Posts tagged with "car" - Faerye Net 2008-06-13T23:45:26+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Highway 101 has it in for me. 2008-06-13T23:45:26+00:00 2008-06-13T23:50:52+00:00 <p>I picked up a nail in my tire tonight. It was by no means obvious, but I think it happened on a short jaunt on 101 from Mt. View, where I was gaming with friends new and old, to the Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa where I toil. It was not until the sign of the mighty Pequod, its sails emblazoned with the coffee bean, was extinguished and the doors of Queequeg&#8217;s were locked behind its weary employees that I saw the flat tire.</p> <p>Previous <a href="">misadventures</a>, including several memorable hours stranded on the shoulder on a lofty freeway interchange (also tire-related), convinced me to pay the semi-yearly pittance for roadside assistance, and the truck appeared before my fellow Queequegger and I could budge the lugnuts. I took the long way home, via surface streets. But really, tires and 101 both have it in for me. And the two together? Oh lordy.</p> <p>Unlike some <a href="">fictional characters</a> who masquerade as real people among us, I think I will celebrate my tire mishap with a patch or a new tire, followed closely by a mango-strawberry smoothie at Queequeg&#8217;s. Not a new sports car. That&#8217;s just how I roll. Slowly, cautiously, and under 55 miles per hour on a compact spare.</p> Jonah Day 2007-07-10T16:49:54+00:00 2008-06-08T11:50:58+00:00 <p><em>My understanding of the term &#8216;Jonah day&#8217; appears at the beginning of <a href=;type=0&#38;sectionid=0" target="links">this blogget.</a></em></p><p>After a short night of sleep, broken by recurrent nightmares of waking late and the persistent impression that my left eye had swollen shut, I woke to find that I had, in fact, managed to disable my alarm and I had, in fact, woken late. I stared at my phone for a few precious minutes, trying to make the numbers mean something else. Then, left eye not swollen shut, but definitely swollen (I&#8217;ve managed to get a mosquito bite on my eye socket), I ran to the shower, and wondered if, since I wasn&#8217;t sure of the existence of shampoo, water, feet or light, I would be safe to drive soon.</p> <p>Panicked hurry and a cup of yogurt fix all ills, and soon I was driving to work, encountering horrendous traffic, <span class="caps">NPR</span> reports cheerfully saying that every highway was backed up and no one knew why, and phone calls from my superiors asking me to pick up extra caramel at a neighbor store.</p> <p>By the time the work day was over, I was excited, truly excited, by the prospect of heading home and napping for hours. <em>bump bump bump</em>, whispered <a href="" target="links">the Poky Puppy</a>. <em><span class="caps">BUMPBUMPBUMPBUMP</span></em>, it reiterated as I neared the freeway onramp. It occured to me that in the vast miasmatic parking lot of the morning commute, I had taken the rightmost lane, not my usual second from the right. I know the potholes of the second lane quite well, but the first lane&#8230;it had gotten me at least once. Could anything have been jarred at those crawling speeds? Would I have noticed this rhythmic vibration at all on the abysmal pavement and genuinely ridged concrete?</p> <p>I chickened out of the freeway and drove to Ryan&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">palatial workplace</a>, where he frowned, nodded, and insisted on using his <a href="" target="links">new gadget</a> rather than the powers of the indoor intertron to find me the nearest mechanic. </p> <p>Paranoia thus seconded, I hastened to the small auto shop, where a very friendly man said the magical words, &#8220;tire separation&#8221;, thus bringing to the top of my mind buried memories and allowing me to realize why the sound and sensation gave me the feeling of a looming leeshore. My tire: <br /><center><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" width="240" height="192" alt="separating tire" border="0" /></center></a> </p> <p>Right glad am I that I did not compete with these Californian speed demons in their pothole derby with that lurking! The mechanic put my spare on and inflated it, and confessed when pressed that he did have a friend at a nearby tire shop. He refused payment, though I shall have the last laugh when I bring him a frosty beverage one of these days.</p> <p>After the shortest tire store visit ever (and, of course, a not entirely tiny bill), I drove off homewards. I thought it was homewards. I was so proud, because I was navigating&#8230;here in the Silicon Valley!...entirely by <em>feel</em>. The arterial I sought hung ahead on its overpass like a particularly ugly necklace, and I was so pleased with myself. From my first mention of the car problem to Ryan to the moment I drove on four sound tires was less than two hours, and despite the sick yellow tension in the gathering thunderheads, life was falling back into order. I would get home, try to stop the mosquito bite from claiming my eye, and catch some shut-eye. I stared at the red light, an amazingly long red light, then looked around me in incredulous anger as a dump truck rolled softly into my car.</p> <p>What a day. And the storm hasn&#8217;t even started.</p> The Poky Puppy 2004-11-11T16:32:17+00:00 2008-10-01T15:35:52+00:00 <p><img src="" alt="The Poky Little Puppy from Golden Books" title="The Original Article" class="imageRight" /></p> <p>I love my car. Not in the way that <a href="" target="links">some</a> people love their cars, but I love it, all the same. My car is not a sleek, wondrous machine, promising endless adventure and growling speed songs somewhere out of the range of human hearing. It does not contain feats of engineering so mind-bogglingly cute or useful that passengers are rendered silent by their sheer beauty. It does not do anything particularly fast.</p> <p>My car is a very dirty white Toyota Corolla, with a very odd and fairly permanent tracing of some black thread, like Goth silly string, along one side and a schmear of peach paint from a wall on the back bumper from the time my depth perception failed me behind <a href="" target="links">Happy Panda</a> one day. It has one little <a href="" target="links">Oregon Zoo</a> decal trying to differentiate it from its myriad Toyota brethren, and three or more hats sitting around the inside or perching on headrests within. It has a special transmission I like to call &#8216;darkmatic,&#8217; because it is one of the various things in the car that doesn&#8217;t light up at night any more. It is a dumpy, frumpy little car, and utterly forgettable.</p> <p> Until very recently, its sheer normalcy (I have it on good authority that my car is the most common make, model, and color in the country) discouraged me from naming it. It took me from place to place, accepted my stuff without comment, hid my Powell&#8217;s &#8216;Great Authors&#8217; Nalgene for almost a year under its seat, and ungrudgingly carried the same load of castoffs for Goodwill for another year or so. It is a useful, dependable thing, my constant companion, and I felt almost ashamed for not having named it. And so it is with great joy and great affection for my blessedly boring little vehicle that I announce that I have at last thought of a name which both acknowledges its unexciting nature and communicates its beloved state. My car&#8217;s name is &#8220;The Poky Puppy.&#8221;</p><p>I can&#8217;t decide whether to splurge and baptize the little dear with a car wash.</p> Washington vs. Oregon 2004-07-27T16:31:31+00:00 2010-08-03T11:39:19+00:00 <p>So I went up, as mentioned, to visit my sister in Seattle for Scrapstravaganza 2004. I left my cooking hometown with a tank of gas near-full, and labored through the sweltering heat to reach Seattle with a quarter of a tank remaining. I lent my car to my sister a couple of times, which no doubt left her with a strange feeling of disorientation, as my car is identical to hers save for its exterior color and current state of tidiness (I can&#8217;t take full credit for the tidiness. Or the color, really.)</p> <p>So it was that when, laden with scrapped pages, extraneous kitchen tools, many candle holders and a white feather boa, I sought to coax the thread of my journey from the great knot of Seattle&#8217;s byways, I found the open road only to find also a sadly diminished gas tank. Having already passed out of Seattle&#8217;s tentacular mass and not yet entered the aroma of Tacoma, I worried for some time before finding an exit with two gas stations on the sign&#8212;an exit for &#8216;Kent&#8217;, Washington. Seeing no reason to clog further a right lane already full of vehicles, I took the left exit lane &#8212; only to discover the clogged lane, stretching from I-5 right up to the intersection, offered my only chance of turning towards the gas stations.</p><p>Faced with the option of either zigging across two lanes to try to cram into a bumper-to-bumper turn lane or sedately turning left and finding a place to turn around, I turned left. Immediately, a concrete bumper arose between me and the left. No left turns. No right turns, either. The road stretched out before me, bending coyly behind a hill, only to reveal more and more divided highway, without exit or turn.</p> <p>I turned off my P.G. Wodehouse audiotape, and concentrated on the road. I turned off the A/C to save gas, and, incidentally, to increase the dramatic tension. The divided highway swooped triumphantly up to an intersection and there, sweetly glaring in the summer sun, was a sign: &#8216;&larr; Arco, 1/2 mile.&#8217; I sang out some ridiculous Wodehousian exclamation, and turned left. An idyllic green park and a small bridge later, I pulled into an Arco, cleverly remembering on which side the Japanese had placed the gas tank.</p> <p>La dee da. I&#8217;ll be able to listen to my tape some more while I&#8217;m filling up! La dee da&#8230;where are the people? <span class="caps">AND</span> <span class="caps">WHY</span> IS <span class="caps">THAT</span> <span class="caps">GUY</span> <span class="caps">FILLING</span> UP <span class="caps">HIS</span> <span class="caps">OWN</span>&#8212;oh. Right. In Washington, you must pump your own gas.</p> <p>Trying to recall the miserable day when I drove my muscle-cramped, norovirus-ridden body from Seattle last, and stopped somewhere to gas up my car while maintaining the body-optimum 90-degree waist bend, I failed to gain insight into the pump that confronted me. The reason was simple&#8212;that day, my only other experience with pumping my own gas, I had been at a large, modern gas station. This pump seemed to be a clean and shining antique. Gone were the <span class="caps">LCD</span> screen and buttons I remembered. Yet more ominously, gone was the friendly instruction sticker, though its absence as yet struck no chord in my brain.</p> <p>I pay at the island and return to my pump. I pull the nozzle from its holder. I pull it towards my car. <strong>whhhhhhrrrrr</strong> says the little zip cord stretching to allow the nozzle to reach. I frown. If I remember correctly, you are supposed to be able to fix the nozzle into the tank opening and have it sit there securely. This rubber-band tension avails me not. So, I start up my car and back it up, closer to the nozzle. I get out and try it again. Now the nozzle fits without any extending clothesline, but there is a collapsing-accordion deal on the nozzle which ensures that I will be pushing very hard the entire time I fuel up to make sure the nozzle doesn&#8217;t fly out of the opening and fuel <em>down</em> the side of my car. I press it in, grit my teeth, and pull the trigger.</p> <p>Nothing. I try again. Nothing. I pull harder. Nothing. I eye the pump curiously as I squeeze. The pump has a nice, static&#8230;$15.00???</p> <p>Fuming at my own incompetence, I locked my car and walked timidly into the minimart. &#8216;Umm, could I get some help at pump #10,&quot; quoth I, &quot;I&#8217;m from Oregon, and I&#8217;ve only done this once before&#8230;&quot; To my relief, the forbidding man behind the counter summoned a female henchperson to help me, and this matter-of-fact woman walked right up, plunked the nozzle in the gas-port, <em>twiddled the little switch in the nozzle-rest</em>, and set the gas pumping. (In my defense, please recall there were no instructions! Anywhere! Just a tiny little metal switch, easy to forget!) Of course, the moment <em>I</em> touched the damnable thing, it stopped the flow of gas, so, whilst I stood around feeling like a backwards child, she good-naturedly filled the tank for me.</p> <p>I drove away feeling a little humiliated, a little relieved, and a little confused. Are handicapped people supposed to somehow pump their own gas? Little old people with arthritis? Don&#8217;t idiots smoke while doing this and send the whole place up in a fireball? The whole thing confuses me mightily. Though not as much as the Oregon state senators who want to make <em>our</em> state a self-pumping state in the middle of an unemployment crisis&#8230;</p>