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Face Down In The Muck

My Pockmarked Starter

With a steel pipe in hand I bend down, and crawl under the truck. Because we are procrastinators, there happens to be a pipe behind the passenger seat.

And I’m doubly in luck, it’s actually clean’ish under there with no apparent signs of urine and only 2 oil spots. With my phone’s flashlight I look for the starter. Leo described it to me for the eventuality that this would happen. A bronze and silver tube with wires, he said. On the passenger side, just grab something solid and tap it, he added. With the pipe, I tap-tap-tap and roll out from under the truck. Look to my left, then to my right and open the door to try and start it again. Click-click-click.

Nothing. I remove the key because the last thing I want is to be under the truck while somebody randomly walks up, opens the door, sees the key in the ignition and with more luck than I am obviously blessed with turns the key and the engine starts. Sigh. Stupid irrational fears are so lame.

Why would anybody do that? But imagine if they did…

With me lying under the truck, steel pipe in hand and phone in the other, the oil splatter under my shoulder and the unsightly yet still present urine and zoom-zoom the truck leaves me exposed. *shudder* So you never know. I remove the key every single time I crawl and roll under the truck.

Last week I parked on a scary street. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not the kind of person who assumes all homeless people are crazy murderers, thieves and rapists. But, when a quote-unquote-gentleman is stroking (aka jerking off) his dog for the laughter and amusement of his friends; ya kinda gotta wonder about his specific sanity. Since that awesome eye opening episode, I’ve re-thought and re-mapped my entire parking strategy when I go to roller derby.

Back to the scene from under my truck. This is after a practice. It’s dark outside, but I’m across the street from a police station. Around me are no impromptu housing establishments on the sidewalk. I’m but 5-10 feet from a street corner. It’s well light up. Yet, I’d rather not take my chances, this is downtown San Diego in a iffy district. At best. I’ve got the above mentioned oil spots, they may or may not be dripping from my own truck, they do appear quite fresh, and I smell. As in an adjective about myself, not an action I am doing, because I am totally avoiding trying to smell my surroundings. Initially I smelled sweaty from the post-practice glow of a hard workout. Now? Whoa boy, I am a walking pot-pourri of what life has best to offer: sweat, urine and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that may tinkle with fear or stress.

I’m a keeper!

I repeat the joyful steps of looking to both sides, bending down, crawling under the truck, tap-tap-tap, roll out, stand up, look again everywhere around me, open the door, put the key in the non-starting-starter and click-click-click. I’m stubborn. I tried everything numerous times before calling Leo.

Every time I repeat the tapping process I progressively move to hammering and whacking. Our starter now looks like the butt of a person who eats way too much bacon and Doritos.

Please tell me I’m not describing my own butt because I do love bacon and Doritos!

Of course I broke down and called him after numerous attempts. But when I called to say it won’t start he starts by telling me where to find a pipe. Sigh. I try to calmly explain to him every single steps I’ve taken. Try again he says. I did. Try knocking harder he says. I did. Should I call a tow truck, I ask him. No. Shit. I’ll find a ride and come over he finally adds.

One hour later, we were driving home laughing about Walter in The Big Lebowski “My friends died face down in the muck for you!”

p.s. I am proud of myself. The old me would have cried, screamed, thrown the pipe at the truck, then wondered why nothing worked. But I took matters in my own hands. I achieved nothing really. But still, I faced a fear and conquered it. Maybe one day I’ll know just what it is that scared me… AND! I really need to tag Liz here from Runnerstood she’s the inspiration behind this post. Not that she killed my starter or was the one who peed by the curb, but she recently posted about facing and conquering a fear.

8 thoughts on “Face Down In The Muck”

  1. SO how did Leo fix it? By doing what you did, only with more luck? And also, way to go about smart parking – across from a police station is actually pretty brilliant. If you go in (uh sans pipe) and ask for help, there’s usually somebody who can get you going. I have a hilarious evil sib story that I don’t have time to type right now.

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    1. He had to mechanically kick-start it with a drill… Dunno. He’s a real mechanic, I kinda just played round with wrenches for a few years. We now have a brand new starter and solenoid. I think. Something like that. He fixed it. Ihopahopa!

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  2. Ok I have never had to get under the car and tap anything but there was a time with one car that I had to pop the bonnet and tap something with a hammer to get the car to start but I can’t remember what it was I had to tap…………lol You did good as it is so bloody frustrating when we do what we have been instructed to do and it doesn’t work and we want to throw a tantrum like a child but don’t because we are not children we are adults………….and to old to throw a tantrum…..lol

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  3. woot…hey good on you…and its not fun and not easy when things are not working but you handled it well…even when our imagination kinda takes over and spins the worst…good on you….

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  4. I had a car with a dodgy starter motor once but hapily I could tap it from the top and not the underneath of the car.
    Mind you, these days I much prefer to call road service (hubby is no mechanic)

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  5. I submit that irrational fears & not taking chances are what have kept going so far. Good for you, for not destroying the windshield with the pipe.

    Mrs. C isn’t the do-it-yourself type. She’d call a tow truck in a heartbeat. I probably would too.

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  6. Hey Marie, thank you so much for tagging me in your post – such an honour!

    I’m glad you faced your fear! It feels good, riiiiiiiiiight?

    Much love xo

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