It sounded like a pop, followed by the sound of whooshing air, and then a flap-flapping noise. I knew immediately what it was.

“What’s that Mom,” asked my daughter looking around the inside of the car for the source of the sound.

“I’m pretty sure that is one of our tires and it’s on its way to being flat,” I replied.

I’d barely gotten the words out when the tire light came on in the car and the car started listing to the side of the road. We were only two blocks from our local service station so I decided to see if I could make it there before the tire went to that great car garage in the sky.

“You got a puncture in the tire,” said the manager looking at the tire. I looked too. The tire wasn’t merely flat. It was really, most sincerely flat.

He reached down and felt around the tire while looking up at the ceiling, sort of, I imagined, like a proctologist giving an exam.

“Here,” he boomed, holding up a two-inch nail. “Here’s the culprit.”

As I started calculating dollar signs in my head, the manager stood up and said brightly, “I can patch that.” And within 15 minutes we were on the road again.

I had barely gotten to the place where we hit the nail when I saw a massive pothole hiding in the road. I tried to avoid it, but I wasn’t quick enough and felt our right front tire hit the pothole hard.

And then I heard that whooshing sound again.

“Problem with the patch?” asked the service station manager as I pulled back into the garage.

“Different tire,” I groaned.

He looked at the tire. “Sorry, this one has to be replaced. I think I have a tire for you, though, so it shouldn’t take that long.”

My daughter and I walked into town to kill some time while my wheel got a makeover and as we sat drinking hot chocolates, I wondered what I had done that day to anger the tire gods. In nearly 40 years of driving, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d gotten a flat tire. Now I had two in one day. I could feel my holiday cheer leaking out of me like the air from the two tires I’d blown.

Back on the road again, I tried to shake it off.

“Okay, ready to get back to our holiday shopping?” I said to my daughter.

“Mom, watch out!” She said pointing to the road. “It’s that hole again.”

I swerved, but I caught the back tire in the pothole.

“Noooo!” I bellowed as the whooshing air sound filled the car and the familiar flap-flapping began again. “I cannot even believe this! I have a tire curse.”
We flap-flapped our way back to the service station, but this time there were no patches or tires to be had and my daughter and I found ourselves walking back to the house, deflated like three flat tires.

“You know,” I said. “The mall’s not that far. I bet we could ride our bikes there. It’s not that cold.”

“Really?” she said hopefully. I smiled and nodded. I wasn’t going to let a bunch of flat tires ruin our day. I was supermom. Here me whoosh.

We changed into sneakers and switched to backpacks.

“Okay, let’s do this!” I said enthusiastically as we entered the garage.

“We can’t,” said my daughter.

“Why not?” I said.

She squeezed the bike tire. “The tires are flat.”
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