I pulled over and - as you've probably guessed - discovered that my back tire had gone flat. From where I was standing, I couldn't see what the damage was. I toyed with the idea of changing the tire myself, but after opening up the trunk and realizing that I didn't have the necessary tools, I called AAA.
This is how I learned that my AAA membership had expired back in November. I'm almost certain that I paid it, but this would have been around the time I was settling back into California life after being out in Utah, so I may have overlooked it. I was rather put out, because I never received any phone call from AAA about this, and now my account of ten years is void. I had to make a new account, and to do this I was shuffled back and forth between the billing and the emergency department. Thank goodness I was on a relatively quiet street, because once billing got involved AAA was incredibly unhelpful. They took me out of the queue for service, even though I'd said I'd renew right then and there on the phone, and dragged the renewal process out as much as possible. After I'd finally gotten the payment processed, the guy in billing hung up on me instead of transferring me back to the service line.
At that point, I was so fed up with AAA that I called my husband, who promptly showed up twenty minutes later and swapped the tire out with my spare. Once the tire was off the car, the reason for the flat became painfully obvious:
The tires were relatively new - purchased last July - so we took the car over to the store I'd purchased them at. Voila! The tire was under warranty, so I got it replaced for free. (Well, $12.00 service fee. Whatever.) I was surprised that I'd gotten the warranty, because usually I don't bother with it, but I must have figured that Utah would have some pretty rough roads so I needed the extra protection on the tires. Ha! Figures that the car made it through Boulder with no issues whatsoever, but the city streets of San Jose did the tire in.