Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Car is SO Hot it Stops Traffic...

This is not my car. Just an illustration.


Rewind to Saturday morning. The night was frigid and the bitter cold still hung in the air. I woke up earlier than I usually do on Saturday mornings and set out to do some errands. I sat down, looked through my cookbooks, and made a grocery list. I even had my coupons all ready to go. I kissed the hubby goodbye and bundled up to head out into the cold.

I crossed the street to where Jazzy (short for Jasmine), my faithful Explorer was parked and got in. She started up nicely and we headed down the street. After a brief second of deliberation, I decided which route to take to the grocery store. All was well as I made my way down the street and made a couple of turns. I casually stopped behind another car at a stop sign and once that car had successfully pulled out into traffic, I inched forward for my turn at craning my neck and hoping for a break in traffic. I eased my foot onto the gas and that's when it happened! Jazzy quit. The radio was still playing and my blinker was still blinking but the engine was not running and the car was NOT moving. Despite the growing line of traffic behind me, I calmed myself and turned the key into the off position and then back on. The engine whined, but the glorious sound of the engine turning over and the car starting was noticeably absent. I admit it. This is when I started to panic.

I turned my emergency blinkers on, and then back off accidentally, and then back on again, all the while trying repeatedly to turn the key and will the car to start. That's when it started. The beeping. The obscene hand gestures. If I hadn't been so upset, I would have gotten out of the car to announce to the irritated drivers that I had indeed done this on purpose to keep them sitting on the bridge and from reaching their final destinations. It was indeed a conspiracy and I was loving every minute of it. (I hope you are all noting the sarcasm here). Eventually they realized that the beeping and obscene hand gestures weren't really accomplishing anything besides keeping them there even longer, and they started to go around me. It was progress.

Somewhere between the engine unsuccessfully cranking and the menacing stares of my fellow drivers, I called the hubby to let him know that he needed to call a tow truck and get there STAT! (By letting him know, I mean I was crying and babbling incoherently about how I was in the middle of the road and the car wouldn't start and I was starting to become a traffic incident.)

Finally, out of nowhere the car started. I was startled. By this point I didn't realize I was STILL turning the key and trying to get it to start. I was elated, but terrified at the same time. I navigated the car through the stop sign and to a parking spot on the side of the road. I sat and let the car warm up for a minute and then, thinking that it all might be alright after all, I headed for my original destination.

While stopped at a traffic light I noticed that it seemed the car in front of me was expelling a ridiculous amount of exhaust fumes. On further inspection I discovered that it was not, however, the exhaust from the car in front of me, but instead steam, or smoke, or something pouring out from the hood of my car! This was bad. Very bad. I pulled my car into the nearest store parking lot and hid in my car away from the staring eyes of my fellow store patrons until my car had stopped fuming. I went in and bought antifreeze.* I thought it might help.

I poured the antifreeze in the car, checked my oil (which was fine) and headed on to the grocery store. Things were okay for a minute or two, but then I noticed the steam starting again and the temperature gauge rising a bit more quickly than I really thought it should. I pulled into a parking spot in front of the grocery for a split second before pulling back out and heading across yet another bridge to the repair shop where I had already scheduled my annual inspection for this week. I held my breath for the entire 2 minute drive there, afraid that my car would stop again at any moment, and pushing out the small fear in the back of my mind that it might just blow up! Two traffic lights and lots of shaking nervousness later, I pulled my car into a spot in front of the repair shop. To my dismay, they were closed for the day and wouldn't be back in until Monday. I thought about my options briefly and realized that this car was not going ANYWHERE. I called the hubby and had him pick me up. We left Jazzy there on her own for the duration of the weekend.

I was concerned that she might not recover this time from whatever malady was plaguing her, but I got the news yesterday that an unspecified amount of money that I really didn't want to spend on her right now later, she will be well again.

Until the next time anyway.

*this occured after several phone calls to several people who instructed me on just where exactly the antifreeze needed to go (I knew okay, I just wanted to be sure I was right), and a phone call or two to hubby who got the distinct privledge of trying to help me remain calm throughout this episode.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Gah, isn't spending all that money the worst? We had to get the transmission in our Impala rebuilt before Christmas. So what ended up being the problem?