Sunday, May 27, 2007

Copper Head (or Car Hell)

Last week I spent $1100 on repairs to my '96 Voyager with 140K on it. Yeah, its a guzzler but I need a minivan for lugging basses, amps and kids around. In my next incarnation I want to drive a Miata.

Last night after my gig downtown I loaded up the rig and started the car... for about three seconds. Then it went kaput. The radio was on so I wasn't quite sure what happened. I was also a bit distracted by the street scene of a very wobbly partygoer who was flailing around attempting to hail a cab (at least, that's what I thought she was doing; perhaps she was keeping the elephants away). So I fired her up again (the car, not the flailer). Nice strong vrrrr but no ooom. Again...same thing. Now I'm starting to get alarmed. It had been raining, maybe something was wet under there. I opened the hood and stared moronically inside. It all looked fine, bone dry, as far as I could tell. When you don't know what you're looking at it ALWAYS looks fine. I got back into the driver's seat, hoping to sneak up on the ignition and make it start up when it wasn't paying attention. But, alas, no dice, fuzzy or otherwise.

The last time a car of mine displayed these symptoms I had broken a timing belt. I sat there trying to remember when I'd last had the belt changed. Uh, 70,000 miles? 90,000? I had no idea. Then the harsh reality of the "glamour of showbiz" started to dawn on me. I've got two gigs tomorrow (today, actually), including one at 9AM. How on earth am I going to get there?

From there the details get way too tedious to write, let alone read. Suffice it to say that I got a ride home with my superhero friend SJA, who also happened to be on my early Sunday gig and chauffeured me to and from that. My minivan did not magically repair itself overnight, against all odds. So I wound up renting a monstrosity of a hatchback called a Chevy HHR. This thing is apparently a re-design of the equally horrendously ugly PT Cruiser. It is copper colored, way too shiny, has terrible sight lines and was the only non SUV on Avis' lot that accommodates my upright bass (just barely).

The second job of the day will more or less cover the cost of the rental car for the next three days. Of course it is a holiday weekend so I have to wait an extra day before my mechanic (who is becoming my best pal) can have a crack at my beater. Meanwhile I'll tool around in the Copper Head and try not to poison anyone with it.