I am very bad at checking the pressure of my car’s tyres. I know this is short-sighted and no doubt costs me a lot of money in terms of unnecessary wear and tear. However, I have a deaf excuse. I’ve been telling myself for years that the problem is that I can’t hear the “beep” letting you know that your tyre has reached the requisite pressure. Not my fault that I don’t do it, then. Just another big hassle for hearing loss people.
So, a few weeks before the implant operation, when I went out to my car and saw that one of the rear tyres had deflated quite significantly, my heart sank. It wasn’t completely flat, but it wasn’t good either. I decided to drive very carefully to the nearest petrol station and brave the tyre machine. Off I went, to a big supermarket in town, and pulled up in one of the requisite bays. In the UK you get a choice of scales for tyre pressure – Bar (whatever that is) and PSI (pounds per square inch). My car manual says all four tyres need to be at 2,0 Bar so I set the machine to the Bar option, paid my twenty pence and started checking and pumping.
That’s where the lack of an audible beep comes in. Faffing about in the cold, I try to keep the nozzle on the tyre valve whilst constantly watching the display on the air pump machine itself, so I can see when it says “End”. This is not too bad for the tyres nearest the machine but becomes a complete pain in the neck for the two furthest away. My tactic over the years is to get into a position where I can still see the display through the car’s windows whilst, of course, always making sure that I’m holding the nozzle in place. In short, I contort myself into bizarre positions, squint at the display through the intervening glass and get thoroughly bad tempered.
Of course, I COULD turn the car round in the middle of the operation so that I’m always relatively close to the machine but you don’t get enough time to do that and it would cost another twenty pence. I’ve not lived in Yorkshire for a quarter of a century without picking up some of the local habits. “Twenty pee is more than enough to pump yer tyres up, lass”, I say to myself.
Then, horrors oh horrors……..I look at the display and it says the pressure has reached 2,6 Bar; probably enough to trigger a minor explosion, or cause the car to float off over Skipton, kept aloft by a grossly over-inflated tyre. How on earth has that happened? What do I do now? HELP!
Eventually, keeping calm (??) and seeing that the tyre looks perfectly normal I realise that the machine has somehow tripped into PSI setting, so it is 26 Pounds Per Square Inch, not 2,6 Bar (you can’t see the comma unless you get very close to the display). By this time, I’ve used up all the time a twenty pence piece buys and I have to pay another twenty pence, reset the machine and finish the job, by now thoroughly, thoroughly grumpy.
Readers, the tyre got fixed (quite cheaply, a seal had gone rather than it being a puncture) and, post-implant, I thought I’d have another go at tyre pressure checking. Full of confidence that I would hear a loud, reassuring, BEEEP when the correct pressure was attained I started checking all four tyres. But there was no loud beep. If I really concentrated I could hear a buzzing sound when “End” flashed up on the display, but it wasn’t earth shattering. Chastened, I returned home to quiz Nigel on the volume of tyre pressure machine beeps. He quickly agreed that they are not very loud. Sometimes, if there is traffic passing, he struggles to hear himself. So it doesn’t seem to be a deafie problem after all, particularly. Why can’t there be something on the thing you press into your tyre’s valve, which alerts you?
And there, more or less, is where this post originally ended, until, looking for a suitable image, I found THIS.
THIS is what we need. A guage where you can actually see it, not somewhere behind your back or visible only through two pieces of glass. All garage forecourt tyre inflating machines should be like this. Better for deaf people, better when there is traffic passing, better for the less agile (less contorting). Why don’t we have them? (Or is it just Skipton?)
Another quick post-implant update on sound volumes. We have one of those soundless whistles for Izzy. You know, the sort which operate at a frequency too high for humans to hear. For six years I’ve been putting my heart and soul into blowing this thing (would that she put her heart and soul into returning promptly when she hears it, but that’s another story). The other day we set off up the hill and I come to a point where I need to call her back so out comes the whistle and I blow our trademark “tune” – BIP BIP BIP BIP BEEEP.
B****Y HELL. CURSE. SWEAR. It nearly blew my head off. It’s not a soundless whistle at all. And nobody ever said…….