By James Breckenridge. The record setting high temperatures provided solid evidence that with the power windows on the Cougar deciding to open or (worse) close only occasionally – a random, unpredictable occasionally – only the fact the air conditioning works so well will make the Cougar drivable this summer..
Even then driving will be a hot, sweaty affair. And the cost of the gas to run the air conditioner … well, I could swear that with the air conditioner running you can almost see the gas gauge falling.
But when the transmission began to feel … off, off as in: even if you treat me gently, one of these days I won’t transform engine power into turning wheels … it was time to consider asking people to keep their eyes out for new transportation for me.
Hoping to find that most rare automotive quarry – an economical vehicle in excellent condition and at a price I can afford. Casting to the winds, to the Universe, my wish to find an incredible automotive deal before the Cougar suddenly needs repair.
As if to encourage me, the pins on the driver’s door shifted allowing the door to sag which requires lifting the door up slightly to alight the latch mechanisms on the door and car body, allowing the door to latch closed. Now this isn’t a problem, when you are aware of it, when closing the door from the outside. The design of the outside door handle makes it easy to lift and close solidly the door.
Once you are aware and remember the need to pay careful attention to closing the door. Interestingly, before that awareness develops the unclosed door provides one a kind of likability index. As in how many people stop to warn you your door is not closed and that they could not get it close. Bonus points if there were two or more and one stayed by the car until you got back to it.
As I said, closing the door from the outside is easy. From the inside on the other hand……I now travel with a piece of yellow nylon rope on the passenger seat. When I get into the car I form a loop, hook it on the bottom corner of the driver’s door and if I lift and pull correctly the door closes and latches. If not done correctly: repeat until door latches.
That sense of urgency was provided as I was making my Tuesday trip to Mission for coffee and conversation.
As I was heading onto the Mission bridge a piece of tire flew past the driver’s window as the front end got a little wobbly.
1 + 1 = %$#@!!~!! The driver’s side front tire would appear to be having … issues.
Wisdom winning out over convenience I pull over and stop, before I got out onto the two lane bridge deck.
Setting the four way flashers to flashing I carefully exit the car and take a look at the tire; finding a big piece of rubber missing, snapped steel strands and an ominous big bulge. Looking at that bulge I am torn between the wisdom of stopping and the knowledge of having to change the tire right there.
Maybe Fate, the Universe, is not using the Cougar to toy with me or test me or to get me and I would have made it across the bridge and into parking at The Junction. Right, and the phone call yesterday telling me I had won a free cruise and there were just an item or two I needed to take care of to get my (not so free) ‘free’ cruise was not a scam.
I empty enough stuff out of the trunk to be able to retrieve the tire changing paraphernalia and proceed to change the tire. A job made easier by having performed it on more than one occasion and having stopped where there is ample room.
A job made dangerous by all the thinking challenged distracted drivers who apparently not only fail to see the big boat of a Mercury Cougar with its emergency flashers flashing, but fail to notice my non-petite self. Forcing me to pay careful attention so I can scramble to safety when needed.
I was in Shoppers Drug Mart this week filing a prescription and while I was waiting for the prescription to be prepared I wandered into the drool and dream area – electronics and computers. And there in the computer area was the item from Jay Leno’s monologue – a product to allow you to attach your tablet etc to the steering wheel to make using your device(s) easier while driving.
Returning to our tale, I have managed not to be hit, to remove the old tire and put on the spare. I lower the jack and discover that, as I should have anticipated, the spare is flat. Oh Joy!
It is my background as a Chartered Accountant, and not paranoia that Fate or the Universe is out to get me, which has me carry a big old fashioned heavy steel red bicycle pump in the trunk of my car. It is a decision whose wisdom has been proven on several occasions over the years.
150 pumps and a few breath catching breaks later the spare (rejoicing that it is a small spare and not a full size tire) is reasonably inflated and not leaking I make sure everything is loaded in the Cougar, do a final walk around to make sure that everything is really in the car and that there are no other apparent mishaps waiting to happen.
I climb into the Cougar, loop the yellow nylon rope around the bottom corner of the driver’s door and with the door, with just two attempts, closed proceed over the bridge for coffee – and the opportunity to wash the grime off my hands.
Now prepared to spread my search for a ridiculously excellent … an incredibly, ridiculously, mind blowing excellent … an incredibly, ridiculously, mind blowing, unbelievably excellent … an – you get the idea – deal of exceptional automotive value, an automotive gem at a zircon cost.
Casting my words, my petition, my orison as it were, into cyberspace – hoping they might … ahem …. ’net me a paragon, a pearl, a prize.
Casting my words onto the breezes and winds, hoping to open a path to an outstanding automotive prize.
Casting my words upon the ears of those whose paths cross mine that, in the manner a stone dropped into a pond sends outward ripples that rebound and intersect, the words may find their way to the ears of someone seeking to bestow the gift dependable transportation.
Rolling along in my automobile
Bushwhacked by my front wheel
That adversarial fate
Decided to delaminate
In the blink of an eye
Past my window did fly
A warning most dire
A chunk of the tire
Fortune turning away
Fate’s sly game play
Preserving the day
For walking the Way