Jetta Bastard

Getting to work is a numbers game. So, I see 5:17 on the microwave clock and I see 5:15 on the alarm clock by the door. I'm going to be late or on time. Not early. Not this morning. I snoozed this morning. It was freezing last night. Bellow 32 degrees. Easily. I can tell because I was out there at 5 a'whatever scraping my windows with a piece-of-shit ice scraper. My Jetta was warming up. It didn't need to, like me it's ready to move when awakened. I would have been down the street, but there was no visability. I could see when I was done, but not much better. I would have to scrape both sides of the windows. But I wouldn't. Defrost on 4, even with the noise, I'm fine, warm enough. I'm trying to get the CD player to warm up, it says, "ERROR" and spits out the disc. Unlike the Jetta and myself, it has trouble starting on a cold morning. I let it relax a sec and try again. It works. I might be late but music will get me there.

In the Jetta there are lights. The CD player, when it's working, lights up like a cell phone. The headlights work, and the brake lights work -- last time I checked -- but, no longer do the dash lights work. There was a dimmer to the dash lights. It was cute. I could set my odometer's mood. Shed light on the gas situation. But now it's dark. Except the clock. The clock lights up. And it's reading 5:21 -- I am going to be late. Butbutbut bababy haahhhhooow mmuuuuchch?...ch...ch...Dead. Gas. I'm outta fucking gas. Shit. I'm up hill, so I'll coast down. From the top of the hill, I trying starting. It's running, then it's dead. Great. Bottom of the hill -- 21st street. And Stopped. Middle of the Intersection. A kind stranger, from some reason out -- at 5:25 -- early this morning, helped me push the car into a spot with the sign, "1 hour parking." "Thank you," I said and he was gone. I called work. "Mike, my car busted," I amazed myself with. "Tell Ben to pick me up." Ben did, but he called first. He asked if I had a can. "Nope." And he informed me that they don't just hand those things out. "See ya in fifteen," he also informed me. Wandering the streets on the phone, I went back to the car. It was cold, freezing, and for some reason I didn't have a coat on. I had a golf shirt and a ultra light pullover. The car was warmer and my CD player was working, I'd be fine.

At 5:48 Ben showed -- recognized me by my hazzards. I got in his truck and we were on Burnside in five minutes. The Chevron had gas cans and gas. I bought one, and filled it. Actually, I didn't fill it up because I live in Oregon. It was 5:56 when I finally paid the pumper, 5.95 for the gas can and 3.97 on Pump #3 for the 2.091 gallons at 1.899/gal. $9.92. Back at the Jetta on 21st and Kearny where I'm calling the Jetta my bastard child. I'm pouring gas in the tank and it' dribbling on my hand. I smell of gas. It fixed my busted Jetta and I apologized to my son. You're not a bastard, just lucky it was gas. It's 6:20 when I clocked into work. 50 minutes late. My 7th occurance. Sunday I start using my 80 hours of vacation time. Tomorrow I need to wake up at 4:10 and not snooze.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

First of all, below 32 degrees isn't necessarily cold. But I suppose you can say that if there was ice on your windshield. Up here, there are varrying degrees of cold, all of which require temperatures to dip into single positive digits and include wind to be anything close to relevant.

I've sat through three days of five degree temps with 70 mile an hour winds dropping the wind chill well below minus 20. It isn't the cold that is bothersom. It is the wind.

Last spring we had a cold snap where the temperature averaged minus 20. The high during the day never climbed above zero, even with the sun high in the sky at noon. You can't afford to have car trouble when it is that cold.

I like to run when there is no wind and the temp is low, single digits or zero. I put sheet metal screws into the bottoms of my shoes to grip on the icy ground. At that temperature, your breath freezes the moisture onto your whiskers into an icy beard, which presents a lovely juxtoposition to the sweat pouring off your head and back.

Last week, above the Artic circle, there was a village that lost all power. A storm on the Beaufort Sea knocked powerlines down and froze pipes. It blew drifting snow into the school's generator room and shut that down. There are no trees above the arctic circle, so no one has wood burning stoves. Many were burning candles to keep the room temperature above zero inside their house.

The National Guard finally made it in to deliver supplies and they got the generator fixed and power lines back up. But when everything started to thaw, the pipes burst and now flooding is a problem for many of the residents. How's that for cold?

My friend Rachael told me one time in Dillingham when it was minus 30, she took a bottle of bubbles outside to blow them. They froze before they hit the ground. Some shattered if they landed on a rough surface. But some remained intact. When it is that cold, you can throw a pot of boiling water in the air and watch it freeze.

When it is that cold, I have absolutely no desire to get out of bed at 4:10 a.m.