Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Something Stupid...

..the ONLY kind of personal experiences I seem to have.

Today it was the car. I just had the transmission rebuilt on Ruby the Plymouth, and ever since I had gotten her back, I had noticed a slight--at first--hesitation on shifting into second gear (and then with that I-just-turned-on-the-afterburners kick), then she was lateshifting into third, at around 45 mph (normally around 35). Not a huge deal, but she hadn't been like that before. Call the mechanic, who says he may need to make an adjustment to the tranny, drive it for a bit and see. Today it's dramatically worse, she insisted on staying in first gear aaalllllll the way to N.'s elemetary school, which causes other drivers to look at you in weird ways. On the return trip home, she does get into third gear, but at 53 mph, thank you--way too late. Mechanic says OK, bring her in. I do so, and interestingly, the first thing he does is pop the hood (isn't the transmission housed elsewhere, somewhere darker and more greasy...?). Anyway, I start the car for him and pop out from behind the wheel just in time to see him take off the air cleaner housing, then make a face and step back a moment. I follow his eyes and see...

The large armature and spring that connects the carbuerator to the accelarator pedal dangling free!

Now, how in the HELL Ruby was even moving under her own power with that whateveritwas hanging there like that (don't know the technical name for that part, sorry), I don't know. To make matters worse, there was a good-sized bolt that went to a limiter on the carb lying on top of the valve covers, and the clip that held the armature and spring in placed has vanished. Once he reconnects this part (as I laugh, quite frankly) and fashions a new clip out of a metal chunk, the car runs like a freakin' top. Go figure.

All of this got me thinking--I rarely HAVE normal experiences with cars or other things such as injuries. This car previously had, in the middle of Nowhere, New Mexico, snapped a large spring in the carbuerator which caused the accelerator to stick in 'Oh Holy God FLOOR IT!' mode, which is quite thrilling when you are driving, thank you. Luckily J. was driving and manhandled it to the side of the road, engine roaring at full throttle all the while. He found a small hardware store and jury-rigged a replacement spring, which is still functioning to this day.

Then there was the Ford Mustang I used to own that one day, for no damned good reason (or so I thought at the time, it was actually planning ahead) decided that the welded piece of metal that holds the adjustable seat in place MUST BREAK, causing the drivers' seat to rocket back and forth like an E ticket ride at Disneyland at every minor movement. Driving was impossible, I actually had to have the thing towed home where a large C clamp was permanently installed, the piece that broke being a component of the frame (great design!). Six months later, when I went to lunch at work one day, I discovered, to my horror, that I couldn't get my seatbelt unfastened! The button refused to depress when pushed. The clasp/release button arrangement on the seat belt of this particular car (bucket seats) were down too low for me to see WHY the damned button wouldn't press.

Here's where the broken seat and C clamp thing comes back into the picture: since I am short, I drive with my car seat all the way forward so I can reach the pedals. The C clamp was holding the drivers' seat firmly in it's steely jaws...I couldn't move the seat back and so loosen the shoulder/lap belt combination to escape in that way! No cutting tools in the car, either. I would have gladly cut the damned belt in frustration, just for the pleasure of maiming the car.

I was well and truly trapped, and everyone else in the office was gone to lunch. I sat there for a moment, trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to ace my way out of THIS one without becoming an Amusing Office Story, even IF those heartless bastards would stop laughing long enough to free me.

I ended up driving over to my mechanic, who, lucky for me, just happened to be walking through his garage bays when I drove up. He waved as he walked by, then came over, puzzled by my frantic waving. Once I explained to him how I was trapped, he climbed into the passenger side of the car, peered into the clasp of the seatbelt, pulled a screwdriver out of his back pocket and used it to pop a penny out of the clasp! It had wedged itself perfectly behind the button so I couldn't press it. Couldn't have happened like that in a million years. I thanked him for saving my dignity but I saw he was grinning as I drove away. Oh well, I'd rather be an amusing story at his place than mine.

What about that personal injury thing? Glad you asked. One morning when I was in a hurry to get to work, I rewarmed my scrambled eggs in the microwave. Just for a few seconds, not too much.

OK, too much.

I took one bite and gave it half a chew (since you don't REALLY need to chew eggs) and swallowed. Fatal mistake. Ever swallowed lava?

I have.

It took it's sweet time going down, too. I drove to work later on anyway, but no amount of ibuprofen and sipping cold water all morning eased the considerable pain. I finally gave up and called my family doctor, who was nice enough to give me something for it. He DID laugh, which I did not begrudge him in the slightest.

When I was a kid it was stubbed toes, mostly because I insisted on going barefoot. Once I walked down the asphalt driveway to join my mom, who was leaning in a friends' car window, talking. Stub my right big toe. Retreat to the house for Big Fun with the methiolate bottle (read: battery acid for cuts) and band aids, then come back out to visit. Stub my OTHER big toe this time. Retreat in disgust back inside where it is carpeted and safe. My other thing was whacking my head on the large, crank-out windows of our house that the sidewalk leading the the garage and back yard passed under. I was juuuuust tall enough to crack my head on the damned things, but NOT tall enough to seem them in time. My dad even hung strands of red ribbon ("The color of the blood coming from your head!" He chirped.) from the corners of the windows, to no avail.

It's no different at work...need to open the cleaning supply closet? Well, then! The two brooms, dustmop and mop will have been leaning up against the door, waiting for ME to open it so they can leap out and suddenly pummel me on the head, in full view of three of my coworkers, while I flail about and try to defend myself/stuff the demonish things back in the closet in a Marx Brothersish frenzy.  That time I pulled a hat trick--THREE people laughing at me at once.

It's summer! Well then! Weather is nice, so I leave the front door of the apartment I was living in at the time open for a moment as I step outside to walk the three feet to the laundy room. When I come back with my laundry fresh from the dryer, I discover that an Alligator Lizard the size of Milwaukee is now standing in the middle of my living room, looking ill tempered and bitey (those damned things bite like nobody's business). I run to get a broom, but he resists all efforts to shoo him back out the front door and instead bites the broom briefly before dashing under the drapes. This, at least, gives me time to form Plan B, which involves my ironing board, my large foldable cutting mat I use for sewing and several cookie sheets pressed into service to form a Lizard Expressway. Surprisingly, between the Rube Goldberg contraption, my by-now determined broom (I've wasted enough time on Lizard Boy, already!) and a bored Alligator Lizard, it works and he is funneled back to the great outdoors, where he is no doubt looking for a small child to bite.

It's Christmas! Been tirelessly wrapping gifts, and down to the very last one? Well then! As I stick the last bit of ribbon in place and stick down the bow, I sigh, "That's it, I'm done!" The word 'done' has scarcely left my lips and is still hanging in the air when the ribbon on the package springs apart with an audible "thoing!, flinging the bow across the room for good measure. I sit there and stare at it bemusedly at J. doubles over, laughing, on the couch.

So now I reflect on how it's ALWAYS Something Stupid, and now that SONG by the same title is stuck in my head...at least it's a great rendition, performed by The Mavericks and Nancy Sinatra.

*sigh* I shudder to think what Fate has in store for me next...


  1. From my sister:
    I feel for you. If we were related by blood, I'd say you inherited the Gold Family "I-have-a-chaos-magnet-in-butt" gene.

    1. I understand...I have also, from a very young age, attracted every weirdo on the planet. Riding the bus? Someone wearing a tinfoil hat who has an invisible friend tagging along getting on? 35 empty seats besides mine?

      They ALWAYS come sit by me.

      On the plus side, I HAVE met some really interesting people....