September sun is just coming over the beach pines. We’re standing in the yard beside Jenny’s ’87 Toyota pickup discussing tire repair. She’s just lifted the flat out of the truck bed, leaned it against the old fir 8 x 8 that keeps us from driving off the sand dune we live on.
The back of her truck is full of tools. She’s just started a construction job, a house being built a half mile down the road. Digging foundation in the sand. It’s Friday.
I’m tired, she says. Yeah, I know, I say. I think I’m getting a cold or something. My nights are as long as her days. Or maybe it’s the other way round.
She was coming back from town with more diesel for the backhoe yesterday when the tire blew. The CHP stopped and gave her advice on how to change it, even loaned her his wife’s lavender cell phone. A co-worker brought a scissors jack and they put on the spare. She got to the job an hour before quitting time.
I’m standing in the dew in my slippers, trying to find words that will help. I’ve left my desk and the book I was going to finish by summer solstice. I’d much rather talk about fixing the tire.
It won’t take long, I say. They have machines now. (In my day we did it by hand.)
But it needs to have the weights put on, she says.
Balancing. They have a machine for that too. It spins them. It’s fast.
But it’s time for them to be switched around. What do you call it?
Rotated, I say. Drop it off tomorrow morning. I’ll pick you up and take you out to lunch. We could go to the fair.
I have to go to a party, she says.
That’s when I understand. It isn’t us. It’s not even the goddam tire.
Spinning. Balance. Rotation.
New work. Old work. Day. Night.
Sick. Tired. Crazy.
Time to stop and repair the world.