Posted by: tlnemethy | December 26, 2012

Road Ranger Plea

In Florida, when our car broke down, we just dialed 911 and they sent us the Road Rangers. Just outside Gloucester, Massachusetts that option was not available. And, braking down in the middle of a roundabout/rotary is probably the lowest possible place on my list to have car trouble. Let’s just say that 305496_10152346546715037_563157068_nI tapped the brakes and heard a wonderfully grating metal-on-metal sound as the car lurched to a continuous rolling merge. Joy. Beth and I exchanged a wonderful glance, I most likely had my mouth slack and the how-could-this-be-possibly-happening-again look on my face.

I limped the car to the right lane and continued off the rotary exit thinking it was a flukey occurrence. I gingerly tapped the brakes a few times just to make sure they still worked alright and continued about half a mile down the highway on our way to Rockport. The car sounded fine after that initial grating sound so I shrugged it off. Not until the sound came back and the car started vibrating did I actually pull off the side of the highway onto a wide shoulder to look under the car.

So, even though I’m parked a full car-length off the shoulder and away from traffic, I find myself imagining dying a horrible death getting dragged under the locked tires of my car as it gets pushed from behind. I apparently have a fascination with my ultimate demise in these type of situations. I’m not normally so concerned, seriously, ask anyone. Or at least I hope I’m not deluding myself.

I think I must be cursed– scratch that, Beth must be cursed with car problems. She did seem to be CIMG3298the common denominator in every car related incident that happened in Florida, and now Massachusetts. I was only in two of them, she in three. Anyone reading this should now have fair warning that Beth is like a poltergeist.

Now, I saw nothing under the car that was out of the ordinary, but damned if I probably wouldn’t be able to see a broken anything under there. It’s not like I regularly lie on the ground and wiggle under a borrowed car to get the lay of the land. There was a stick poking out of the back-end chassis, a stick that could be no thicker than a pencil at its biggest point. I seriously doubted that was the problem, considering the grinding sound seemed to be coming from the right front wheel well.

I was debating just lurking on the side of the road until the Road Ranger in my life (my dad) came to save us, when a Gloucester police officer dropped by. We chatted for a bit about the car issues, whether we had AAA, etc. until we determined it’d probably be a better choice for us to limp the car through the next rotary and off to a parking lot.

I felt really bad traveling a whopping five miles an hour down the breakdown lane because there were cars piling up behind us until we pulled into a Market Basket parking lot. By this point, we’re both starving and I’ve got to pee so bad it feels like my eyeballs are floating.  So, my dad’s a few minutes out and we end up buying “pizza logs” and chicken wings. Anything with log in the title automatically makes me think of poop, so it was really just the “pizza” carrying that purchase, that and the log part was made out of eggroll wrappers. Beth’s choice was the better one, like usual.

My dad shows up while we’re scarfing down food in the parking lot between Market Basket and a liquor store. CIMG3300He pops the tire off after I attempt to use a janky jack to prop up the car. I’m not incompetent, let me just share that now, but that thing was not working out very well for me. The metal arm keeps bending backwards at the joint so I’m doing this awkward extension of my own arm to attempt compensation. It worked eventually, but I’m most likely gonna have to practice that for the future.

I’m not going to say my dad is a professional mechanic, but he knows his shit. He popped that tire off and instantly pointed out the most decimated rotor I’ve ever seen. even I could tell this thing was not supposed to be as rusted or split down the middle as it was. Instead of one joint piece, there was shrapnel flaking off of two separate halves. At this point, I would’ve scratched my head and thrown my hands up in the air before leaving the car as a sacrifice to the car gods. My dad’s just all le penseur for a moment and then gets cracking with removing the piece and having me call up auto places nearby.

We’re in luck. The auto place down the street has just what we’re looking for and papa bear goes to get it while Beth and I continue to lurk nearby eating a bag of chicken wings and throwing the carcasses into a pigeon feeding ground, forming one similar to the elephant graveyard in Lion King.

Papa bear gets back and pops that sucker right on. He Macgyvered shit a few times, and failed to take my valued advice on the actual application of the shiny new rotor, but he’s a man and we all know they don’t take advice.

Please take a moment to admire these wonderfully posed photographs. We did make it to Rockport, as you might know if you’d read the previous entry, but unfortunately the sun was low in the sky and our adventurous spirits had been quelled through the day’s excitement.

I would’ve taken my own advice. I can’t believe my dad just gave me the look and went back to work.


  1. I may not be a road ranger (yet), but if I move to Florida, I will keep it in mind!

    Glad I could be of assistance.

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