Friday, May 30, 2008

Going Out With A Banjo?

Last night our van passed away.

Hold back on your sympathy, I've been wishing it would die for a long time now. "WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE?!"

I always thought that the death stroke was going to be the transmission shitting out. I was wrong. The straw that broke the camels back was the front, driver-side ball joint.

In a way it was a relief. At least the waiting was over. Every day I thought, "Is this the day the van is going to die?" or "Am I going to make it to the store and back today?" Every time Jules phoned I was half expecting to hear that she was stranded with a van full of kids.

The circumstances of the ball joint breakage could have been worse. It could have been ME who was driving when it happened. Fortunately, for me, Jules was at the helm when it gave up the ghost.

I was sitting on the couch waiting for Jules to get home when the phone rang. As soon as she started talking I new the van was dead.

First I thought that she was sitting in the parking lot unable to get the van in gear. Nope! Much better than that! She was in the middle of a busy intersection and the wheel had broken loose from the axle. No pushing the van through the intersection with THAT kind of problem!

Me and my CAA membership were totally useless from where I was, so all I could do was provide the phone number of a towing company. I found one with a nice looking yellow pages ad and gave her the number.

If you've ever wondered what ever happened to those hillbillies from the movie Deliverance, wonder no more. They are in Brandon, Manitoba driving around in a tow truck.

Usually when you call for a tow you get one guy and his truck. This way you can get in and catch a lift to where your vehicle is being transported. Well Bubba showed up with a couple of buddies.

When Jules called me to fill me in, she told me that there was a huge woman and a retarded guy riding shotgun and she was concerned about how she was going to be getting into the truck along with these three sideshow freaks. She didn't want to be in that truck cab where someone was going to have to sit on someone else's lap, regardless of who was the sitter and who was the sittee!

I thought that she must have been exaggerating a bit when she was telling me this, but I soon found out that it really was as bad as she said!

Although the truck driver assured her that there would be room in the truck, she opted for a ride with a policeman instead. When she remarked about the lack of space in the tow truck the officer told her that these guys always do that. Mental note: stay far away from that towing company in the future.

The truck pulled up to our house and I could barely see the driver because there was a wall of flesh between him and the passenger window. This was Large Marge. After some initial small talk with Large Marge I concluded that she was either completely vacuous or mildly retarded, either way any discussion regarding the van with her would be breath wasted.

There was nothing mild about the retardation of the other sidekick, Lenny. At first I thought he was drunk but soon realized that he was, in fact, mentally challenged. It was kind of unsettling watching him help. Especially when he had to ask Bubba if he should keep holding on to the hoist bar while Bubba dragged it from under the van. "Yes, Lenny, by all means keep holding on. It works much better when there are mashed fingers underneath!"

After Lenny finished his part of the job. Bubba finished everything else up. Lenny must have been quite worked up from helping because he and Large Marge decided that it would be appropriate to make out while they waited. It was not a pretty site! I hope to God that that relationship doesn't generate any offspring!

The unloading operation took an eternity. It was almost as if they had never towed a car before. I couldn't stand another minute of making small talk with these guys. Finally he finished up and gave me the bill for $40.82. Also he had no change. Since he couldn't break a $20 I had to scrounge around for the 82 cents. I came up with 85 and took it out to him. He was actually going to find me the 3 cents in change back. "No worries buddy! You can split it up between yourselves!" I probably would have tipped him but I sure as hell wasn't going to give him $19.18! There's a lesson for you Bubba. If you carry change you might get more tips!

Eventually they left us with our dead van. Our dead van with $20 of fresh gas that Jules got put in seconds before the breakdown!

Today we start the task of finding a new vehicle to replace the shit heap.


Kris said...

Yet another experience we share. I had my ball joint quit back in high school, while I was driving. Not a fun experience to have your axel hit the pavement with a shower of sparks. Just be glad your wife wasn't on the highway doing 100 at the time!

Heather said...

Some friend's of ours just had their axle break on their van on Sunday on the way home from church. Right in the middle of the intersection. How come that stuff doesn't happen when you are in the parking lot or already stopped at a stop sign or something?