The quote from John Lennon reminds us that “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” Yes, plans were on my mind as I left the house this morning. Plans plagued with worry about the pandemic that has plagued our humanity. Plans that made space for me to notice the difference my headlights make now that they’ve been restored.
“Wow, look at them lights,” I say to Cam as we made our way out of the driveway. She’s been here every step of the way, from one-light-out to brights-only to one-bright-out to thankful-that-the-sun-rises-sooner.
We made it to the highway and the car started chugging. I flexed my foot on the gas pedal, letting off. But the first stretch of our drive is a steep grade, uphill, so we know, that letting off will get you nowhere. So I stretched my foot back out and checked the gauges. Our speed was steady, but the rpms were going haywire: 3000, 4000, 3000, 4000, 3000…
I picked up my phone and dialed home.
“Hello?” My husband was surprised to hear from me so soon after we left.
I explained what happened. He had had the car in the shop just yesterday, tuning it, flushing it, fixing it up, including the headlights.
“It’s probably just an air bubble in the lines,” he said. This transmission has been a problem since we took it to the Grand Canyon. So while at the shop yesterday, he installed a few more features to keep the transmission running smoothly.
“It’s probably just an air bubble in the lines,” I explained to Cam. “It’s not dangerous. We just have to ease it down to the city. Then he’ll probably come and get it from me or we’ll take it to the shop after school.”
Her eyes settled back on her screen, we chugged into Pine Junction and chuged along down Richmond Hill.
“Get this dash on video,” I told her as we coasted down the hill: 1000, 2000, 1000, 2000, 1000…
“This is without any gas, going down the hill,” I narrated. “Now we’re at the bottom, and I’m pushing on the gas.”
“I gotta get over. Turn it off,” I said as I pulled behind a merging minivan and coasting to a stop against the guard rail. No gears. No reverse. No nada.
A slow crawl backward to secure some space between us and morning traffic, a call to 911 to alert state patrol, and a knight in shining armor later, and this part of our adventure was over.
It’s what happens when you least expect it.
Today it came in the complete annihilation of my 200,000-mile-old transmission. It kept me from my best laid plans.
But it happens.