M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, May 01, 2003  

The Alternate Driving Experience

Remember a couple of months ago when my car stopped being able to go backwards?

Now it doesn’t want to turn right any more.

Okay, it’s actually not that bad. I don’t have to limit myself to destinations that are on my left. I don’t even have to take three lefts to go right. The wheel still turns in its standard range of motion and everything. It’s just that if I have less than a quarter of a tank of gas, and I turn right, the car kind of loses interest in propelling itself forward. Like, it’ll just sort of put itself in neutral and coast until I straighten the wheel out. I can imagine that last gallon or so just sloshing over to the left side of the tank from the centrifugal force, out of reach of the tube that sucks it out to send it to the engine. Or whatever. It’s not like I actually understand this stuff.

That’s probably why I let the oil change place upsell me on a fuel treatment and fuel injector cleaner last week. I figured, what the heck, it’s not that much money, and maybe it’ll make the problem go away. And it did! Yay! Then my tank got down to about an eighth and it came back again. Boo.

Clearly this will not do. I want high performance! I want torque! I want all those other things that are code for automotive Viagra! If I wanted a hesitant, anemic, motorized shopping cart, I wouldn’t have bought a Saturn station wagon in the first place, you know?

Hey, don’t laugh. My grocery-getter has a surprising amount of pickup for a vehicle with five doors. Many are the unsuspecting sports car drivers who have eaten my dust at traffic lights. The suspecting ones, not so much, but still. My station wagon has a tachometer, okay? Plus it’s all red and curvy. Owning it is like driving a cheap midlife-crisismobile that gets good mileage and has room for my bass amp. It works for me.

Except lately, when I’m low on gas and turning right.

I think I know what it is, though. My dad thinks it’s probably the fuel pump. The service guy at the dealership also thinks it’s probably the fuel pump. Most of the Internet thinks it’s the fuel pump. Therefore, I’ve decided it’s the transmission.

No, not really. I’m going with the majority opinion, and Dad has offered to help me put a new fuel pump in it. Shouldn’t be too hard. We won’t even have to pop the hood. I mean, the fuel pump is just that long pedal thing under the dashboard, right? How hard can it be to slap one of those on?

* * *

We’re going to Hawaii! Trash got alerted to some crazy-cheap airfare on Travelocity, and we’re spending a long Memorial Day weekend fleeing lava. We’re both looking forward to it.

So, as always when we’re planning a trip, I’m hitting you guys up on ideas for stuff to do. If you know something I don’t because you live there, or you’ve been there, or you once met somebody who thought about maybe reading a book about the place, let us know. Should we rent a car? Should we travel to other islands besides Oahu? Is it remotely possible to avoid leering wags who “joke” about getting lei’d? Should we snap up any tiki idols we see lying around and use them for good luck charms? This is the kind of stuff we need to know.

posted by M. Giant 3:26 PM 0 comments


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