not running on all cylinders

January 10, 2012


Three days ago I was driving back to the east side from downtown, where I had been having one very nice cheap beer with Nitya. And we were riding along, singing things loudly and praising our own virtues most vigorously, and giggling like a couple of hedgehogs in a clover patch, and suddenly my Check Engine light began flashing like the neon sign when the words of the prophet are written on the subway wall. Fortunately I was almost exactly at Holly’s house, which is where my car and I currently live, (one of us lives outside and one of us does not), and so I very wisely drove it directly there although that had not been my previous plan, and I parked it and left it to rest because I am not a believer in cars walking it off. I called up Blue Sky Motors because my grandpa has nothing but great things to say about the Blue Sky Motors guy all the time, and also because it is exactly fourteen blocks from Holly’s house and I did not want to drive my car very far with all that flashing going on.


Today I went to Blue Sky Motors on my sad cold anxious foodless lunch break, and the first thing that happened is that the very nice and clearly clever mechanic tried and failed like everyone else to open my hood just by pulling up on the little lever, so just like every other time I had to pop out the (extremely handy) little grill in the back and stick my arm waaay in and yank the cord myself. This makes me feel like a badass, but it hurts my fingers. Anyhow, so I popped the hood and he lifted it up and OOOH! he exclaimed, THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG! and he pointed to the fact that the motor oil cap was missing and that the entire engine was coated with oil.

I fairly rolled myself into a spiral with the shame of it, for lo it was I and no one else who had recently been moved to the charitable act of an oil top off for my beloved, and although I have a very clear memory of putting the cap back on I do not have a very clear memory of putting it on very hard. I have still not recovered from the shame and horror of this moment, where everything in the world that was wrong with my car was my fault, and furthermore I was a five car alarm dumbass.

So he cleaned all the gritty caked on grease off and he refilled my oil because most of it was all over the inside of the engine instead of being all over the inside of the motor oil receptacle. And then he plugged in his little machine (I want one) and it told him that one (1) cylinder was not working. And then he shuffled around to the back and unplugged a cylinder and tested out the fuel injector and sure enough, although he was nice enough to say it had nothing to do with being oil soaked or oil deprived, I need one (1) new fuel injector. As I had been on the very verge of congratulating myself for escaping a trip to the mechanic no further under than a greasy engine and a nearly depleted oil supply, my day fell rather quickly into little crumbles. Not that a fuel injector is so very expensive, and not that it wasn’t damned interesting to learn how to take out a cylinder and check one…but now I have to deal with the constant searing dread that while driving down the street at twenty five miles per hour I will suddenly explode.

Apparently driving on three out of four cylinders is a quite acceptable practice and one does not blow up from it, but I can never be fully convinced of things like this until the danger has passed and the improbable is assuredly impossible. I have ordered the part and I can drive around with my car going putt putt like a little old coupe for a couple of days, but

I am so incredibly completely


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