Friday, August 10, 2012

Roddy Refuses To Meet Uncle Skip



Uncle Skip (who is not my uncle, but he may be yours) has touched down in Boston. He tells the why and wherefore of journeying to my neck of the woods over at his place, so you should go there and look around until you find it.

We had tentative plans to meet and perhaps share a brew or seven. Unfortunately, life has conspired against us.

You all remember Roddy The Wondercar, right?

(Here is where I would show you a photo of him, except Roddy is embarrassed enough at the moment and he doesn't need the added indignity of my hideous photographic skills making him even more ashamed.)

Anyway, Roddy appears to be somewhat shy around folks from out of town. You may recall what happened one time when Lime was in town...

"... and when I went out to our garage, I was shocked to see a large green puddle under Roddy The Wondercar.

My first thought was that having such an august personage as Lime sitting in him had made him so excited that he had had a huge green orgasm. However, upon further inspection, it appeared that he was just incontinent."


Knowing that he might be asked to ferry around (not my uncle) Skip and his lovely wife, Roddy made a desperate decision to forestall such an eventuality.

Actually, he just plain stalled. In the middle of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Wheeeeeeeee!

Here's the e-mail I sent to Skip (who, in case you didn't know it, is not my uncle.)

Skip:

I'm afraid it's going to have to be a no go. Roddy The Wondercar had a not-so-wonderful night. On the way back from a doubleheader, he broke down in the middle of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

On my way to the games, I saw the battery light come on. I didn't think much of it, as I've had issues with the control panel for a while (the odd light will flash on, say seatbelts while I'm buckled in already) and I hoped it was just the usual sort of aberration.

I stopped to grab a slice of pizza before hitting the park. When I came out, Roddy wouldn't start.

OK, the park was just two blocks, so I hoofed it there. I figured I could get a jump after the games, which turned out to be correct. One of the guys gave me a ride back to Roddy, cables at the ready. When I got in, though, I tried to turn it over and it started. It was weak, but I figured, "Fine, I'll be able to drive back to Watertown. I'll get a new battery tomorrow."

As I got to the Mass Pike, power started leaving the car. Every damn light on the control panel came on, one after another, then went out, came on - it was like some idiot pinball machine. This wasn't just the battery. The battery wasn't charging. I knew I'd be lucky to get to the garage where I usually have him serviced. And a toll booth loomed ahead. If I stopped for the toll, I was pretty sure I'd die right there and piss off a whole bunch of folks behind me.


I'll now break away from the e-mail to tell you about another time when I stalled near a tollbooth. It was in Hooksett, New Hampshire, and it was in the car previous to Roddy. MY WIFE and I had just pulled through the tolls when the car died. It was pissing down rain. I got out and raised the hood, but I know nothing about cars so unless there was a note from God under there saying "Jim - Reconnect that wire to the left", the situation wasn't going to change.

Breaking down is fun enough in itself, but standing in the pouring rain added some joy. Also, the three or four hundred folks who felt a need to beep their horns at me and give me the finger made it one of the more memorable moments of my life. I'll never understand that. It was as though I had deliberately placed my car there just to piss them off. Idiots.

Back to my e-mail to Skip.

So, there are these lanes where you can speed through if you have a transponder. I don't have a transponder, but I figured the only way I was going to make the two miles I needed was to speed on through and cop a plea later. I aimed for the speed lane.

No go. Roddy gave up the ghost about ten yards outside of the tolls.

Helpful hint for future catastrophes: If you're going to break down, between two lanes and just outside of a toll booth is a wonderful place to do so. Folks can get around you without feeling the need to flip you the bird, there's someone there in the toll booth to alert the state troopers, who in turn will push you to the side and call the tow of your choice. For a bummer, it was rather pleasant. I spent a half-hour chatting with a nice trooper while waiting for my tow, and the tow driver was a hoot.

Upshot is I got to bed at about half-past midnight, I took the bus to work, and Roddy gets a new alternator. Seeing as he's a '97, the part wasn't just sitting there, so...

That's a long way around to telling you I'm sorry, but it's just not going to happen tonight. Please accept my apologies.

Jim


If any of the rest of you are ever planning a trip to Boston, and you'd like to meet up with me, whatever you do, don't tell Roddy. Next time, he might jump off a bridge or something.

Soon, with better motor stuff.



18 comments:

Buck said...

Well... THAT sucks. Car problems are in a class of their own, methinks, when it comes to general inconvenience and EXPENSE. Emphasis, in case ya missed it, on the second item.

Craig said...

Awwww. . . crap!

Sounds like Roddy is just pathologically shy, and wets himself when faced with the prospect of having to meet somebody new. . .

And I have to say, you're the only guy I know who would look at a green puddle under his car and think 'orgasm'. . .

;)

Craig said...

Sounds like an alternator; in which case, you could add bold, and a couple exclamation points, to Buck's all-caps on EXPENSE!!!

Jeremy said...

I had some issues with my car this summer too, I'm slowly learning to replace or fix them myself. Rewarding and frustrating at the same time.

Jackie said...

Love your stories...absolutely.
I'm so glad that when Roddy decided to give up the ghost he did it near a toll booth and that a trooper helped you. (My son-in-law is a trooper, and I have a soft spot in my heart for them!)
I'm hoping that the alternator price is a comfortable one and that Roddy will resurrect, and that you two will have many more happy trails together.
P.S. I smiled at your alliteration regarding the rain in Hooksett. I thought I had misread it ...but then I re-read it and smiled. Yes, Jim has done it again...painted an unforgettable picture. I love your writing, my friend.
Have a beautiful weekend.
Hugs from J.

messymimi said...

My sympathy -- i've broken down in so many places that were beyond weird i've lost count.

Is there any way you could take a cab to meet (not your uncle) Skip?

Stephen Hayes said...

Our son has a fit whenever his car makes a strange sound. The hood is opened and we don't hear from him until the sound is silenced. My car rattles and shakes and makes all kinds of sounds. I don't fix it; I write lyrics to go with the sounds.

Jinksy said...

What a bummer! :)

Uncle Skip, said...

What Jinksy said...

Tabor said...

This post has definitely reminded me that I need to get a new car...or at least begin my research.

Michelle H. said...

Ugh, that definitely sucks. But at least help was nearby.

Hilary said...

What a shame that you weren't able to connect with (not your) Uncle Skip. Nice to know that folks were helpful though. And you sure can take a frustrating event and turn it into a top-notch post.

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SueAnn Lommler said...

At least you didn't get flipped off this time.
Ours is a 94 and she has been overheating. Thought it would pass...like hot flashes maybe...but no...it is the head gasket and the head may be warped as well!! Sigh!!
I have been hearing "Taps" in the far distant shores.
Hugs
SueAnn

SarcasticTestGuy said...

That's funny as hell (not that you broke down). I'm guilty myself of looking under the hood of a car in trouble, all the while knowing that unless God put that note there, I would not be able to do *anything*. Yet, I still look!

I hope Roddy's feeling better soon.

lime said...

rats! i am disappointed for uncle skip and his wife as i can testify to the great fun it is to join you and YOUR WIFE in some general tomfoolery.

sadly, i'd have to also admit roddy was not the first thing i'd induced incontinence in....

Jeni said...

While reading this post I realized -after reading your stuff for what, 4-5 years now I think -that something I really like about your writing a story is that you write it in a convoluted manner -pretty much the same way I would do and also, the way I talk too -or so many people tell me when I start to tell a story and they begin to wave their hands, giving me signals to speed it up, get to the end, soon! LOL I don't listen to them either! Had you asked, I would have guessed a generator or alternator was the source of your problem. I know that not because of great mechanical knowledge but rather of symptoms my daughter has complained about in her car and knowing those two things on her buggy have now been replaced. And speaking of replacements, my jeep is 14 years old and still struggling along but I've noticed it sort of grinds a bit when I turn the ignition on to start her up. Time to start saving money -what money, I haven't yet figured out but saving something anyway so I can then save my poor little car (jeep)! Yes,EXPENSE!!!!!

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