Could You Translate that into Girl?

The two men looked at each other, eyes bugged out, as if I’d asked them to translate what they said into Klingon (Star Trek language).

Big Bessie got her tires rotated and balanced (TWO tire stories in one week – how excited are you?). Big Bessie is my full-size SUV. I could probably live inside of her, if only she had a bathroom….

Scheduled Maintenance

All car maintenance happens on an accelerated schedule on this trip. Standard oil changes are every 6,000 miles, but given the burden of towing, the transmission mechanic back home advised every 3,000 miles. Similarly, tires are rotated and balanced every 6,000 miles instead of the traditional 12,000.

Side note: I’ve driven more than 6,000 miles (already), but a few thousand were sans-trailer–you surely know about the accidents by now. While the camper was in rehab, I kept on truckin, er’ SUV-in’ across the Tri-State area.

Beyond the Call of Duty

Early in the trip I realized that I’d spoken with every specialist mechanic except for the tire guy back home. And yes, I have specialist mechanics for dedicated parts of the car: transmission, hitch, tires. Do you go to the family practitioner to get a broken arm re-set? Me neither.

Kieran, the tire guy, was upset when I called him, not even a week on the the road. He was upset because he wished that I had brought the SUV and camper to him so that he could look over the tires and teach me what I needed to know.

Let’s put things in perspective. How often do you see ANY mechanic? Hopefully, not so often. And then a specialist for tires? Rarely. So the fact that Kieran had this sense of investment was heart-warming.

I asked which chain I could go to for tire maintenance and he adamantly said none. Maaaybe the dealership, but he didn’t really like that either. So he offered to find tire shops as I make my way across the country. Just give him a week’s notice and he’ll call the distributor to find out the name of a shop equivalent to him wherever I am.

And that’s what happened last week, leading me to Kellenberger Auto Service in Elgin IL (Chicagoland area).

Could You Translate that into Girl?

A clean shop, with friendly people and a phone system from the 70’s, Kellengerber rotated and balanced my tires in under an hour.

I asked if everyone was healthy, and the mechanic said something along the lines of “the tires are over-weighted and every tire was off-balance.”

I stared blankly at him. “Could you translate that into girl?”

He stared blankly at me, and then at the guy who works the counter.


Then, slowly, they found girl-friendly words and were able to explain. Tires come with one weight, some of mine had multiple, throwing me off balance. I didn’t do anything wrong to make all of the tires un-balanced, it’s the way of towing, road construction, and miles. There was nothing I needed to do differently moving forward, just get service in another 6,000 miles.

Done and done.

It’s a Relief to Have Good Service

People ask if I’m afraid on the trip. Not in the ways that they expect: I don’t fear Sasquatch or bugs or serial killers (but of course I lock the camper door at night). I do intensively fear a tire exploding. Which would just be an inconvenience, truly. And it’s not like I’m physically going to change the tire myself, I do have my limits. That’s why I have roadside service from a camping vendor, Good Sam, from Ford, and the expanded service at AAA. Think it’s enough?

So when Kieran finds a reputable place for me, and the guys translate into girl, and some dude at a truck stop teaches me about filling the tires with air, it gives me great peace. Physical peace – my shoulders come down from my ears, my breathing settles, I honestly feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Atlanta Folk: Want to Get Your Tires via Kieran?

You should. If this post isn’t sufficient reason why, let’s explore other kindnesses and caring.

  • I blew a tire on the dreaded 285 and they saw me immediately, inspecting the wheel and fixing everything in minutes–in the midst of other work.
  • They guide me toward good tires without the expense.
  • My favorite: how Kieran set a speed limit for a years-past road-trip because I didn’t plan in advance for new tires and they didn’t have them in stock to change before vacation. He said I’d be fine to drive, as long as I kept the speed-limit-curfew. I did, he was right, and upon return got new tires. Easy peasy.

Kieran [don’t know his last name]
Gran Turismo


Who is one of your everyday heroes?
Please respond in the comments below.

11 Responses


Your response to them was so much better than “Huh” or “Say what?” I usually say something undiplomatic, like, “Can you explain that so a 12-year-old can understand it?”

Jeannine – thanks for the giggle. I think your phrasing to explain for a 12yo is quite diplomatic. I’m likely being sexist in my style. Perhaps I should ask them to translate for a 12yo girl and then all the bases are covered.

I hate feeling incompetent. Since I’m not driving a trailer across the country, my experiences trying to understand Klingon mostly occur when a Millennial is trying to explain something computer-related (hardware and/or software) to me.
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..“What the ?!” Travel PhotosMy Profile

Suzanne – perfect response! I feel the same way about technology stuff. That’s why I either post questions to Facebook and let my friends explain, or go to the 24yo who I used to work with. He doesn’t get my cultural references in jokes and I don;t know how to make anything work. But we get along famously!


Miss, I speak jive … and girl. Thank you for introducing me to a reputable, local tire place in Elgin (it’s not like I have lived 1 mile away from there for 10 years)


And I’m just learning about it?
Great…now I’m into retro worry.

My Mother – you don’t make up enough to worry about, you’re going to add something you forgot? It happened in 2001.


Did you really want to know all this about tires? A applaud your initiative.

Dick – no, in real life i don’t want to know that much about tires. Good point. But I never wanted to know about water heaters or roofs or termites and having a house forced me to learn about them. I think it’s part of being a grown-up.

Paula, the key is to find a 24 year old to whom one did not give birth. I sometimes get help from one of my son’s travel blogger friends, but he concedes that he can’t help his mother with cyber issues either.
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..“What the ?!” Travel PhotosMy Profile

Suzanne – well done! Great observation.

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