I am in the throes of studying for qualifying exams. For those of you who aren’t aware of this torture device Academia uses as its own version of Darwinism, I will be tested for approximately 12-14 hours over two days. The horrific details are seriously worth an entire post of it’s own, so let’s just leave it as consisting of a LOT of studying. This involves a lot of practice exams, group discussions, re-reading textbooks, and typing up study guides. I’ve been in The Office for about 6 or 7 hours a day for the past few days and will continue for the next week and a half. The Man has been awesome in dropping me off in the morning and getting me once I am ready to tear my hair out sometime in the afternoon/evening.
So this evening was no different when I called and said that I was ready to head home and take a break before diving back into the books. The Man turned the corner shortly after in The Might Taurus (which The Man has affectionately named Madeline), I got in, and The Might Taurus faltered. It opted to falter like a bad 90s rave with shaking, shuttering, and flashing all of its electronic lights. This seemed like a negative sign, so The Man chose to turn the car off hoping that it was perhaps the dense humidity of death that was causing The Mighty Taurus to cough and freak out… I mean that’s what we do when it’s this stupid outside.
So there we were, smack in the middle of the parking lot at The Office where the city is notorious for towing strange people (according to them I am strange and unworthy of a parking permit… again worth another post). And we were impressively blocking basically every car in the place. This was completely fine until the entire city decided it was also a fine time for them to return to their cars and attempt to go home. That would have been easier if we weren’t waving at them like overly friendly crazies. So we attempted reviving The Mighty Taurus. It responded to our vain attempts by turning into an unimpressed exhibitionist by flashing (its lights at) everyone in the vicinity and clicking away its disapproval. Click Click Click Click!
It was pretty clear we were officially stuck.
Since The Man and I are arguably impoverished, the idea of a tow truck was panic-inducing. To Google and to The Dad we turned! Both avenues turned up some vague mentions of electric issues, starters, wires, batteries, and alternators. Since all of those things are slightly different, and we know basically nothing other than how to start and drive one of these things — The Might Taurus was in dire need of a doctor. But darn it, we were going to attempt every known fix before we figured out how to get it there. No. We have three degrees between the two of us. None in auto mechanics or… anything realistic… but BRAINS! (But seriously… anything could have been in that car, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you.)
That’s the moment when The Man turned to me and said I should ask people if they had Diet Coke in The Office. Needless to say, I was pretty unimpressed with his hydration needs in the middle of our auto-crisis. Seriously? If your Diet Coke addiction is bad enough that you can’t bring yourself to critically think about car parts, you need to check your life. You need to check your choices. The Man then started rambling on about Diet Coke working as a way to get rid of corrosion on car batteries, so I was then convinced he’d lost his mind. But there I went to The Drug Store to purchase a bottle of Diet Coke.
I returned a moment later having successfully “played it cool” while purchasing what could only turn into an embarrassing mechanic moment, and The Man and I popped the hood. To my surprise, the Diet Coke hit and magically carbonated the battery’s way to clean connections! Like… it was magic, but I was also highly disturbed that a food item could essentially melt away corroded metallic waste. WHAT DOES THAT DO YOUR STOMACH?? The Man acknowledged that his innards are probably shot to all heck due to a daily regimen of holy cow that’s violent chemical reactions. BUT The Might Taurus bounded back into life! We were back in business!
The Man revved the engine a bit, and we edged back onto the road. The dashboard lights may not have been working, the radio wasn’t running, the AC really wasn’t working – but we were moving! We were consoled by the fact that we only live 2 miles from The Office. If we could only navigate The Mighty Taurus to her home, The Man could turn to Google for a false sense of mechanic prowess tomorrow in hopes of fixing the persistent issue. We made it past downtown pretty well, wound through the houses and past the rail road tracks, and we were still golden! The Man, who had by now worked up quite the perspiration stains in his pushing the car, thinking, Diet Coking, and rejoicing decided that it was time to casually begin drinking the rest of our only Diet Coke. Perhaps my reaction of, “Would you stop drinking our precious life juice? What if we need that again!” wasn’t logical… but it was certainly some killer foreshadowing.
It was at the third-to-last light that we started to feel unhealthy signs of giving up. The Mighty Taurus started to shutter and groan a bit while we were stopped. No amount of revving the engine seemed to spur her back into a fury, and it was as we came on the end of the intersection that she gave up all together. As we drifted to the side of the road… it was clear this saga was far far from over.
to be continued…