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

Thursday, October 02, 2003  

Give me a Brake

I got my car fixed today. Again.

I think my car has taken up the hobby of getting on my nerves. More than before, I mean.

Now that I no longer work a block away from a Saturn dealership, and now that my daily commute is almost the precise width of the city of Minneapolis, getting car repairs taken care of is increasingly inconvenient. This just as my car approaches its fifth birthday with more than sixty-thousand miles on it. It’s entering middle-age, and it doesn’t seem inclined to do so gracefully.

It’s the brakes. Brakes are important, you know. Without them, I’ve gone through three pairs of shoes in the last month of having to stop by opening the door and dragging my feet on the pavement.

I took half a day off my first week at the new job so I could drop it off with people who I figured would be able to get rid of that high-pitched “xxllxlxlxxxllxllxlx” sound every time I applied the brakes. They did that. Then, a week later, the rear brakes started going “eeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeee” every time I stopped, like somebody blowing over the mouth of a half-empty beer bottle. I took the car back so they could fix that, which they did. Then, a few weeks ago, the front brakes started making this “runk-runk-runk-runk” noise. I would have brought it back in a lot sooner, but now that Trash and I don’t carpool any more, there wasn’t as much incentive. But it was even getting to me; now that I’m an MPR employee and feel obligated to listen to people having intelligent conversations in the car rather than that rock & roll stuff the kids are listening to, it was difficult to turn the radio up high enough to drown out the racket.

Finally I checked the warranty (twelve months/12,000 miles; whew) and brought it in again today. The thing is, I wanted to make sure they heard the “runk-runk” noise, which it only makes when the brakes are nice and warmed up. Maybe doing this on the morning after our first frost wasn’t the best timing on my part. For fifteen minutes I drove around the neighborhood, engineering a repetitively circuitous route that brought me to a stop sign at every corner (yes, you can do that around here. No wonder the home prices are so inflated). Then I brought it in and waited while they test-drove it and fixed it up.

No brake noises now, but it’s still early. I’ve only driven to work and back once. I’ll keep you posted, unless I forget, which would mean that it’s too boring to keep you posted on anyway.

Something not boring happened on the way home last night, though. I nearly flattened a cyclist. I was coming up to a stop sign—in a highly non-Janklovian manner, I hasten to point out—and this dude comes tearing around the corner straight at me. Head on, on the wrong side of the road. My foot was already on the brake pedal, so my tires chirped to a stop on the pavement immediately. But he was still coming, full throttle. He squeezed his brakes, which slowed him down only enough to give him time to steer around my now-stationary front bumper. Bonehead. I’m all for “sharing the road,” but “share” doesn’t mean “gimme.” If I hadn't been paying attention, that guy would have ended up in my lap. The last thing I need is to worry about some idiot in traction somewhere with the raised letters NRUTAS tattooed forcefully on his ass by contact with my car.

Also, it’s a lot more inconvenient to get my car fixed these days.

* * *

Hey, if you’re in the Twin Cities this weekend and you’re looking for something to do after you’re done listening to my radio show, come check out my next-door neighbors’ band here. And not just because I’m playing bass for them.

Today’s best search phrase: “Minnesota shit hurricane.” Okay, you know what? Some of the rap about Minnesota’s lousy weather is justified. But the weather here’s never gotten that bad.

posted by M. Giant 5:35 PM 0 comments


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