4:01 p.m. - 2007-07-26
I know, that doesn’t really make any sense – but it really must be true.
Two months ago, I had promised to pick a friend up at the airport. And seeing how this friend (we’ll call her June – as Rodgers and Hammerstein said, ‘she’s bustin’ out all over’) has done many, many favors for me in the past, I was determined not to fall asleep in front of a TV while watching the latest episode of Charmed and forget to pick her up.
So promptly at 10.30 PM I scrape my body off of my easy chair, pause the lovely Phoebe in mid-vanquish, and head out to my PT Cruiser, Barnum.
Casually driving down rt. 202, I am forced to come to a squealing halt due to a
(self-destructive moron yapping on a cell phone and too engrossed with talking to Aunt Rosie and Uncle Fritz about how Karen Lee got screwed over on American Idol and don’t you think that lil’ Jimmy Dean is just SO cute and he should like TOTALLY win but probably won’t because Simon is just SO MEAN and how can he DO that to cute lil’ Jimmy to have ANY FREAKING CLUE that she’s even behind the wheel of a car, let alone the pilot of said vehicle)
mini-van that had slammed on it’s brakes in front of me.
*DING* Whoopsie. The oil light just came on. Guess I’d better stop and dump some oil in there.
I careen past said mini-van, tossing her a friendly salute showing my respect for her ability to multi-task and pull into a Turkey Hill. That’s a convenience store, for those of you playing at home. I pull up to the store, hop out of the car, pop the hood (much quicker to type than to do – inevitably I end up spending entire minutes searching under the hood for that little lever thingy that lets you actually pull it up), remove the oil cap (owie! That thing was HOT!) and head into the store to pick up some oil.
Sadly, my cheery quip to the lad behind the counter was lost; maybe he couldn’t hear me from behind that massive jutting brow. $4.95 and a jaw drooping stare later, I went back out to my car to put in the oil.
I opened the oil bottle and starting pouring it into Barnum. “Glup, glup, glup, glup...” As the oil glupped it’s way into my car I stared around the parking lot playing my new favorite game ‘Is That Woman A Hooker?’ “glup, glup, glup, glup...” I’m not even sure that person is a real WOMAN, let alone a hooker...”glup, glup, glup, glup, fwoosh....”
I feel that any day in which you learn something cannot truly be considered a waste.
And that day I learned that it’s best to let your car sit awhile before you accidentally pour oil onto the hot engine block.
Well will you look at that? My car’s on fire.
My car. Is on fire.
My car’s on –
HOLY FLIPPIN’ JESUS, MY BLEEDING CAR IS ON FIRE!!!!!!
Now I’m sure the next sequence of thoughts took less than three seconds in all. But I distinctly remember thinking the following things:
Well, maybe it’s not actually on fire. Nope, the flames are two feet high. Maybe it’ll go out on it’s own? No – I’m fairly sure that there’s gasoline in there somewhere. Gasoline is extremely flammable. That means my car is about to explode. Perhaps I should run away. Maybe call 911 on my cell phone. Oops. Left the cell at home tonight. Rotten timing on that, eh? I could call from the pay phone – no, they wouldn’t get here in time. Is there a fire extinguisher here somewhere? Maybe over there? Nope. How about over by the – hey, is that woman a hook – no, no time for that now. I know. Water puts out fire. But where can I get wa – oh, right. Convenience store.
Sprinting into Turkey Hill after basking in the warmth of my PT Cruiser for what seemed like minutes, I grabbed the largest bottle of water I could find. I leapt deftly past Mongo the Cashier.
Northrup: “I’ll pay for this in a minute – MY CAR’S ON FIRE!”
I thoroughly doused the entire engine block with Pellegrino and was immersed in a deep black smoke. I was greeted with great applause from all four corners of the parking lot. But let them mock me – I had put out the fire! I was a man! I had killed fire!
I gladly paid Mongo for my make-shift fire extinguisher and rumbled back onto the road. I’d still make it to pick up June at the airport in plenty of –
Hey...what’s that smell?
That smell was PT Cruiser well-done. And it smelled like it was still cooking. That’s when I remembered just how much electrical equipment can be found under the hood of a car. Wires and what not, all covered in plastic. Plastic melts under extreme heat.
I pulled over again, this time in front of a dive restaurant and popped the hood. Everything was still smoking. Well, I’d best put some more water on there, hadn’t I?
Three more large water bottles later, things had started to calm down somewhat. And then I noticed the oil cap.
Or rather, I didn’t notice the oil cap.
Apparently in all of the excitement and my haste to get back on the road, I had neglected to replace the oil cap – and it was back at Turkey Hill, six miles back.
And I had been pouring water onto the engine for the last ten minutes. Which must have found it’s way into the oil reservoir.
To Be Continued tomorrow.......