So I had to take the car to the emissions testing center for its annual tailpipe check. I wouldn’t mind that but there seems to be some kind of problem every time I do it. The problem has never been with the emissions—at least not the car’s emissions. I might be polluting the air a bit but I never get tested, which is a good thing because I’m terrible at taking tests. No, mostly the problems seems to be just getting there. Once I was on my way to the center and took a wrong turn and as I was turning around on a back road the car hit something and I got a flat tire. That’s when I discovered our car which we’d had for at least ten years and which we knew had a spare tire didn’t have a tire jack. Since I couldn’t hold the car up with one hand, or two for that matter, and remove and replace the tire, I was stuck until I remembered our AAA membership. Within half an hour two guys who looked like they could each hold up the car with one hand showed up, changed the tire, and we went our separate ways. Then there was the time I was on my way to the center and took a wrong turn, but I have a fairly good sense of direction. Or think I do anyway. I kept going, thinking I could find my way back, but eventually I stopped and asked my phone for directions. It led me not to the usual emissions testing center but another one, which told me I’d gotten really, really lost, but at least I was still within the state of Tennessee. That reminds me of the time I was in high school and rode to a science fair held at a school north of Nashville with a friend. We were on our way back and seemed to be taking a really, really long time, and when we passed a sign that said, “Welcome to Kentucky” I said, “Are we going the right way?”
“Yeah, it’s a part of Kentucky that juts down into Tennessee,” he said.
I didn’t remember ever seeing any such thing on any map and I was really concerned that he just didn’t want to admit he was lost. And it turned out we were lost, and if we’d tested the emissions coming out of his face he would have failed, but that’s another story.
Actually those are the only two problems getting to the emissions testing center I can think of, but they’re big enough that I’m always worried when I go and pretty much expect something will go wrong. Especially this time because, well, it’s not exactly like last year. But everything went fine. I wore a mask and so did everyone who worked at the center, and we all kept our distance. Then there was a problem with the computer. At least it wasn’t anything I did. The computer just couldn’t admit that it was lost.