Monday, December 9, 2013

Between the time my car broke down and the time I got it fixed, I got 4 biweekly paychecks, and they won't cover the cost of the repair.

At work I am supposed to be able to tell with  glance whether all the engine fluids in a truck are leaking. Since I started in August, the gritty innards of trucks and cars are starting to resolve into parts I can name, but after I rolled into work with a shuddering, jolting car that couldn't leave under its own power I asked for a refresher. Well, first I called a tow truck and started biking 10 miles to work in winter, and then after I stopped feeling so sorry for myself (or rather, after I became accustomed to feeling extremely sorry for myself), I asked for a refresher. Everyone was nice about it and it turns out that I couldn't've checked the transmission fluid anyway because on a standard transmission there is no dipstick and you have to get underneath the car. As far as I can tell, only $400 of the $2500 bill could have been avoided by taking the car in as soon as I noticed anything wrong, since I imagine the clutch wouldn't have failed if I didn't let the transmission run dry.

I told myself a LOT of mantras when I was waking up in my unheated yurt at 4:00am in December to leave by 4:45 for a 6:30 shift, but they got a lot less positive after the first three weeks. These last two weeks have been more on the grueling side, and the mantra has been "28 degrees is not lethal, so I am fine." Yesterday in particular, I got a flat tire in the morning (my fourth since I started commuting by bike) and had to walk 3/4 of a mile to a gas station, where I found that the air compressor was out of service. Luckily the second gas station on my route was just another quarter mile or so.

Before I was forced by circumstances to get into shape, I would complain about the bike and everyone would say, "That's because you have a horrible bike. If you had a decent bike you wouldn't believe how much better it is." Because I hate the bike, it was easy for me to agree that it is horrible, but actually the quality of the bike is not the reason it is below freezing every morning, or the reason I can't see far enough with the bike light to ride fast after dark, or the reason I have to stuff groceries into my pockets because they are too bulky for my backpack. It's also only kind of the reason riding in the rain leaves me a grubby mess, since some nice bikes have fenders but some don't and would just kick up more water by being faster.

The biking has really been good for my mood, and I got to know my new town a lot more by using side streets instead of the freeway.

3 comments:

Cayla Maggio said...

Aww, that’s so sad to hear. Has your car already been fixed? Riding a bike to work can be a practical move, but the dirt and pollution are not good company. Just imagine how you’d look like when you reach the office. Keep us updated!

Cayla Maggio

David Woodall said...

That's one sorry situation to get into. Good thing there were nice people who helped you. Every truck is built differently, so it was a good idea to call for help once you realized you can no longer fix yours on your own. On the bright side, you were able to sweat it out in the middle of the winter on your bike.
Woody Woodall @ CapitolHillExxon.com

Nannette Henriquez said...

If you encounter numerous troubles with your car often, the cost of repair will indeed be expensive. And it’s not very comfortable to use the bike when it’s winter, because the low temperature will kill you if you ride around outside. Anyway, there’s no one to blame about what happened to your car. I wish you took it as a lesson to give your car regular inspections when you have doubts as to what's wrong with it.

Nannette Henriquez