Well, I suppose I can’t write a Traffic Report and not mention car trouble.
Remember back when I complained about my road, that it was rougher than ever and I wasn’t sure I was going to survive the winter? Well, it turns out it wasn’t the road. That’s the good news.
The bad news is, it was my car. Or rather, my car’s suspension system. Or rather, my car’s lack thereof. Anyway, I’ve told y’all I drive a gigantic SUV; what I haven’t mentioned is it has an air suspension system. Frankly, my car’s suspension system never seemed worth mentioning. Heck, it was hardly worth thinking about.
But then, a couple months ago, I started noticing that my car wasn’t handling the bumps and potholes on the Friars Hill Road like she used to. So, I did what everyone who lives out my way does: I complained about the road.
One weekend, my older daughter had a friend over for a sleepover, and as we headed up the mountain towards home, I warned them both that the road was in really bad shape and to hold on tight. The friend’s cell phone had an app that measures how many steps she took in a day – the ride was so bouncy that it calculated she had taken 7,000 steps.
I began to wonder.
A few days later, Tom took me for a ride in his pickup truck. Tom’s truck has 285,000 miles on it, and its last remaining shock is lying in the back seat. When we rode down the hill, I said to him, your truck’s suspension is better than mine. He looked at me like I was nuts.
I started complaining. “There’s something the matter with my car,” I told him.
“We should get it checked out,” he replied.
Time went on.
Luckily, the next week I got a flat tire. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t particularly like flat tires, but getting a flat and taking it into the shop kind of forced the issue. “So,” I said to my mechanic. “While you’re changing the tire, could you take a look at my car? Maybe drive it around the block?”
I like to be right. In fact, I relish it. Tom and the girls know that the nicest phrase they can say to me is, “You’re right.” I get all glowy, blush a little bit and demure, “I know.” (I always cast my eyes down when I do this because I am delicate feminine flower.)
This time, I’d rather have been wrong, because, yes, something was wrong with my car. Something utterly esoteric and expensive and unable to be fixed locally. Remember that air suspension I was talking about earlier? You do? Well, basically, it went flat.
I have talked to various and sundry mechanics and gone on millions of user forums looking for a work-around for repairing my suspension system. Tom and I have weighed the benefits of repairing the car, on which we still owe money, versus buying a new one. At this point, we’re going for the repair. We just have to get it to Roanoke first.
So, now, remember Tom’s pickup truck? The one with the 285,000 miles? That’s become our primary vehicle. And I’ve told y’all about that truck before: it’s the one that’s full of building plans, Tudor’s Biscuit World napkins, tools and sawdust. When I climb in, Tom has to clear me a spot.
The truck’s got a back seat, so that’s where the girls ride, squeezed in next to the tools. It smells a little bit in there. Well, a lot. And it’s dirty. But, here’s the thing: it works, and God bless it, it gets us to town every day so we can work all day and try and save up some money to fix my car.
We just have to make a loan payment on it first.