If you have been following my Twitter posts - and why on earth would you want to do that? - you may know that last Friday, on my rushed way to the Supermarket to get my lunch between two meetings, my good ol' Geo Prizm 1997 decided to die on me. Well, die is a little bit of an over statement, as you will see, but as I was standing at a light I felt a sudden "THUNK" (yes, it really was a "THUNK") and the check engine light came on.
Of course, I immediately thought the gal was finally dead, and pulled over to the side. I called one of my colleagues who knows about these things and he recommended I drive the car a few hundred yards to his mechanic. While I waited for him to come pick me up and show me the way, I called my wife and immediately threatened that if this was a big bill fix-up I was going to donate the thing to NPR (I have been meaning to pledge forever and one of these days I am sure to get a call from Ira Glass). Being the voice of reason that she is, she basically told me to shut up and see what the mechanic had to say.
Ten minutes later I was in the shop, and 20 minutes after that I had the diagnosis. Basically, I needed a big tune-up. One of the cylinders was misfiring. That and a few other fixes for a grand total of $400 (it's California) and by the end of the day the junker was running as good as old again. I have no complaints. I drive exactly 12 miles a day. Seems like a waste to buy a new car for that. That doesn't mean I am not going to complain about my jalopy every once in a while. As the owner of a crappy old car, I feel that this is my god given right!
Moolanomy recently wrote a post about preparing for and dealing with a car breakdown. For me, it's all about having a cell phone and the number for AAA. And if you car really sucks, the number for AA.
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