With Monday's tire issue still not resolved (I'm getting new [used] tires on Saturday), a new problem has reared its ugly head in my car. Today the window motor in the right rear door burned out. Power windows are, of course, the worst idea of all time for exactly this reason. Thunderstorms are forecast for Thursday, so I'm going to have my brother help me jam the damn thing back up into place before then. After that, I will simply have to accept that that window, like the driver-side window will remain closed forever. I have a fear that the same will soon be true for all the windows of this car, and with my luck, this will happen before the weather cools.
Coincidentally, a year ago today I was coming to terms with the fact that my wife's car was dead and not coming back (apologies to Hoss for a "Here's another one from the archives"-style post).
I went a year without a car, and now that I am no longer biking to work and bumming rides, I am living my personal hell.
When I was a boy, many an hour were spent alongside my dad in the lobbies of various auto repair shops. Due in part to the fact that my dad seems to think that basic auto maintenance is for pussies, our cars would break down with incredible frequency. Cars are like that -- once you get behind the 8 ball*, it becomes incredibly difficult to remove yourself. The cost of one set of repair puts you in a financial hole so deep that you can't afford to deal with other problems until they become too great to ignore. It becomes an evil, unbreakable circle. In my memory, the visits to auto body shops are more frequent than trips to the doctor (and keep in mind that I'm asthmatic -- I saw the doctor a lot).
Once, our minivan's cruise control got stuck (even after shutting off the car and starting it back up, the cruise control refused to disengage -- it kept trying to rev back up to 60 mph, forcing my dad to drop it into neutral at intersections and then riding the brakes as he fought the thing to the nearest Firestone) just as we were arriving in Austin on a particularly hot day. As a result, I spent the afternoon jumping pieces of concrete in the parking lot instead of going to Schlitterbahn. I distinctly remember standing there in the heat, my eyes rolling back in my head from boredom, and vowing to myself: "This will not be me."
I promised myself that I would fix problems when they needed to be fixed. I would do all maintenance on time. If a car were getting to be a problem, I would get rid of it. I would not be beaten by some goddamned dirty piece of metal. But that's a much more difficult battle to fight than I realized.
And this is why I love my brother -- he understands cars. When he taught me how to replace the brakes, I saved hundreds of dollars. He saved me hundreds of dollars earlier this year when he fixed the radiator. He saved me hundreds of dollars last year when he helped me replace all the plugs and wires (admittedly, I had done this before, but he was the one actually doing all the work). And now he is going to save me money and embarrassment (taking an '83 Oldsmobile in for service on the power windows? What?).
This week it was reported that the U.S. military has devised a plan to operate domestically in case of terror attack. Does this make anyone else nervous? Instead of using a force that is primarily trained to kill, wouldn't it be better to use one of our myriad domestic forces -- off the top of my head: U.S. Marshals, ATF, FBI, DEA, Border Patrol, state police, municipal police.
Behold the Yankees' dumbass.
I think it's really cool that Radio 1 is now broadcasting in the United States (of course, I and probably thousands of others have been listening online for years). I like the idea of a global radio station, and I think the BBC has the capacity to pull that off. But the time delay is arse. Especially considering that it the single five-hour delay applies cross-country. In other words, while Chris Moyles' 7 a.m. show will broadcast at 7 a.m. in New York City, it will broadcast at 6 a.m. here in St. Paul, 5 a.m. in Denver, 4 a.m. in Los Angeles. What the hell is the point of that? I'll just continue to listen online.
Ever have one of those days when you want to drive to Canada, listening to metal all the way there? That's where I'm at today.
*Is that a real phrase, or did I just make that up?