So this place is peculiar. A tire store. The smell of tire. Tires have a particular smell that remind me of outright danger. That smell is the first thing you smell, before the last thing you see, before the slow motion sounds of screeching tires and white smoke erupt from the asphalt. Tire rubber always cries with applied friction of asphalt. The shop definitely had that scent.
Why I am even in this place is a tale of it’s own. Not really. I just happened to park my car cockeyed in the parking lot at work because I was late. You know how that goes. You know how you are in a hurry and everything the world throws at you is in your path wanting to trip you? That was my day and I had to park cockeyed to end my journey through the gauntlet of the behindhand. I am more than grateful for the cockeyed parking job because as I left for lunch, I noticed the tread on my tire was completely missing. There was nothing there. I thought to myself, “Nice try Mr. Death, there’s a tire shop down the street.” I only thought that because, had I tried to make the 80 mile per hour trek back to my home 50 miles away, I would have definitely had the opportunity to look at the face of Mr. Death.
I had been to this place before. This tire shop. The man there is always nice. Good looking. A smile on his face. He is your typical, good looking guy that is trying to sell you some damn good tires. I rarely swear when I am not angry, but saying the words “damn good” before tires, it just makes perfect sense. Today was different though, in this shop. Along with the wafting smell of tire, and the normal view of the smiling tire man, there came something different. After all, sight and smell were dealt with; but on a volume much louder, that drowned out the sounds of hydraulic drills bzzz bzzzing away at lug nuts – there came the sound of worship music. Yes. Worship music. Blaring, “I could sing of your love forever, I could sing of your love forever. I could sing of your love forever. I could sing of your love forever.” There, at first, brought me a sense of awkwardness. Not because the Jesus-centric music was on the radio in a secular environment, but because I knew all the words. It wasn’t like I was overhearing some terrible mashup walking through Forever 21 wondering “Who the hell wrote this trash?” I knew what the song was. I sang it a million times in church. And how could they play a Matt Redman Pandora playlist while selling anyone DAMN GOOD TIRES? I really wanted to, at the very least, hum along; but business is business and I didn’t want to show weakness as I tried to make sure I got the best deal for my damn good tire.
Once the deal was made, the handshake conducted, I was then directed to relax in a fine, little seated area. The flat screen was off, but I was impressed there was a flat screen. Maybe they made tons of money from all of those tires. Seems like they make nothing because I got a really great deal. I do what I normally do when the television is off, I look at another screen, my cell phone. Actually, I was double-fisting it because I had my tablet too. I only took the tablet with me because it was in my car. I didn’t want a tire man looking through my personal effects. As I am sitting there enjoying the smells of tire and playing with a no-name app, I hear another man talking to the nice tire man. The man talking to the nice tire man is a total DB. I could tell just by the tone. He wanted to know how much things cost, then he wanted to know how much it cost the store to do it. This guy was indubitably, a DB. I bet his initials were DB. I bet his name was something like, Dave Briggingham or something like that. But really his name, to me, was DB because that is what this guy was, a complete DB.
The DB goes on and on. It was making me sick, his rambling. Take his ramblings, and mix it with the smell of tire. I couldn’t focus on my stupid app anymore; and I was stuck smelling tire and hearing this DB belittle the nice man that liked Matt Redman on Pandora. My stomach churned in annoyance. It was slowly creating something else that wanted to erupt from my mouth in the form of insults. I kept my cool, for a while anyway. After a while, the DB was calmed down by the nice tire man with the impeccable taste in worship tunes. The nice man said, “Sir, feel free to relax in our sitting area, there is water back there.” The DB replied, “There is only water? You don’t have a soda machine? Every tire place has a soda machine!” The nice man responded, “I am sorry, we don’t, but the water is cold and purified.” He wasn’t lying, it really was cold and purified. I had some. The water was excellent! I would know, I have loved water since the day I was born.
The DB enters my area, the sitting area. He looks at me, makes a face. I have no detail because his face had none. He was a very empty person. He turns and looks at the water dispenser again. It is one of those high class, door to door, sold from Israelis with mall carts, water purifiers. A very nice piece of equipment that cost a pretty penny, obviously made from the sale of none other, than those damn good tires. This water dispenser definitely had it’s share of tire customers, you could tell. Alkaline streaks running down the front and sides from multiple spills. It was perfect. It made sense to exist in the tire shop. DB glares at the water purifier and yells to the nice tire man on the other side of the partition wall, “This?! This is where the water is from?! No thanks!” He proudly turns to me as if I would accept his snobby disapproval of the water dispenser. I held my ground. I wanted to make sure the DB knew I disagreed because, after all, I was being sold some damn good tires from a worship music enthusiast. A Matt Redman fan. The DB looked at me and said, “Yeah man, I don’t want to drink that.”
His response was rude. Ungrateful. I thought of all the people who probably have been waiting to have a glass of cold, purified water all day. I thought of the tire man that was so patient and so nice. I thought of Matt Redman singing “Better is One Day” over and over and over. I thought of all the tires in that store, having to also, endure the presence of this DB. I couldn’t take it anymore, I wanted to choke the DB. I wanted to scream at him while I was choking him. I imagined myself water boarding the DB with the water from that machine. I hated the DB at that moment for treating the nice tire man so bad, while Matt Redman was playing so loudly. Finally, I respond to him, “This is a tire shop dude, not the Queen’s Palace.” I felt so good telling this DB what a DB he really was. Meanwhile, the song changed. “Bless the Lord Oh My Soul, Oh My Soul” resounded on the radio and Matt Redman had sung my victory song. The DB felt defeated and unaccepted by me. Maybe I should have made him feel better? Maybe the music was some sort of sign from God to be nice to this man? I didn’t care. I can be human. Matt Redman is human. The tire man is human. God understands.
The defeated DB walked way. The goodness left in me, really hopes DB quenched his thirst. Maybe he will find a Queen’s Palace somewhere that caters to DB’s like him. I really hope he found the water he wanted. He looked parched.