Car crisis

My Saturday was pretty “Old School,” in that it was a full day of errands that was just shy of a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

After a $200+ trip to Target which included, among other things, an 8-pack of Bounty and hazelnut syrup for my iced coffee, I ran into a neighboring Best Buy. Like most people, I’m a sucker for the big box charm of disaffected, not-all-that-knowledgable, 18-year old salespeople and a big selection of washing machines. Seconds after walking in, I found myself walking out with “Batman: the Animated Series Volume Three” on DVD. A fool and his $37.99 are soon parted.

As I walked toward my car in the parking lot, I froze at the sight of a neon blue puddle growing underneath my rear driver’s side tire. Crap, I thought. My ten-year old car was falling apart. Maybe the coolant was leaking. Or maybe it was something even more dramatic. I drove back home to drop off my Target haul (didn’t want the frozen Home Run Inn pizza to go bad), and make plans from there.

I obsessed all the way home. What if this was the end of the car? Could I even afford to take on a monthly car payment again? More immediately, how could I get it to my mechanic and still get myself to work on Monday? If it was a repair job, how much would it set me back? And, Jesus Christ, why did I have to buy that Batman DVD set? What if I needed that $37.99 to help pay down the price of a new engine or transmission?

I pulled in front of my house and started to unload my Target bags. After my second trip into the house, I went back to the car to bring in the last two items–the detergent and milk. As I reached in the trunk to pull out the detergent, I noticed a huge puddle underneath it. A huge blue puddle. The cap on the Tide container wasn’t fully closed. Tons of detergent had poured out over the bottom panel of the trunk. And over into the sides of the trunk. And through a hole. And onto the ground. My leaking fluid problem was soap-based. And I was an idiot.

When it comes to cars, I’m one helmet short of being completely retarded. I probably should’ve known that nothing essential to the life of the car could’ve been leaking from where the Tide was pouring out. I’m just not handy, and it’s something I’ve long since learned to accept. My scope of knowledge is mostly based in things that can’t help me in the real world. For instance, I can tell you what year “For Your Pleasure” by Roxy Music was released (1973), or which comic book Black Bolt first appeared in (Fantastic Four #45); I just can’t tell the difference between coolant and soap.

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