Friday, August 19, 2011

Just too exciting for words

Look, a pretty picture of fishies and a Chihuly glass ball. Deep breath in, let it go slowly.

Let me tell you about my day.

I got up and went walking, thinking, oh, yes, this is going to be a boring day. I have to get some work done and renew my license plates, but hey, overall dull, dull, dull.


I decided to go to the license branch right after a quick brunch of my favorite food (Frosted Flakes). I sing along with my new Supernatural music mix (I am starting to really love Led Zepplin again; thought I'd broken the habit) and am enjoying the sunny summer day, when I pull into the license branch.

And my car starts to smoke.

Not "oooh, some wispy smoke tendrils!" smoke, but "OMGWTFBBQ, my car's on fire!!!" smoke. As in, I seriously thought my car was on. Fire. Now, I've busted a radiator hose or two in my time, so I know what it looks like. This was California In Springtime smoke curling up out of my hood.

I bolt out of my car into the license branch, only to discover (to my horror) that the one time I actually need the stupid thing, I've left my cell phone at home. A place I can no longer get to, as my car is smoking out in the parking lot like a juvenile delinquent with some serious lung cancer to develop. Crap.

This is when things get real interesting: I rush in to the desk to ask the ladies if they've got change for their (really rare and, it turns out, defective) public phone or a fire extinguisher or some advice for a damsel in distress, and I hear a woman in the back shout, "Oh, my God, there's a car on fire in the lot! Call 911!"

Before I can do anything, almost before I can speak, the lady at the counter comes out and asks if she can help. I'm freaking out (naturally), some guy in line comes over and asks if that's my car and the disembodied voice from the back takes physical shape in the person of Counter Lady 2 and comes out front to let me know she's already called the fire department. Ok, fine.

The guy in line turns out to be some sort of engine whisperer (or at least more conversant with cars than I am) and goes out with me. The smoke, by this time, is no longer pouring out in great, gusty waves so he pops my hood to discover that one of my coolant lines has, indeed, sprung a leak. The line in question is a hard plastic pipe that looks a bit like a crevice tool for a vacuum and the leak it has sprung runs the length of the pipe, right across the front of my engine, creating a long high-pressure leak that is spraying coolant over the entirety of my engine. Not just the flat metal heat exhaust pan right in front of it, no, from side to side across the width of my engine, like some sort of hellish engine sprinkler, watering the daisies of my oil pan with green water. Which is why there's so much smoke -- the coolant was everywhere at once, not just in a single spot. He grabs a jug of water out of his car and wets the engine down, probably stopping something melting worse than it already was before.

Meanwhile, the fire dudes arrive, sirens blaring, and check it out, too. They declare my engine fire (which never really was) out, lecture me about raising the hood when I see smoke, throw down kitty litter and saw dust under the car on my coolant leak and call a tow truck for me. Fine, excellent, get me out of there, whatever.

I finally manage to reach my mother (through the kindness of Counter Lady Number 3, who loaned me her cell phone), who calls Dad, who yells at me for calling a tow truck. I didn't call the tow truck, the firemen did. Well, why call the fire department? It was obviously a coolant leak. I didn't call the firemen, the BMV ladies did. Silence on the phone. I guess it's hard to blame me when I didn't really call anyone, on account of I didn't have my frakkin' cell phone in the first place.

So, anyway, the upshot is for all that excitement and bollywoggle (and the three hours I spent towing my car hither and yon, visiting my insurance agent to get my tow fees reimbursed and then getting the lunch for my mom I'd promised her before my car started making like Vesuvius), I ended up needing a $25 part, no real damage was done to my car and I only just now managed to finish the base work load for this week. I'll have to put in some time tomorrow, because base pay isn't going to cut it anymore, but really...stick a fork in me, I'm done. From about...1:30 onward it's been nothing but hustle and bustle and heat and smoke and noise. I need some dinner and a stiff drink, stat.

To add to the auto hubbub in these parts, I was supposed to go to a movie with my friend tonight, Fright Night. I only want to see it for David Tennant. Anyway, she calls me around 5:30 as I'm frantically working my arse off to make my goals before we meet up, and tells me she can't go to the movies tonight, she's been in an accident and totaled her car. She's fine, but her Not so much.

I should note, I'm not sentimental about things. The minute she herself called me to cancel and not the hospital or her family, I was fine, perhaps to the point of sounding callous about her car. But seriously -- two cars gone A.W.O.L. in one day? In such spectacular fashion? What phase is the moon tonight?

And another soothing picture, just to help us all relax again:

There now. Doesn't Chihuly make it all better?

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