It’s been really difficult to keep a positive attitude lately, but, as I always do, I am trying my best to keep it all on the road here — literally.
I have a 1996 truck with over 230,000 miles on the odometer, which is as far as it will go because it recently quit working and I have no idea how many miles I have put on it, so that number is an estimate. Suffice it to say, two months ago when it stopped it was at 229,435 and as much driving as I do, it’s safe to say I passed the 230,000 mile mark several weeks ago.
And so you know, I have been asked the question before: why don’t you get a new car?
So, before I go off on a rant here, I’ll answer that for you and we can move on. I don’t buy a new — or even newer — car for several reasons. First off, my truck is paid for and has been for a long time. I don’t want a car payment, I would rather have the money, for all that’s worth in the scheme of things, and while this may be a big reason, it’s not the only one and certainly not the most important reason where I am concerned.
You see, I have this Rolling Stones sticker in the rear window, the tongue logo for those of you versed in such things, and it is silver and reflective. I have never seen another one anywhere and I can’t figure out how to take it off so it may be used again.
It’s as simple as that.
Although I will say, after last week I am beginning to have a different mindset and opinion about whether I should consider a different ride. My truck decided I was having way too much fun I suppose and decided I needed to have a reality check, beginning with a dead battery and ending with a wait of several hours while a tow truck showed up to haul me and the vehicle home.
Needless to say, that was not how I wanted to spend a Friday night, and although I was working at the time, I would have much rather worked than sat on the side of the road in Powdersville until someone could find the time to find me.
I had the truck towed home, as I said, along with myself and having already dropped way too much money — when did buying a car battery require a loan, by the way — I did what I normally do: I decided I would work on it myself. I’m a smart guy, at times have a great amount of patience, and do know what I am doing when it comes to some auto repairs.
I am certainly capable of many things, except of course home repairs. If you want accidental arson, just call me and I will go ahead and take care of any wiring you might have and the next thing you know your home is going to look like the victim of a grease fire.
But an alternator? Well, I can do that in a snap, it’s easy.
Well, it used to be.
I know you can probably tell by now things didn’t quite go that well.
Three cab rides to a local auto parts store, which includes a trip for ONE socket that apparently is like the Rosetta Stone of tools because it’s the key to everything and so secretive no set comes with one, and my boiling point grew closer and closer.
And just think, I hadn’t even taken the old alternator off yet. So, yeah, I had many hours of fun and entertainment, much like playing with a slinky that has been stretched out and no longer coils, only pokes you in the finger. For the life of me, and I almost mean that literally, I think surgery on the brain stem of a stranger would have been easier and far less frustrating. I can assure you I would probably have never reached the point where I was ready to take a baseball bat to the guy’s head.
Not so with the truck, believe it or not, though it was touch and go there for awhile as a can of gas and a match began too look awfully inviting. It shocks me as to how parts and pieces so unrelated to the alternator had to be disassembled and removed to do what should have taken a maximum of 45 minutes.
There were parts all over the street, hanging from tree limbs, and strewn across the yard looking as if my house had vomited a used parts depot onto the lawn. And I’m sure the neighbors really enjoyed my re-enactment of the heating unit scene from A Christmas Story, not to mention the repeated conversations with Lola, who so desperately sat in the truck for hours while I worked on it in anticipation of going for a ride.
Poor girl, probably still doesn’t know what I meant when I kept telling her she was going to feel stupid for just sitting there in a truck that wouldn’t start.
Well, I obviously made it to work, which means eventually, and eventually is being generous here. I was able to get everything reassembled — not sure what the extra bolts are for, but let’s make it a game and see what part flies off next. And although I consider myself a survivor for being able to come away, if not unscathed at least not mangled, I have an entirely new resentment.
If I ever meet one of those guys who engineers these things, we’re going to have to have a chat. A nice, long one.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.