This post is for B.
, who has grown understandably inpatient with my infrequent posting and also has a soft spot in her heart for all of my car woes
Perhaps I should have used a tad more discretion before posting this
little ditty in my Church experience. God, being the merciful God that He is, did not send thunderbolts to strike me dead in retribution. But He did the next best thing. He fucked with Xteen's car.
Now, Xteen's job requires her to drive all over creation, so the demise of the Saturn was neither sudden nor unexpected. I just really would have appreciated it if it could have held off shitting the bed before I spent $140 on Iron Maiden tickets. Speaking of Maiden, 666 may be the number of the beast, but I'm pretty sure the letters of the beast are AAA.
OK, so here's the gig. I get a phone call at work about 8 seconds before I am about to leave, which is never good. My immediate relief that it wasn't some wacko from work with an utterly unreasonable request was immediately tempered by Xteen on the other end of the line. She usually doesn't call my work when she thinks I am on the way out, so I knew something was up. Turns out that she was about to leave her last appointment when the Satanmobile wouldn't turn over.
She asked me what I thought was wrong.
Now, you would think with my vast experiences with my own shitbox that I would have a modicum of knowledge as to the maladies suffered my these truly nefarious devices. Personally, I believe I have this knowledge:
Xteen, not so much:
"No. What should I do?"
"Uhhh...get a jump?"
"I don't think the battery is dead."
I get defensive about her all hatin' on me:
"Well, I certainly can't diagnose the problem over the phone! Who am I? Mr Goodwrench?"
She, thankfully, doesn't say aloud what we are both thinking, which is that I could have my head shoved in an empty gas tank and still not know why the car won't run.
"Maybe you should call the letters of the beast."
"Well, I called our guy."
Our guy is a local mechanic who absolutely LOVES our Mastercard.
"He said that maybe something is wet under the hood, since it is raining and that's causing the problem."
Is the Saturn a fucking Gremlin
? You can't get a car wet now? Are you gonna tell me that I can't gas it up after midnight or it will sprout a white mohawk and slice my face to shreds?
Side note: This was the only thing that really bothered me about Gremlins. "Don't feed him after midnight." Well, every time is technically "after midnight", Eric Clapton. I'm typing this at 9:22 pm on a Tuesday. It's after midnight. It's also after 8:30. So basically, the movie has a serious plot flaw which blows the whole thing to shit in my opinion.
Back to the car. Fuck the a/c. Can I get a giant umbrella in my option package so my car doesn't explode when it drizzles out? Is this why all the highways and biways of Seattle are strewn with the carcasses of automobiles? Because they got WET?
I start to doubt "our guy" when Xteen notes that the car has started up and she's going to try to drive it to "our guy" who is probably waiting for us with a blow dryer and a bill for $350.
I leave work and get about 6 steps from my own car when my cell phone rings. I know what awaits me on the other line.
"My car died."
"Where are you?"
"Right where 495 meets the Pike."
For those not from the area, you quite possibly couldn't be broken down in a more pinpointed area of two main roads. It's not like the thing crapped out somewhere between Mile Marker 52 and where the dead wildebeest (the Happy Meal of the Jungle) is being mauled by 837 leopards, which is what wildebeests are born to do. Keep this in mind.
I tell her to get out of the car and stay on the other side of the guardrail and to call the letters of the beast. Dim's a-gonna rescue you.
I arrive expecting to see some sort of police entourage since, uh, it's a disabled vehicle, almost immediately at the end of the offramp of a major friggin road, and it is rainy and foggy and cold out. Not to mention, the letters of the beast told Xteen that all dead cars on said Pike fall under the jurisdiction of the Staties, so now we have a dual layer of incompetence on the job.
I join Xteen as we stand amongst the most vile and wet filth and muck you can possibly imagine which I attribute to Xteen having the unfortunate luck to break down where all of the snow plows gather to vomit after their all-night Penzoil benders.
Xteen calls back and gets the State Police again.
"We were given the wrong location."
Uhh. Pike. 495. Where the twain shall meet, which is only ONE FUCKING PLACE. I suggest to Xteen that she tells the cop that, actually, we killed someone and stuffed their body into the trunk of her car, which incidentally, happens to be broken down, so we would be obliged if they would also send a tow when they break out the paddy wagon.
We're now working on 45 minutes in the cold and rain. Xteen is cold. I'm holding her umbrella, which is about as emasculating as watching an all day Ryan's Hope marathon on SOAPnet
. I see one of those behemoth rigs that carry like 20 broken down cars at once pass by. I scan it. 10 cars that look like Xteen's and 10 police cruisers. Not a good omen.
Xteen calls the cops again. I'm temped to walk a mile to the nearest rest area in an attempt to lure them to us with crullers. The officer, no doubt sitting in his heated office, in a bathrobe and slippers, watching a Ryan's Hope marathon on SOAPnet says, "Just be patient."
Eventually, Jabba the Tow Truck Driver shows up. He's not svelte. And not very chatty.
Our collective internal temperatures have dipped to Paris Hilton's IQ levels. And Jabba decides he is going to take 20 minutes to pry himself out of the cab of the truck. He walks over to us. Xteen approaches him.
Now, keep in mind we are on a major fucking highway that the state police apparently couldn't locate because the North Star wasn't out yet, but is still loaded with vehicles loudly going well over the speed limit.
If the volume of Xteen's voice were a font size, it would be this
. She says something to Jabba that even I can't hear and I am right next to her with an umbrella in one hand and my castrated testicles in the other.
The tow truck driver has an obnoxiously wicked pissah Bahstin accent. And replies, HAH?!
This goes on for awhile as he gets the paperwork he needs, hooks the car up to the thing, blah blah blah.
"Where's this goin'?"
You get the idea. I try to yell to him. "That's my car behind hers. Just follow me there."
To which he replies, "I don't have GPS. Someone's gonna have to ride with me."
Of course you don't have GPS. You're only in the business of travelling on strange roads to find people who are broken down and then towing them on other strange roads to strange towns and strange "other people's guys". Why would you possibly need some useless newfangled technology like a GPS? In fact, why don't you just get around like I do? Send a carrier pigeon to your destination ahead of time and wait for the fucking smoke signals you ask them to send up so you can figure out where you are going. Do you mean to tell me that Mr. Rand and Mr. McNally's work was all in vain?
Then, Sherlock notices my car.
"Who's car is that?"
"Uhh. That's mine. I'm her man-servant (can't you tell? I'm holding the umbrella and valiantly having a bitch-slap fight with the wind to keep it from turning me into Mary Poppins...thankfully, my own Jabba-ness is keeping us firmly anchored down in the filth and muck) and, what are the odds, I just happened upon this scene and my car broke down right behind hers!"
Only I didn't say that. I said, "That's mine. I'm her husband."
"Oh," says Einstein. "I can just follow you there."
"Brilliant! You're in the wrong field. With that kind of brainpower, you are wasting away towing cars. I can easily see you in a much more challenging position, like filling the soda machines at rest stops or letters of the beast dispatcher."
He hooks the car up and tows it to "our guy."
Once there, he starts to take Xteen's car off the bed. The car is at a 45 degree angle from the ground, nose in the air.
"OK, I need you to get in the car, release the emergency break, and put it in neutral."
I figure this is as good a time as any to believe in women's lib.
"Go ahead, honey," I say.
So I climb in. The driver's seat is reclined all the way, like a massage table, because the driver needed to climb in to do something and his girth could not allow him comfort unless the seat was pushed back into the trunk.
I climb in and am instantaneously scared shitless. I feel like I am about T-minus 6 seconds away from blasting off to dock with the Mir.
I'm able to finagle the car off the bed and into a space in the parking lot of the garage that belongs to "our guy". It takes the Jaws of Life to get me out of the reclined driver's seat.
Our guy called this afternoon. Apparently, toweling it off didn't fix the problem and now we need to drop 500 clams to fix the damn thing just to get it running. A mere few weeks after proclaiming (after another monetary molestation) that the car should last a good long time, he now decrees, "You might want to start looking for a new car. This one is trying to tell you something."
"Bright light!! Bright light!!!"
Feeding it after midnight,