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4:46 a.m. - 2003-01-03

AUTO TIPS FROM UNCLE BOB

My car overheated yesterday.

I don't really have a "love/hate" relationship with my car. As long as it gets me where I want to go, I'm okay with it.

When it starts smoking in the drive-thru of KFC at noon and making noises that sound like a little girl with her leg caught in a meat grinder, I want to walk away from it backwards, flipping it double birds and screaming "YOU SUCK!" at it at top volume.

So Edweird and I made it back to the office okay from KFC. But it's like a race against time. The temperature level is saying "Dood...your radiator is boiling" but the car still makes it there.

I've mentioned here before but it bears repeating ... I know jackshit about cars, engines, transmissions, radiators, etc.

When something goes wrong, my initial reaction is to keep repeating the words "Oh shit" until it fixes itself.

This rarely happens. Sometimes I think to myself "Maybe if I scream the words 'Oh Shit' it'll work."

So people in traffic are watching me silently scream "OH SHIT!!" at my steering wheel over and over again.

That's the extent of my mechanical experience.

So anyway...we get back to the office and I make a mental note to come back out to the parking lot sometime during the afternoon to add water to the reservoir tank.

This much I've learned when the car does this. If it smells like burning plastic from under the hood, you need to wait until the engine cools down and then add water to the little reservoir thing.

This will usually get me a few miles before the whole thing overheats again and I'm reduced to screaming "OH SHIT!" in traffic once again.

So in the pouring rain yesterday at 4:00, I pour three pitchers full of water into my reservoir tank.

That seemed to do the trick.

Last night, I'm taking Edweird home because they just sold their car and are in the market for a new one (which they bought last night, but that has nothing to do with this story).

He's chatting away about God knows what. I'm not listening because I'm trying to listen to what's going on under the hood and keeping my eye trained on the temperature gage. In my head, I'm already doing the "Oh Shit" dance though...just in case.

We make it to Edweird's house safely. I drop him off and peel out, trying to make it home in time before my car spontaneously combusts like something out of a James Bond movie.

Naturally, because I'm dealing with rush hour traffic, I get to a red light that leaves me about 25 cars back from the light.

I sit there, eyes trained on the temp gage...whispering "Oh shit" as quietly as possible.

I see wisps of smoke coming from under the hood of the car. I now say the words "oh shit" over and over, like I'm punishing a bad dog.

Smoke begins pouring out. EPA agents are getting ready to converge on me and fine me for polluting the air. I'm now bellowing "OHHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIT!!!" and slapping my leg repeatedly, as if that's going to make the light change.

The light finally changes after mocking me for two minutes.

I floor it. I'm weaving in and out of lanes, trying to make sure that I make it through the light before it turns red again. I figure if any cop were to pull me over at this point for wreckless driving, I could just point at my hood and scream "OHHHHH SHIIIIIIIT!!!" and the cop would go "Whoa!" and back up and make a sweeping motion with his arm that would translate into "Dude! Get this car home ASAP and godspeed to ya!!"

Luckily, there's no cops to slow me down.

I drive the next five miles or so in peace. The car's not acting up at all. If it's still smoking, the smoke can't be seen because I'm going about 70 mph and as any good mechanic will tell you, the best way to not see smoke coming out of your engine is to drive really really fast.

I get all the way to my subdivision and think "I'm home free." It's the first time I stop saying the words "Oh shit".

As soon as I stop saying "Oh shit", my dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree. All these pretty white and red lights.

Meanwhile, my engine says "U.B....fuck this shit. I need a break."

...And the car stops.

I'm only about a mile from home. I figure this is okay. I can start walking home backwards, flipping my car double birds as it smokes like a California forest fire.

I get out and push the car to the side of the street. Our streets in the subdivision are kind of small, so the car is sort of in some people's yard.

I go to their door, ring the doorbell and explain to a guy in an undershirt and boxers that I have to leave my car in his yard until I can get AAA to tow it.

He comes outside in his undershirt and boxers to see just where the hell this car is in his yard. He sees that I've done the best job possible by myself, grunts, and goes back inside.

I walk back to the car and think to myself "At least see if it will crank."

I try it.

It does.

I drive it home.

It now sits in my garage.

I defeated it.

I beat it.

It tried to leave me hanging on the side of a deserted road.

But I won.

Eat me, car.

I'm smarter than you.


While I sat here, typing this uberboring story out, I've been sipping expired eggnog.

When does eggnog decide that it's expired?

The expiration date was yesterday. So as of midnight...roughly 5.5 hours ago ... it was still legally good.

I'm just wondering what if at some time in the last 5.5 hours, the eggnog sat in the refrigerator, sighed and said "Fuck it. I've been good long enough" and expired.

Curled up and died.

Became no good to nobody.

I'm not sure if it happened or not.

I've now finished the whole glass.

And if my stomach had a vote, I'm pretty sure it'd check the box marked "Do NOT drink any more of this shit."

I feel like I could vomit a Buick.


Take care...I've got to shower and bum a ride off the wife, who's going to drop me off in front of Edweird's subdivision where I will walk the mile to his house on this crisp, freezing assed morning.

Yeah.

I'm REAL excited to get this day started alright.

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