a new tire, since this was my fourth flat in two months. I asked the mechanic if by chance I had run something over this time, but he looked uncomfortable.

"Well, you see, um, no. It's not that. Someone had been playing tricks on you..."

"I knew it!" I shouted, almost relieved. " I mean its so strange that I have had so many flats. They're always wholes in the side of the tire...How could I do that? Right?"

"I'm not sure, but I think this happens in Ena quite a lot. My deepest apologies."

"...Happens in Ena a lot"? I remember when I first came to Japan, two or three cars had gotten flats in our city, so a memo was sent out to all the schools warning teachers to be careful because someone was throwing nails in the road. Since then, I hadn't heard of anyone getting a flat besides me, and when people heard about my misfortune, they all reacted with suprise. Even if it had been happening a lot in Ena, it had happened to my car four times in less than two months. The purps couldn't have just randomly picked out my car four times by coincidence, right?

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