I was blocks from home, but the tire had gone completely flat. Intent on limping to the local tire shop, I went a block before concluding it was too far gone and pulling into a filling station to attempt to reinflate the tire. But upon failing, I resolved that I would change it. This time, I would do it myself.
The jack handle bent, but I worked until I got the car in the air. I broke the lugnuts free until they were hand-tight. I unmounted the bike rack from the spare, lightly cursing that within a minute a random Cincinnatian had offered to help last time, whereas at home I was alone. But at the same time, I wanted to do this myself. Of course, just as I discovered one of the spare tire lugs had stripped did someone come by and offer to help. I had to decline the offer, explaining why I'd lost. I again limped the car a block, to a garage, where a second passer-by offered to help. He gave it a cursory try before concluding I was right. Still stuck, I popped my head in the garage, and when they too couldn't make it work, a quick hit with their air hose got me to the tire shop 12 blocks away.
Like last time, I failed to change a tire. This time, though, I could not judge myself so harshly: the failure was mechnical, not human. And my neighborhood was redeemed to my eyes in the process, a gift all its own.