Tire Pressure – A People Watching Story

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:27-33

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

  • John 13:34-35

I swore before almighty God that if He ever delivered me from the oppressive heat of the South, I would never complain about the cold weather.  Thus, it was simply a mite brisk on the morning that I wrote this, about a week ago.  The dash temperature on the car said “-7F” (-22C), but it got down to -11F (-24C) when we reached the next hill.  I was shocked.  I did not think it to be that warm.  Now the official temperature was 1F (-17C), but that is at the airport.  And to borrow a joke from George Carlin’s Al Sleet, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman, “But who cares!  Nobody lives at the airport, man!”  But our hill a few miles south of the airport can get snow, but the airport reports rain.  And the airport is just north of us, a few miles as the crow flies.

Like I said, it was brisk.  But when the weather was ten degrees warmer, around the zero mark in Fahrenheit, the tire pressure in the SUV’s tires was fine.  But that extra ten degrees did me in.  I had not traversed the snow in the backyard before the tire pressure alarm went off.  I drove until I was on good pavement.  I got out and walked around the car.  All the tires seemed round, at least, close enough.  Only tread was touching the ground.  Our SUV has a screen for the dashboard display and three tire had 29psi and the other tire had 28psi.  If I drove slow, I would have no problem.

For those of you who did not take Chemistry in high school or college, there is something called the Ideal Gas Law.  It is not like the speed limit law and you can just ignore it, like 99% of all Pennsylvanians do.  No.  The Ideal Gas Law is truth that the modern relative truth people get scared of.

PV = nRT

P is the pressure, in this case, inside the tires.
V is the volume.  The volume inside a tire does not change much until it goes flat, and the tires were close to being round, still only the tread touching the pavement.
n is the amount of air in the tires, the mass or number of molecules of air.
R is a constant, something like God.  It does not change.  Those relative truth people are scared of constants too.  Since the world constantly changes, should constants constantly change?  NO!!!!
T is temperature.

I went through this explanation to show that if something on one side of the equation changes, something else must change to make up for it.

The temperature went down.  The volume, the amount of air in the tires, and the constant did not change.  That means that the pressure had to change.  The tires had been 34-35psi.  They dropped to 28-29psi due to the lower temperature.  If the tires dropped much lower, the seal of the tire to the wheel my break and the air might leak out, changing the “n” in a bad way.  I had to be careful.  I needed to increase the amount of air in the tires, the “n”, so that the tires would be at the right pressure for safe driving.  There was a free air pump station about five miles from the dialysis center.  I just drove slowly, which the people who ignore the speed limit were not happy with.  I think they lived through following me, but I doubt if they were happy about it.

When I got to the air compressors, I anticipated that there would be a line.  Two compressors, both being used, and three cars waiting.  I became the fourth.

The pickup, that was at one of the compressors, backed out just as I got in line, but only to turn around.  As most men do, he felt his truck was too big for the hose to reach his tires, so he turned the truck around.  The hoses are coiled hoses.  There was much more hose than he needed, but what made it worse is that he had difficulty seeing in a tight space in the dark (as the sun had still not risen).  He could not get too far away from the air compressor, or the next car would sweep in and cut him off.  So instead of turning around in less than a minute, it took him over five minutes.

I laughed.  He had turned around to impress everyone of his manhood, but he lost the impression of having manhood in not having good skills in turning around.

To add to the chaos, the guy at the other compressor had already finished, but because the pickup driver was so confused as to how to back up his pickup, he had to wait to back up and leave.  So, when the SUV finally had a chance, he left, replaced by the first car in line, another SUV.  Now, I was the third car in line.

The pickup finally added air to the back tires and the driver was about ready to leave, but then, he got out of the pickup and walked to his toolbox behind the cab.  In temperatures where frostbite could set in within 20 minutes, he had removed his gloves, but then he needed his gloves on to drive in a heated cab.

I did not adjust my thinking regarding his manhood on this one.  I had already removed my gloves.  You need to feel the cap on the valve stems to loosen and tighten them.  But I was thinking ahead, removing my gloves inside the car.  For one thing, the gloves would we warm when I got back in the car.  For the other thing, if I forgot, they would not fly away when I drove down the road.

Now the second car that waited in line pulled up to the vacated compressor, but he pulled up so close to the SUV that only a small person could stand between the cars.  The guy barely had room to exit his car.  I waited for the next comedy act to unfold.  The guy that got there first, that put air in the driver’s side, came to the passenger side and saw that he could only walk sideways, but he could not bend over to reach his tire.  He especially could not squat to do what he had to do.  So, he got there first, but he had to wait while this jerk did all four tires.  The jerk was small enough and did not have to squat to do the tires in the tight space.  Totally rude.  Totally mean.  Totally self-absorbed.

Now the third car parked well away from the SUV so that he could finish.  The driver was a perky young woman.  She was light and quick and got her car finished quickly, maybe only one or two psi off.  The SUV, that had been the first waiting car though had a problem.  His right rear tire did not inflate.  He had a legitimate flat.  It was a slow leak, but it would not inflate completely.  To make matters worse, as he realized this, a woman, a smoking woman, pulled in behind him so that he could not back up and find the nearest tire store, if they were open yet.

I do not know if the man simply felt defeated or if he had unmeasurable patience.  He had already waited while the jerk did all for tires while he watched.  His shoulders slumped as he stared at the woman.  They made eye contact for long enough to make it uncomfortable, but the smoking woman, to her credit, not only realized that she was blocking this guy from exiting but I was sitting there in line waiting.  In 10-20 attempts of turning around and getting into line, she finally made it behind me, afraid if she drove around the gas pumps, someone else would get in front of her.  The guy with the flat went back to put as much into the tire as he could, but by then, the perky woman was backing out first.

I started to move forward and then the perky woman stopped.  She got out of her car and ran over.  I worried in that there were patches of ice.  I did not want her to slip and fall.  She had not removed her gloves and she had dropped one of the caps for a valve stem and it had rolled underneath the car.  She made signs of apology, but by then, I was laughing too hard to get upset.  As I pulled in, the SUV with the flat tire had backed out and the smoker pulled in next to me.  I did not need my COVID mask, but I wore it anyway to block a little of the smoke.  And I prayed that I was upwind of the smoker which I was.  And I have no idea what the wind chill was.  Is “even brisker” a legitimate way to say it?

On the drive home, with one person driving through a stop sign as if it wasn’t there (my good brakes avoided a T-bone collision), and stop sign runner taking the time to sneer at the other drivers in both directions, I gave God another thank you.  In all that waiting, I had forgotten that I had taken my water pill before I left home.  As it was, I barely made it home, but I made it.

In just 30-40 minutes of people watching, I saw so many different people.  Some I could imagine were sweet and kind.  Some wanted to show how manly they were when they really were not.  Some were jerks that did not consider another living soul as being worth the slightest consideration.  And then there was the down-on-his-luck guy who was going to have to go to the tire store instead of work – more money spent and, missing work, less money earned – but he did not take it out on the woman who tried to cut in line or the guy that parked too close.  He never shouted.  He never made gestures to show his frustration or anger or even despair.  He just stared.  Maybe he was praying that the jerk would finish and get out of the way and that the smoker would see the error in her ways, which she did.

Life is too hectic for us to not love our neighbors.  Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another, starting with everyone in line. And I found a reason to pray for everyone in line.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

2 Comments

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  1. Oh…. I felt like I was there, experiencing this. I am so thankful that we didn’t have to leave our house during our recent snow and single digit temperatures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. I am getting the oil changed this coming week and they will probably be taking some of that air out since it is finally going to warm up a little, into the 40s, and that day was the coldest. We have had several single digit nights and an 18.5 hour power outage (when we did not have to leave the house – but maybe should have), but nothing below zero since that one day.

      Liked by 1 person

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