After a number of weeks in physical therapy, I was finally cleared to start light hiking again. I was excited about going up to Purisma Creek Redwoods to go hiking. Ben suggested it because there was a section of trail that was fairly gentle, but still a beautiful place to go enjoy the outdoors.


I got the time that we were supposed to meet backwards. When I got the text effectively saying “Uhh, where are you?” in eloquent prose, I instantly snapped to grid and realized my mistake. I hopped in the truck and headed north. I got to the parking lot everything was just about full except for this one little spot tucked away next to a fence. I was thinking, “Goldmine!” As it pulled into the parking space I heard a loud snap and instantly thought, “crap!” I didn’t know what happened but I figured I damaged the truck and it was going to be expensive. I hopped out of the truck with some adrenaline is in my blood unsure of what exactly happened.

My tire ran over some sharp metal embedded in concrete. With the weight of the truck, the tires really didn’t have a chance against the razor sharp metal shards. I jumped in the truck and rolled the tire back over the hazard. Aargh! I didn’t need this right now. I could feel the adrenaline creeping into my system from “how am I going to deal with this?” It was a beautiful day for a hike and I’m stuck here dealing with this tire. I was already late and embarrassed that late has now become later.

I’ve only had flat tires in my car three times in my life. The first time I was in high school after a track meet in a bad part of town. All four of us 17-year-olds put our brains together and figured out how to put the donut onto the truck. Given how little we knew about cars it was a miracle we got home. I’m sure all of us had at least a touch of reservation in our minds as we were rolling down the freeway at 60 miles an hour.

The second flat was about 10 years later out in the mountains around Boulder Creek. I was at an Exodus retreat for the weekend. When I was ready to leave I saw one of my tires totally flat. I had picked up a nail on the way there. Fortunately one of the guys immediately jumped, up had the jack out, and was well on his way in no time. I was a spectator in that process and thankful for the help. My old car had clear mounts for the jack. The Ranger was a little more opaque.

As my truck has aged, I decided to get AAA a few years ago. The truck has been good to me, but I felt like the extra insurance was worth the $60 a year in case I was out stranded and needed towing service.

What surprised me most about this experience was the realization of how much of the subscription world we’ve become. As more things become monthly services the natural tendency is to outsource more and more of your world. We decide the things we want to spend our time on and then outsource the rest. A lot of me just wanted to call AAA as the truck was in the dirt. I didn’t know the stock jack support the truck in the dirt and I didn’t want the whole thing to come crashing down if it didn’t. Ben had way more of a can-do attitude than I did. I wasn’t quite fully ready to turn in my man card either.

That said adrenaline was getting in the way of logically going through this process. I couldn’t find the key to unlock the spare tire. The jack had six pieces and needed to be in various configurations throughout the process. It took us a few minutes to learn each configuration. The manual, while good, took a bit of creative license to interpret.

After about an hour or so (I wasn’t counting), we had the new tire on. AAA wouldn’t have saved us much time and the experience wouldn’t have been near as gratifying as doing it ourselves. In a subscription world we have more freedom than ever to choose how we spend our time. In many ways, that’s a good thing. The loss though is that we don’t spend our time on experiences that can open our eyes and broaden our capabilities.

While the spare tire on the truck is not the most beautiful thing in the world it reminds me the value of my own craftsmanship. It’s easy to take pride in the things you do well. We add to our value of sense and worth by seeing our touch on the world. We naturally gravitate towards our favorite skills. By saying no to AAA on this occasion I was able to acquire a new skill and confidence should I choose to run over another sharp metal object in a parking lot. 🙂


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