After I went up to the Mountain Winery to watch Joan Jett play the classic songs of her youth and the new songs from her next album, the coolant system in my 1999 Ford Taurus boiled over from the twists and turns of going up the mountain. The car ran slightly hotter than usual for a month. As I waited for the light to change at Bascom and Moorpark Avenues in San Jose, the engine dropped dead and refused to turn over.
Stranded in the middle of the evening commute for 15 minutes while waiting for the tow truck to arrive, someone at the Mini Gourmet restaurant on the corner saw my plight and sent out the servers to push my car into the parking lot. I thanked the woman and the servers who came over afterward
I told the tow truck driver that I thought the head gasket blew. As the car got loaded up the ramp of the tow truck, the chocolate milk shake—coolant and oil mixed in a frothy mix—dribbled out from the engine block on to the ramp. The driver sprinkled cat litter on and underneath the spill to contain the mess. He dropped me off at my apartment complex before taking my wounded car to John’s Bascom Automotive down the street.
The phone call from Mike the mechanic confirmed that the engine was unrepairable without spending a substantial amount of money that I don’t have. He recommended that I put the non-existent money towards another used car. Although they spent several hours to diagnose my car, he charged me only for a half-hour of time. I took the next day off from my non-writing job to tow my car home, made arrangements with AAA to have a non-car auto insurance policy, and for Pick-N-Pull to pick up my car. After all that, unwinding from the stress of being without car for the next few months.
The bad news didn’t stop there. My boss gave me my two-week notice that my contract wasn’t being renewed as part of a company-wide layoff. The timing wasn’t great. Looking for a job without a car was difficult but not impossible. (I didn’t get my driver license until my middle thirties.) With the government shutdown in full swing, the recruiters were ominously silent after I sent out my resume to the job search websites.
Yesterday, before the tow truck for Pick-N-Pull came for my car, I tried to turn over the engine and got a loud clunk! Something broke inside the engine block, maybe a cam shaft or something else.
The tow truck driver looked familiar. “Didn’t I pick up a car from this parking spot last year?”
Yes, he did. We went through the paperwork to transfer ownership and he gave me a check for $274 USD, which was slightly more than my previous old car. According to a co-worker, Pick-N-Pull will probably make $5,000 USD off the car. That would include $1,200 USD in new brakes and tires from earlier this summer.
The Mobile Office v2.0 is evermore.