Thursday, October 25, 2012


It just happened.  I've been waiting for months for this day, and it's come with its typical stealth, like a cherry bomb in a mailbox.  I'm sitting in the Smithfield Home Depot parking lot, having just got a ‘jump’ for my suddenly disabled Mercury Villager from a pair of friendly older cats in a white work van.  We got my heap started up, they drove off satisfied with a good deed done, and I limped 200 yards further down the 2-acre parking lot to where my much-abused mini-van settled to rest with a quiet, sputtering cough.  Silent, we sat, as I considered my predicament concerning the days' work.  Work is everything right now, naturally, and the fact that I have some work is why this sucks... so, finally resigned to the efficiency of my cellular network, I made the call to Chuck and Sons' towing, presumably to escort my Old Faithful to her Final Destination... such is the state of mind I had incurred by this time.

I'm not prepared, particularly, for this, even though I am well aware that the poor crumpled thing has over 307,000 miles on her.  Pretty good for a ’92 “used-to-be-a-soccer-taxi” Mercury Villager- but I must focus some credit on where it’s due:  It's the Nissan Engine, still running like a top, which has outlived her poor old adopted chassis and 'peripheral' systems, which gets the color-guard and 21-gun salute.  Here's to you, old friend, thanks for the ride!

I have been living this way since I can remember, driving ‘whatever’ to its bitter end, and ‘getting out and walking’, as it were, until I find a new, old piece of technological discard to climb into for another 100,000 miles or so.  I just have never really cared that much about what I drive, as long as it gets me there, unharmed, with my stuff.  That whole “American Love Affair with the Automobile” is just a largely alien paradigm to me- I’ve never been able to get my proverbial Velcro Hooks into it and raise my glass.  It's an essential ethic to me, really, to simply drive a ‘necessary vehicle’ and stay out of at least some debt because of it.  It may be unglamorous, but it's paid for, you see.  This brand of thinking is also the result of doing the kind of work for my livelihood that dictates having a vehicle that doesn't need to be washed and waxed, can carry ungainly objects and large power tools, and will still look "like it's supposed to" after a few scratches and dings have become part of the presentation.  

 Okay, so it’s also a money issue- I spend way too much time being broke!  Ah, and speaking of “broke”, here comes the tow truck now...

Later that morning...

I got the tow and left the van at the garage.  It appears to be an ‘alternator issue’ which is easy and cheap enough to fix.  That's assuming the van isn't going to take the pipe the day after I pay for the repair- but I’ll have to take my chances at this point.  Most wise of options would be to have a new (old…) vehicle on-deck, since the advent of such a development is pending anyway. 

The next day...

I'm still here.   I hope it gets repaired today- that it even CAN be repaired- or I'll be shopping the used car lots, getting my ears bent sorely out of shape by badly angling salesmen, and reciting bad jokes.  Or writing my blog from the Pine Street Inn... Either way it's going to be a long day.

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