Air Apparent

August 11, 2014 – Day 336

The thing about being experienced (my fancy adjective for “long in the tooth”…or “older”) is that just when you think you know how something works, the world shows you that there is a far richer diversity out there.

My mundane Macguffin for the pearl of wisdom dolloped above is air.

After a few weeks away in the United States, one of the first activities I did upon our return to Thailand was to make sure our minivan was still in working order. After over twenty-one days in the Thai heat and humidity, it was not certain that our large chariot (and not to be confused with our smaller chariot) would still be in decent working order.

Thankfully, the battery and other engine parts weathered the Thai weather quite well, but there was one item that needed attention and that was the rear driver-side tire. It looked like it had lost some air, but it was still filled enough to risk taking the vehicle on the road.

In my State-side experience, when I need air for my vehicle’s tires, I go to the gas station. So, here in the northern suburbs of Bangkok, the closest gas station is where I directed my burgundy minivan. Once at the petrol-filled location, I looked around to find the hose sticking out of the ground (usually near the gas pumps) where I could dispense air.

There was no hose to be found.

Not a problem as I have also seen, while in the States, stand-alone devices that dispense air (albeit for a minor fee).

There was no device to be found.

Since my car was now parked at a gas station, an attendant came up to help me. In Thailand, just like New Jersey, Oregon, and Peru, a driver may not pump their own gas. So this attendant was coming over to fill my tank with petrol, but I instead drew her attention away from the gas pump and pointed to my not-quite-flat/not-quite-full tire. She nodded in understanding and went into a small structure where motor oil and battery water can be bought. Upon her return, she was pulling a dolly that was carrying a metal cylinder that looked suspiciously like a half-sized keg. However, instead of a potent potable, this bottle contained pressurized air. With the attached hose, the attendant helpfully filled up my wanting tire with air and that was that…and all for no charge.

So now I learned of a new way for a gas station to provide its customers with air – with a portable, rolling cylinder of pressurized air.

I wonder what other experiences await that will shake my preconceptions.

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