Hello TT family,
So, and in my conversation remorse and pre-justifing way...
I realize this post is cringingly long for me. I tried to telescope it as much as I could. It’s not about a limo, but a Chevy '72 primer painted tuna boat with a 450. The type that when you tap the gas petal the engine nearly leapt out from under the hood.
And there is no pretty picture...
91 While I was in Maine the car I baby-sat had worn out underneath and developed infamous wheel berring problems. They’d have to be changed every few months. Eventually I had to find a new axle. I called around the Boothbay area and found a car parts place who miraculously could accommodate what I needed. I borrowed a truck and carried the cryptic directions inland, where if you miss a turn you feel you’re still making headway for a good half hour before noticing you're lost. Turning the last, I pulled through the derailed fence and up near a listing dilapidated barn. I couldn’t believe to be at the correct address.
Out sauntered a toothless angel in greasy overalls.
He looked up as he rubbed his hands with a dirty rag, motioning to me that this was indeed the place. Inside the barn he had a red Chevy sports car jacked up. He had already removed the axle for me.
“How much for this side?” I asked, Praying that the thirty-five dollars I fingered in my pocket would be enough. It was all I had to my name.
“Gotta git fifteen dollars for the right one. That’s fair.”
I decided quickly to take advantage of this unbelievable, once in a lifetime offer. I shifted my feet and
tried to seem casual.
“Okay, well, I reckon I’ll take both sides, then.”
Less he take me for a fool, I asked him if he could press on wheel bearings. Amazingly, he had those, too. Packing the axles in the short bed I headed out thanking my lucky stars. I didn’t look back in case he had changed his mind.
I got one axle changed. As the crippled car and I were parked on the street we became the object of slowing autos and retorting snorts. As these things usually happen, cars would chance by at the blackest moments, just before a giant leap of creative engineering.
That would be the end of the story if I hadn’t taken the back seat out of the tanker car, piled in all of my belongings plus the dog and headed west toward the other coast.
92 The springs were shot so the weight lay entirely on the frame. Lucky, I didn’t crash when the rear end blew. I gracefully glided off along the convenient exit ramp, landing in front of a rest stop phone booth. Wasn’t that happy?
A Good Samaritan pulled up behind my disabled car. I had already jacked up the car, had the wheel off and was pulling out the axle. The end had reached a high temperature and in fact the metal looked like a mutilated screw tip that had broken off at the point. (I wish I had saved that) The guy's jaw dropped in astonishment. He managed to say he was a mechanic, but alas, too bad it’s the middle of the night and the car needs a major part. I confidently reached deep into the trunk, pulled out and held up a clean monkey suit while pointing to the spanking axle inside.
If he looked merely astonished before, he was now flabbergasted.
“Well, all we need is a good flashlight and we can operate.”
Just another major car surgery on the side of the road.
When we are younger solving problems has less to do with having courage, and more to do with not knowing fear.
After having kids, what feels like courage swings away, giving to a complex backbone.