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Lightning strikes twice

It had become more and more difficult to shift my car’s gear into park. On Sunday, I struggled against several bumps and pops before it reluctantly slid into place. Finally, the reality bubbled up through layers of denial: your car is about to breakdown, take care of it sooner rather than later. 

So I left the car at home yesterday, walked to work, called the mechanic and made an appointment for the next day. This morning, as I was getting ready to drive over, I prayed that I’d be able to get out of park and drive the junkmobile car safely to the garage. Once deposited with the mechanic, there was an elaborate plan in place for alternate transportation. It involved strollers, taxis, busses, and the fervent hope of no rain. 

All went well at the garage. We made it there safely. The car let me put it into park one last time. I had a long talk with the garage receptionist about cable tightening, gear replacement, and in a lowered voice ‘possible transmission problems’.  I listened stoically, signed the paperwork for repair, and headed on my way.

As I was walking up the street, one of the mechanics ran after me and said, “humph, what, eh?” (an articulate man). 

I nodded understandingly and said, “Yes, it’s the gears, or the clutch. You see, it won’t go into park.”

He said again, “what? Huh? gears?” 

I offered to demonstrate the problem. We walked over to the car and I turned on the ignition, put the gear into drive, into reverse, back into neutral, and then preparing myself, shifted into park. 

There was no bumping, no cracking, no spine-tingling pops. It slid into park with the ease of a baseball player on a lucky day. 

How could this be? How could this be? Suddenly I felt the breeze and the thought of summer trips to the seashore. 

The mechanic said maybe I had not been pressing the button hard enough and thus not fully engaging the gear. I nodded, half-listening, knowing that I had been pressing that button like it was connected to an intravenous drip. But I listened happily, not needing to question it too much. I did not understand; I did not need to. 

The amazing thing is that this had already happened. I’d already had a get out of jail free day with my car. I wasn’t expecting a second one.

Sometimes lightning strikes twice, I guess. 

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Mary | June 15, 2006 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Yay! I love when that happens and I hope that it continues to behave well.

    I had my car in for an oil change over vacation. A friend of mine is a mechanic at the dealership I go to but I don’t insist that he work on my car for such minor things as they are paid according to the work they do. Well, a few days after getting my car back, it was smoking and there was a terrible burning smell from under the hood. So, back to the dealer I went and said friend pulled the car right in for me and determined that the other mechanic failed to tighten the oil filter. My friend, his manager and myself were not at all happy about this. I explained to the manager that I had had the work done over vacation so I wouldn’t have to miss work and here I was missing work anyway. He apologized profusely and then handed me his business card with the words “free reconditioning” on the back! They’re going to clean my car inside and out so it will look like new!

    That made me happy. And my friend promised he’d do all the work on my car from now on!