On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My writing students were appalled when I was grossly overcharged for some auto work. We got off track in class, and started trading stories about fixing cars (many of them are mechanics--it's a tech college), and they demanded I write the story about the time I "tucked in" my first car.

It was a very cold day in central Illinois, and my 1968 VW bug was chugging as I went to work. There, thinking to hold in whatever engine heat I could, I wrapped a big pink felt blanket over the engine and went in, confident my engine at least wouldn't freeze.

After work, I was supposed to be presiding over a local junior high school drama club, so I jumped in the car without thinking, started the engine, and began backing up. The car stopped dead.

I ran to see what was wrong and was greeted by the sight of my pink blanket, which had been sucked into the mechanism, woven throughout the engine. Thinking quickly (or really not thinking, as I was in shock--I had wrecked my engine!) I ran into my office and borrowed some tools from the custodian. I then proceeded to pull parts of the engine off, piece by piece, as I yanked out whatever blanket I could, snipping off bits at a time, working my way through the engine. I removed belts and pullies and whatever else looked like it could be easily dislodged. After I got the (now shredded) blanket completely out, I put everything back the way it was. (I had laid it all out on a towel in the snow in the order in which I had removed it.) I returned the tools, turned on my engine, and got to Drama Club just as the kids were giving up and leaving.

I ran the car for another two years after that--without any further engine work needing to be done. Needless to say, I never tucked in my engine again.

God, the good old days/cars! I wouldn't try that again! What is a fuel injector anyway?


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