I should also mention that I hate Santa Maria, the town that once gave me a $125 parking ticket and later freed purported kid-diddler Michael Jackson. While driving through their town — barf town, really — I got a flat and had to spend two and a half hours in the waiting room of Pep Boys. During this period, I was approached by a succession of old people who wished to talk to me. This, in itself, is not especially bad. The bad part comes when two separate elderly reps of Santa Maria's citizens attempted to connect with me on the basis of casual racism.
An example. (He's in italics.)
— So you from around here?A different old man came into the waiting room with a poodle and the kind of expression one gets after he wrestles Death's bony hand from his arm and says "Sorry, Death. Not today." The poodle, notably, has a head that I estimate to be composed of ninety percent eye goop. Her name is Missy. Little Missy keeps trying to jump up on my lap and sneak a bite of my hamburger. I note that if any of her eye goop comes in contact with my food, I'll immediately vomit.
— No, I'm from Santa Barbara. I'm trying to get home.
— Oh, is it like it is down here?
— What do you mean?
— Oh, I don't think Santa Barbara is too crowded. Santa Maria either, really.
— Well I meant with all the Mexicans.
— You walk on the street here and it's like downtown Tijuana.
— Whole town's gone to hell.
— Well, I've never been to Tijuana.
As I subtly kick Missy away, I ask her owner how old she is. "Twelve," he says. "That's eighty-four in human years." I'm suddenly a skosh more tolerant of Missy Eye Goop. "Wow, that's really old," I say. Old man turns to me. "I'm eighty-six."
So, in short, the experience was magical and memorable. If you ever get a flat, make sure it happens in a better town — barf town — than Santa Maria.