Friday, August 10, 2012
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.
Here's the e-mail I sent to Skip (who, in case you didn't know it, is not my uncle.)
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.
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.