Location: marengo, il, United States

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Let's crank up some Blues, baby

I am not fond of winter at all. Used to, I’d spend good money and pay to have flat boards attached firmly to my healthy feet, and then waddle over a ways to pay someone else to haul the boards and me up a snow-covered mountain, where I next would brazenly hurl myself off the face of said sturdy mountain, and enjoy every death-defying minute sliding and falling head-over-heels to the bottom. That is all in the past now, but as for being no longer fond of cold weather, I am not alone.

My van hates it as bad as I do. Well, it is worn and decrepit as well, so there you go.

A drop in temperature that requires one to don sweater or light coat also keeps the van from starting. A friend recently suggested the choke might be sticking, so I learned how and where to kick the old rust-bucket, which seemed to work. Then the snows came. And the thermometer plunged to below freezing. And Van said, “No way, baby. Forget it. Get out of here and leave me alone.”

Well. That came as a first-class insult to these ears, and when insulted, I go and get a bigger hammer. So I went and called Clem. Clem, or Earl, as I call him, runs a shady garage down the street. He has been in business for years, Jed has, so I called him and made an appointment to see if he or his other mechanic Goober could figure out how to un-clog, re-align, re-wire or insert-here-and-pull to fix the deal.

See, I know a lot about cars. I have steered them for years, and if you need tips on that I can sure help. I am dependable too. I had no problem driving the five blocks down to Rube’s combination garage-and-coin-operated-laundry/pizza parlor, nor was parking there a hassle. Told you, I am good.

So I gave Simpson the key, walked home, and then sat and waited for Eugene to call me back. Wife says, “Oh, just call him. Who cares if you interrupt his little nap up underneath your van? I would.”

She would too, I know for a fact. She is forever…well, you get that picture.

So I did. “Hello, Jake?” I said. I could tell he looked at the phone in his hand like an FBI agent was calling.


“Well, I was just wondering….”

I could hear him scratching something, but I won’t say what or where.

“Yeah, this snow is killing us we are swamped I don’t know when Herb will be able to get to your van probably in a day or two why don’t you call me back try next time say tomorrow when we are less busy.”

Who can argue with that logic?

So tomorrow came and I called him back. Clyde already had his bill prepared, too. Throwed it right in my face, over the phone.

“Four hundred dollars to fix it,” He yawned.

So I walked right down there and drove it back home, thank you very much. Told him, yeah, next week when my check arrives. His half-lidded eyes said he understood my dilemma when he handed me the key back.

Yesterday I took my hammer and ice pick and went out to try to crank my baby. Temps had melted some of the snow, and the sun looked promising. I turned the key in the ignition, and all I heard was a brand-new noise, supplied free of charge.

WHIRR. WHIRRRR, and then another WHIRRRRRR.

Three times I tried, and I think I recognized the sound as the starter not kicking in. I called Clarence back and woke him up again.

"You guys broke my starter."

“Coincidence,” He claimed. “We can fix that too.”

So now I got to go walk around town to find me lawyer to sue a mechanic, which seems really pointless, come to think of it. Too damn cold out there, I tell you.


Blogger Jay said...

I also hate the cold, although I tend to think that hate is too gentle a word for the relationship between myself and winter. And as for me and my car, well...bleck. something fell off it 2 months ago. I picked up the part, and now it's in my shoe rack. The car still runs, but for how much longer? At this time of the year, I make sure to keep extra mittens in my car in case of emergency, and invest in a good pair of warm walking shoes. That's about all I can handle.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Well, if you guys will insist on living in the frozen north...

9:00 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

It's a Ford, Way, isn't it? I bet it's a Ford. Fords never start in the winter. Here's a little trick I learned the one and only time I owned a Ford. Jack up the fuel filler cap, move the van away and insert a Chevy or Dodge under the cap. Drop the jack and drive away. Works every time, honest...

9:04 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

A shoe rack indeed. Art should be hung on walls, Jamie. One piece even graces a coffee table.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

There's this wondrous device called an Oklahoma Credit Card, Gone, but that's another story.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Actressdancer said...

The relationship between and man and his vehicle astounds me. You "bitch moan and complain" about the carefully shaped bits of metal, yet rain your wrath of brimstone on the first other person to suggest it might be time for a trade in (espcially when said person implies you might be better off 'upgrading' to another make or model). You'd rather dump hundreds of dollars into your 'beloved' (probably named)forms of transportation than to admit that, like all else in Western Culture, cars (used generically here to mean vans, trucks, suvs and the like) are disposable.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

An Oklahoma Credit Card, hey? Sounds like something I could use...

Note to self: Must research deeper into these local sayings

8:39 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Oh Actress, you just don't UNDERSTAND....

8:40 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

All these friends dropping by unexpectedly, and here I sit in my shorts.

Sorry, gang. Hiya, Gone. Hey, Act. Hi Jamie...nice to meetcha.

(Act is just being dramatic, Gone.)

3:55 PM  

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