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Friday, July 6, 2012

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.

44 comments:

Nessa Roo said...

In this neighborhood, we'd all be pointing at the house that's NOT crass. We'd shake our heads and say, "They won't last long..."

Also, as far as brakes go, I'd rather have a weeper than a pisser any day. Here's hoping for the eventual gremlin/robot exorcism.

the walking man said...

'94 Honda civic 302,475 miles! Good car but i don't think i would have let Mary help with the bleeding of the brakes. she seems a little nuts. i would just have let the garvity of the situatin do it, it's call appropriately enough "gravity bleeding."

Simply Suthern said...

Glad you got Jon to do it for you.
Brake can be fun.
Weepers turn to pissers which turn to oops.

Pump it twice sounded like you guys were figgin to do some "Brake" Dancing.

mary i said...

In my part of the world(alabama) Nessa Roo said it just right!! I so feel ya'll on this weather thing.

Pearl said...

It's way too hot, and right through the weekend, too.

Good time to see movies...

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

You are so lucky to have your very own backyard mechanic.

R. Jacob said...

Jon knows his stuff!
jealous...

Pearl said...

Delores, and don't I know it!!

Pearl said...

R., aww! Don't be jealous!

Sioux said...

If you're a fan of SNL skits involving Will Farrell and Christopher Walken, I'd say, "More cowbell."

Amy said...

This is the payback for the virtually snowless winter. Mother Nature is a fickle beast!

Shelly said...

“Pump it twice. Now let it up. Now push it to the floor.” I think I detect the newest rock anthem.

My first car had air conditioning in the form of a hole in the driver's side floor where the road could actually be viewed. Wasn't good to drive on rainy days because the feet would get wet.

Eva Gallant said...

Where would you be without Jon? On foot!

Joanne said...

I am so happy to see Jon and Mary again. When's she going to call Acme Gromets and whatchamacallits again? Hope the insane heat breaks soon.

jenny_o said...

Heck, I never know what I'm going to learn here. Now I feel completely competent to bleed a brakeline :)

mermaid gallery said...

I've done that brake thing many times in my life....but i just learned now that i was getting the air spurts out.....who knew?

Lynn said...

They sound fun. :)

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

You were pumping the brake fluid down the new brakelines to get the air bubbles out of the system. Why? Air bubbles can 'compress' making the brakes 'spongy' and less efficient or even useless. Brake fluid cannot be compressed, ergo pressing on the brake actuates the caliper,which ....ta..daaaaaaaaaaaH...makes the brakes function properly, squeezes the ROTOR, causing friction, which changes vehicle motion to heat, which disperses, ...and you stop before you hit the garbage can or the garage door. Lovely how it works isn't it?
Weepers or seepers are certainly better than 'blowouts' which cause instantaneous loss of all brake function except for the parking brake. If you have ONE weeper, change them all. Just sayin'....

Al Penwasser said...

A weeper?
That makes me cry.
Pump it twice?
'tis all I need, that's why.

TexWisGirl said...

jon does his best with mary, doesn't he? :)

Symdaddy said...

My tatty old Vauxhall Astra has been boxed up and deposited at the local post depot. By tomorrow morning it should be winging it's way to you, Pearl, so please pass it on to Jon when it arrives.

If he asks "What need's fixing?", just say EVERYTHING!!!

Geo. said...

Might be a good idea to check the brake fluid level in the reservoir from time to time to make sure your friend found all the leaks. On second thought, he doubtless mentioned that. They sound very caring.

K A B L O O E Y said...

When did you clone my car?

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vanilla said...

Somehow I would think you would appreciate Jon's efforts in your behalf enough to go on inside and let him work in peace. Oh. He needs Mary there to push it to the floor... Still, he deserve a lot of respect, and lots and lots of appreciation.

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ThreeOldKeys said...

Pearl, why you little ...
I finally banished that slow

snap snap snap snap

of Fever ... only to have it replaced by the

clunk clunk clunk

of cowbell.

Jono said...

Watch out for those buckled roads!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Jon & Mary are the neighbors we all wish we had. Don't stop writing about them, okay?

Indigo Roth said...

Ah Pearl! No brakes? Well, that just means you can get where you;re going far quicker, which could be useful if you're trying to avoid an accident. True story. Roth x

Stephen Hayes said...

You're lucky to have a guy like Jon around. If you had someone like me around you'd be pushing that piece of j...your car.

Amy said...

Your car and mine just might be related. Quirky damn things.

Linda O'Connell said...

Jon and Mary...and Pearl, a great combination. Glad your brakes are back in working order. When I turn my steering wheel it grunts like a fat guy bending over when the air condidtioner is on. I'm embarrassed to drive to the store.

Carrie Lynne said...

Got to love Honda..I own a 1995 Happy Honda..I pray that on day someone will pimp my ride.

chlost said...

My son learned to change the brake pads from a youtube video. I don't know why, but I kinda prefer Jon....where can I find him? He could make a lot of money just going door to door "Fix yer brakes, lady?"

Oh, and check out who is driving in the lane next to you, Pearl:

http://www.kare11.com/news/article/982267/396/State-Trooper-pulls-over-driver-of-unsafe-Ford-Pintohttp://www.kare11.com/news/article/982267/396/State-Trooper-pulls-over-driver-of-unsafe-Ford-Pinto

cloudia charters said...

get under there, man!



Have a fine Weekend

Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

NellieVaughn said...

My poor gives me just as much trouble. Okay, maybe not just as much, but it was rear-ended a few days ago. That brought us closer together.

Tempo said...

That noise is the Constant Velocity Joints (CV's) and end up costing a few hundred a side to replace.
The Hinda Lives...

akh said...

Golly, I could feel the heat all the way from damp, cold Englad.

akh said...

Golly, I could feel the heat all the way from damp, cold Englad.

River said...

"Don't fear the weeper" had me burst out laughing!!

And the Honda lives on.
So there won't be tales of a new car just yet?

Happy Frog and I said...

I'm a sucker for a Blue Oyster Cult reference, excellent stuff. I wish I knew more about cars and how to fix them but I really don't. Not too bad on old motorcycles though.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

"She lives to brake another day."

Very clever. This made me smile.

ps: it broke. The weather, I mean. It's 62 and breezy and I'm wearing socks.

pps: saw Rock Of Ages. Images burnt into my head that I can't erase. But the a/c was sooo nice.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Don't fear the weeper.

How awesome is that?????

Blow a kiss to the most AWESOME Mary for me! LOL!