Sunday, July 12, 2009

A is for Aggie whose fuel pump went dead

It will always be a great mystery to me how the tow truck driver and stranger to dentifrice who rescued my car last Wednesday managed to rot only his top row of dull yellows. He was a winker and a smiler, who misguidedly thought flashing the little brown stumps he called teeth in a cheeky grin would charm me. It did almost charm the breakfast out of my stomach, but that's not quite the same thing. I didn't have time for developing a more than a professional relationship with a tow truck driver, let alone a toothless one, for after 85,000 miles my sweet blue ride had its first bout with car trouble.

It is always a strange milestone in the life of a car to see it on the back of a tow truck for the first time. As cars go, I LOVE my Toyota. The Saturn I had before it had starter trouble on a regular basis and it would take less time to tell you about the times the piece of shit Dodge I had before that actually ran than it would to chronicle its breakdowns. My Matrix, Agamemnon aka Aggie (don't ask me why, because I only remember that its maiden voyage involved a friend shouting "You have angered Agamemnon!" every time we passed a pokey car on the highway), has been a dream in comparison. I drive a lot, and it had had nothing but routine maintenance thusfar. Now it also has a new fuel pump, battery and tires to go with the new front breaks it got about two months ago. This all comes at an odd time, when I find myself aching for the road.

Lately, something deep inside me wants to just hop in the car and go - just drive with no destination in mind beyond where I end up. I think it may be the adult version of running away from home. I like to think that my car's demand for maintenance means that it too has designs on a road trip and wanted to be in tip-top form (kinda like seeing a doctor before starting an exercise regimen!). Now that everything is fresh and healthy, we are BOTH ready to go.

My last good road trips were last summer. My urge to hit the highway is further bolstered by my friend Jeff's current project wherein he hits the road in his van with his two dogs and a trailer filled with books (his and his friend Kurt's) and travels the country doing readings, selling novels and blogging about it all. And he won't come back until the trailer is empty. The freedom is like a siren song trying to lure me from my desk in search of an adventure of my own.

And I do have a weekend long beachy road trip to a cabin not unlike the one in the picture coming up at the end of July. While I am sure it will be lovely, I can already feel that it won't be enough. It is, however, a start. My car is ready and I've got the whole week off, so we'll see where we end up.