Recollection of Events - Wed. July 20 to...

The day started slowly. I was up at 7:30 because I had to run to work and tie-up some loose ends with an application that I just promoted. I made it back to my apartment at 8am and started packing clothes and doing laundry. My new debit card had come in the day before, so I was able to get my new PIN and take out plenty of cash for the trip. By 9am I was sitting on my hands, ready to drive. Robert told me that he would be at my house by 10am, but he didn't show up until after noon. I was pissed because I had originally wanted to get on the road around 8am.

The drive took a turn for the worse outside of Baton Rouge. There was an immense, unmoving traffic jam that stalled us for an hour. It was especially frustrating because there was not a major accident or even a bottleneck that was apparent. We didn't hit any other slowdowns until Houston, but that wasn't too bad. About 50 mi. outside of Houston we stopped for gas and food. Sonic was nearby and we got hamburgers and ate inside.

After returning to the car, while waiting for Robert, I sat on the hood and realized the hood was quite warm. This struck me as a little odd, but I wrote it off. We had just driven about 400mi, after all. In retrospect, we had been inside for about 15 minutes, and the weather was getting a little cooler, so maybe this was not ordinary. I didn't check the fluids at this point.

The rest of the drive was smooth and cool. We arrived at Gretchen's house a bit after 9pm, parked, and went inside for about an hour. I offered to drive because I wanted to learn my way around the downtown area. Right before I was about to get on the freeway, I saw the "CHECK ENGINE" light come on. I stared at it with a bit of concern for a few seconds and then started searching for a problem. The car sounded fine, but the engine temperature gauge was spiked. Literally off the charts. I pulled over immediately to a Shell station, shut off the engine, and started putting water into the radiator overflow container. The engine wasn't smoking and didn't even seem that hot. I started the car again and the temperature immediately started going back to normal. I ran the car in the parking lot for a minute and everything seemed fine. I pulled out of the lot and didn't see any fluid leaking. I made the decision to continue with the 15+ mile drive into downtown Austin.

We parked off of 6th street and the car still seemed fine, although the warning light was still on. This was around 10:30pm. I made a mental note to check the water level before we started back home.

After a few hours of carousing, we pulled back onto the freeway around 2:30am. I looked down and saw the gauge march from the normal point into the red, right before my eyes. As I pulled off the road onto an exit, I turned down the radio and heard a sputtering noise coming from the hood. The gauge was pegged again by the time I found a place to pull over: a DIY carwash. We emptied a bottle of spring water and a bottle of Dasani from a vending machine into the overflow, which immediately made the temp go down, but the bottle was pretty much empty.

At this point, I knew something was wrong and the car was leaking coolant badly. I decided to drive the car to the nearest gas station, which was about 100ft away. I pulled into the lot, quickly bought a bottle of 50/50 coolant and fed it to the car, kegstand style. The car was puking up the fluid while I poured. I started the engine again so I could pull the car into a parking spot and noticed that most of the coolant had spilled out just in that short trip.

We called Gretchen's parents and got a ride home. I was confident that I could resolve this better in the morning and I was fucking tired. I thought it was a broken hose or a burst gasket, something minor and cheap. I slept well.

In the morning, while Gretchen got ready for work, I looked up potential Volvo repair shops. I felt extremely lucky when I saw one listed directly across the street from the 7-11 where I left my car. How could I not have seen that last night?

Gretchen drove me to my car. I thanked her and rubbed her hair playfully.

"Thanks, kid. I owe you one."
"No problem, Trizzle. Call me."

With optimism and purpose, I started up my trusty, yet ailing vehicle and whipped into the parking lot of French Revolution Motors. It wasn't long before Bono, the debonair head mechanic from Kosovo told me the heartbreaking news. "Your head gasket is blown." The repair would cost at least $1650.

I was very quiet for a while. I pulled the car into a free parking space and opened the trunk and climbed in to get out of the relentless Austin sun. Then I started making calls.

The next two days sucked. Eventually I decided that the repairs would total more that I wanted to spend on the car. The owner of the shop offered me $1000 for the car, "as is." I took it, after weighing several options, all of which seemed to be crappy, losing options.

When I came to sign the bill of sale, I stopped by the car and started clearing out my personal effects. Five pounds of loose change, documents, CDs, weapons, sunglasses, adapters, condoms. Two umbrellas.

As I slammed the door on my trusty Volvo for the last time, I had a moment where I felt like I was losing something special and meaningful. We had spent almost 3 years together, coming and going to work, going out, driving to shows, getting broken into three times, making my legs cramp because you were too small for my gigantor body

Then I realized in a moment how much I hate cars. I hate you 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo. You sucked and weren't trusty at all. I'm glad I left your ass in Austin. I think I hate Volvos too as well. I also hate Sweden (even though Volvos aren't made in Sweden anymore) and Swedes (even though I am part Swedish). Except Ingmar Bergman. He's cool.
link to this post   12:16 PM by Trey | (0)
When I was driving away from my house this morning, I saw my landlord peek around the fence for a moment and then jump back a second later. I think my he is stalking me. Or avoiding me. Both are good possibilities.

I hate people that say "I ain't skerred." Next person who says that around me will be scared of me after I am done with them. Then I will reprogram their brains to say, "I ain't skerred...except of Trey."
link to this post   10:36 AM by Trey | (1)
My body is changing. I am hunched over an alpha-numeric control pad, like a praying mantis devouring her prey. Eyes transfixed to a brachiated light arrays, following contrast patterns, interpreting, calculating. My speech has degraded to an arcane stream of monosyllables, keywords, and acronyms. Miniature transducer diaphragms are implanted deep in my ear canals, isolating me from external vibrations.

I'm the only employee at my company that does any work. Everyone else that works here should just go home and let me handle everything. I'm more than a "valued" contributer; I am the Prime Contributer.
link to this post   10:45 AM by Trey | (0)