idiot lights

?i remember screaming into my car’s dashboard ‘what did i ever do to you?’ when the bright orange ‘service engine soon’ words lit, which should have simply been a blinking dollar sign instead, i felt, or an illuminated icon of my upcoming paycheck with a middle finger next to it. ? – bobby burgess

this is not out of context — this actually happened to me yesterday. not that it was a surprise – my poor baby’s been running like poop since january. i knew she needed plug wires, above all else, those were just crispy (the plugs themselves, while not perfect, can wait another few days). fifty dollars for six wires. and oh, so worth it.

the car i had before this wasn’t a car. it was a makeshift vehicle configured to look like a pickup truck, but it was much too small and weak to function in any kind of hauling capacity. it was a very needy little dodge mitsubishi with nearly two hundred thousand miles on it. it had a bad front end, no upholstery to speak of, no tailgate, no lenses on many of its auxiliary lights, a bad clutch, and a fierce oil leak. the ?service engine? light was just a permanent ornament on the instrument panel. it was a rattly deathtrap, but kinda cute with its expensive rims and wide tires that, in conjunction with its suspension issues, made it the truck most likely to go surfing on freeway rain. and it was going to die, if it didn’t kill me first.

chris didn’t agree, but i was relentless and finally he handed me the pink slip. he wouldn’t sign it, he said if i wanted it i’d have to forge his signature. oh, like that was a problem?

so i traded it in on the buick, and life was sweet. but used cars need work, and the buick came from ugly ducking with crippling, twice-a-month payments, so my pretty car has suffered some neglect. she bravely struggled on five of six cylinders for two months before plaintively switching on her ?service engine? light, and i knew that she must have been a desperate car. thankfully, her sad, silent, amber cry for help moved chris to break down, buy parts, and get a little greasy. up till this point, he’s been fairly immune to her charms, but how could he resist this one request, after all she’s gone through. might i add he hates working on cars? and now my girl is almost better.

so i took her out for donuts this evening, for the first time in a long time feeling the effortless bliss that is a healthy, 3.8 liter v6. i love my car.

now we just have to deal with the so-far intermittent (brake!) light.

12 thoughts on “idiot lights

  1. they have a new kind of Krispy Kreme, it’s a cheescake creme filled with a crumb topping.

    they were out of it, but i’ll be back.

    i wouldn’t mind spending the money if i indeed had the money, right now things are kinda really bad, and it was no time whatsoever to have this happen. but it did, and today the car is getting another $65 or so worth of parts, and it will at that point be fully tuned. and only needing brakes and tranny service.

    ack. i need more donuts. donuts are so soothing.

  2. my Jeep is about 3000 miles overdue for an oil change, etc. bad me. 20 lashes (oh goody!).

    and that’s not fair! they didn’t have Krispy Kreme’s when i lived in California!

  3. well, mine now just needs spark plugs, an oxygen sensor, a transmission service, and a brake job.

    (breathe) one thing at a time.

  4. no, no, those are different parts: the oxygen sensor lives near the tailpipe, so has probably gotten damaged from huffing unburnt gas; the donut sensor is part of the autopilot system that makes the car go places i hadn’t necessarily intended to go.

  5. mine did the break-light thingie. all it needed was more fluid, mercifully, which the mechanic shop did for free (even more mercifully)

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