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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pump It Twice. Let It Up. Push It to the Floor.

When the temperatures soar and the humidity is such that distant muscle memory of gills springs unbidden to one’s mind, what does the thinking woman do?

Go to the lake? To a pool perhaps? An air-conditioned theater, maybe?

Would you believe a backyard, sweat dripping from the end of my nose?

I blame my car.

My car! What an unbelievably precarious thing is my car!

The front bumper? Lost in an unfortunate car versus iced-over alley confrontation.

The driver’s side window? Can’t be lowered more than three inches without running off the track.

And if you’ll just turn the music down a touch, you’ll notice that the front end makes an interesting R2D2-meets-wet-Gremlin sound that make women heading into grocery stores turn around and frown in confusion.

What is that sound?

And now? The brakes. The soft, holy-hannah-that-was-close brakes.

For cryin’ out loud, will it never end?

So that’s where I am. I am in Mary’s backyard. With Mary. Watching Jon replace several feet of brake line.

“The neighbors are afraid of us,” Mary says.

“Well look at ya…”

“They’re afraid of us, aren’t they, Jon?”

“Who?” Jon’s voice is muffled by the Honda’s undercarriage.

“The neighbors.” Mary points across the alley. “Over there.”

“That house?” I say, pointing to where the new people have moved in.

Jon wiggles out from under the car, stares upwards thoughtfully, carefully wipes his extra-long screwdriver with a stained blue rag. “Is that it?” he says, dryly. “We’re pointing now?”

“That’s ‘cause we’re crass, aren’t we, honey?” There’s no response from Jon. “Honey? Aren’t we crass?”

Jon is already on his back. “We don’t talk like that,” he says.

He’s back under the car. “Now you’re gonna want to take a look at this,” he says. “Here’s your problem.” From under the car, he holds out a leprous, scabby length of 3/16th piping.

“It’s a weeper,” he says.

I look at Mary. She shrugs. I look at Jon.

“It’s a weeper,” he explains. “There’s no actual hole – this is the length just behind that rusted-out wheel you used to have. You wouldn’t have seen a puddle under the car. It was just weeping out, slowly.”

Mary starts chuckling, low and musical. It’s a sound she makes when she’s got something going upstairs. “You know what this means, don’t you, Pearl?”

I’m grinning already.

“It means don’t fear the weeper,” she grins, blue eyes shining. She turns and shouts toward Jon. “Doesn’t it, honey?”

“I’ve always enjoyed a little Blue Oyster Cult,” I offer.

From under the car, Jon sighs in resignation.

The sky hangs low in grey and blue clouds, the deluge of the night before clings to the ground. It’s hot, it’s humid, and there are Japanese beetles everywhere, looking for all the world like tiny and expensive brooches.

The air compressor has kicked on with a mighty thump. WHIRRRRRRRR.

Jon removes the left front wheel. Mary climbs into the driver’s side, her head hangs back, her face red in the heat.

Jon wipes his face with his tee-shirt.

“Pump it twice. Now let it up. Now push it to the floor.”

Again and again, he repeats this litany, and again and again, Mary does as he says. “Pump it twice. Now let it up. Now push it to the floor”. Eventually the brake fluid runs clear, no air spurts.

That's one fewer thing wrong with the Honda.

She lives to brake another day.

And as Jon likes to say, he killed it.

32 comments:

Jinksy said...

Whew! Pass me a rag to wipe my forehead...♥

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Thank goodness, he killed it before it killed you.

Daisy said...

Brings back memories of my first car!

Neo said...

its always good to know a "back-yard mechanic"

Mamma has spoken said...

It's nice having friends, even nicer when they know how to work on your car!

powdergirl said...

From the title I assumed you'd taken to writing down fetishes you heard about on the bus.
Nice work Jon. I do love a fixer.

Simply Suthern said...

I thoguth this was going to be a Yoga post from the title.

Jon sounds like a good man. Cars weep,scream and moan too. They just want a little love.

who said...

coolant pump. break lines and fuel and coolant hoses don't weep from holes that form so they can be wept from. Just the water pumps, that pump coolant.

The car should be the least of your concern. Wait til you hear from that idiot that owes you your deposit.If there was something I could do about it, I would. She owes me money too

Eva Gallant said...

Nice to have your own repairman, though.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! That pun is almost as shameless as today's punchline on mine. I salute you. Indigo x

Oilfield Trash said...

Sounds a lot like my first honda.

Jhon Baker said...

As I was reading this post all I could think was - all of these issues could be fixed in the driveway. Glad to know the most important one is fixed now - this is what good friends are for... the amount of cars I've fixed in the drive for friends... and yesterday - a selfish project, new stereo and all new speakers in car, a lot of time spent with flux and solder.

Pat Tillett said...

Pump It Twice. Let It Up. Push It to the Floor.
The title is as good as the story Pearl!

Shelly said...

Great that he got it fixed, even in the blasted heat!

Leenie said...

Love the way you and Mary think.....

jenny_o said...

About the noise in the front end, now there's your first mistake - turning down the music. If the noise can't be heard over the music, there's nothing wrong. I promise.

Spongy brakes are a whole other story. Glad it didn't cause you to have an accident. And hats off to the kind friends in our lives who know the innards of cars and how they work.

Sioux said...

Don't fear the weaper! That reminds me of the marvelous SNL bit with Will Farrell covering the Blue Oyster Cult number.

Belle said...

Yes, a sick car can ruin a weekend.

Lazarus said...

Whew, I got hot just reading that one. At least it's fixed. Can't wait for the next car repair!

Doubting Thomas said...

Your title makes for a great dance move... I think we did that in the early 90's... ;)

HermanTurnip said...

I like to think that I'm more than capable of fixing anything that could go wrong with my car, but my mechanic is quick to remind me of the time I placed motor oil in the windshield wiper water compartment, and the time I forgot to securely place the screw to the oil pan, where it fell out on the highway and I darn near seized up the engine.

lisleman said...

You ladies were so helpful for Jon. He is probably still listening to all his old Blue Oyster Cult.

Hey got a minute? no - when you do.
trix-eating-rabbit, toes, 007 = conspiracy.

Crystal Pistol said...

"The sky hangs low in grey and blue clouds, the deluge of the night before clings to the ground. It’s hot, it’s humid, and there are Japanese beetles everywhere, looking for all the world like tiny and expensive brooches."

I read this paragraph 3 times. Beautifully done.

Tom G. said...

That title reminded me of the way a certain old girlfriend used to treat me.

Sigh...

good memories.

Tempo said...

Ive never had to replace a rusted brake line...ever! But then you guys actually put salt on your roads dont you? (you know thats crazy dont you Pearl?)
I love your words...

River said...

Thank goodness you got your brakes fixed!
But please keep riding the bus, I love your bus stories.

Susan in the Boonies said...

“Pump it twice. Now let it up. Now push it to the floor.”

somehow became a little chant in my head...which led to...

"When a problem comes along...you must whip it.
When something's going wrong...you must whip it.
Whip it...
Into shape...
Shape it up...
Get straight..
Go forward...
Move ahead....

Gaston Studio said...

You're braver than me to trust brake, and other type, repairs to a backyard mechanic. I'd be so completely paranoid!

Stephanie Faris said...

This is why I stay far, far away when men are doing something manly, like fixing a car or something around the house. I know that sigh all too well!

Sausage Fingers said...

Enjoying the heat wave? seems like the "Sota" is getting its ass kicked on both ends of the weather spectrum. 95 in the shade down here come on girl I-95 south until you run in to sand,
drinks with wee umbrellas and plenty of ice...
From what I hear from the other Minnesotan I know, winter is just around the corner and that bitch is my former fiancee.
cheers and hiccup, sausage...

goatman said...

Toyotas in Minnesota are bad about that!

R. Jacob said...

don't feel bad. I have the only truck around with a missing radio, not just not working. big hole