Old Faithful

I have one and only one criteria commandment for a car:

Thou shalt never ever break down.

In this respect, my little old car has earned my love many times over.  It doesn’t have a key clicky thing or simultaneous interior/exterior climate control (the inside can be heated OR the windows can be defogged, but not both), but this car has never ever broken down.

Ne’er been I stranded on the street.  Nor been abandoned to my feet.  Not in a house, not with a mouse.  Not here or there – not ANYWHERE!

Old Faithful I am.

Since moving to the bigger city, I’ve been (fortunately) able to switch to walking as my primary mode of transportation.  Meanwhile Old Faithful sits… day in and day out, steadfast and true, waiting for the bat signal that will inevitably come.

That’s ok.  I’ll be here, resting my weary bones.

One such bat signal came about five weeks ago, when I was headed to my first ever guitar lesson.  I had planned to walk, but with my shower running long (desperately need some sort of shower egg timer) and 15 minutes to go, it was time to call in the cavalry and get the job done.  I turn on the car… and am immediately heralded by a something akin to a lawnmower running over concrete.  Uh-oh.

After rebooting a few times (all things are computers to me) I realize that I have been abandoned to my feet! And I take off running.  13 minutes to go, 1.3 miles.

So off I go, street shoes, jeans, sweater, wool coat, bolting across Fisherman’s Wharf, over to the beach, up through the park, dodging my way through sidewalks full of strolling tourists on foot and biking tourists on bikes.  Sweat mixing with shower drench and a fresh layer of moisturizer to create an awesome goulash on my face.

I manage to get there only 4 minutes late (and earlier than the teacher), thankful that a long last my running habit has paid off in a practical sort of way.


Why, Old Faithful, whyyyy?  Working beautifully one day and exploding the next?  And in a time of great need, no less?  I’d always assumed you would age gradually and gracefully before the end.  That I’d have time to patch you up and find you a new loving home where the car commandments are more agreeable to your life situation.  I expected some warning!

I mean, I’ve never had to take you in for anything, except for that one time waay back when you sounded like a lawnmower running over concrete.  But that time it wasn’t even your fault because the bad people had tried to take your catalytic converter!



A catalytic converter sits between the engine and the muffler, depoluting the air.  So when it’s missing, there is no muffling, and you fail your emissions test.  It’s also full of platinum and other precious metals, so melted down, it’s worth some non-zero amount of money.  Lame.

And so we began the long drive of shame to the muffler shop, turning heads and scaring children and wild animals everywhere we went.

Are you the little guy making all that big noise?

Last time (in Seattle) the bandits only got through 90% of the connecting pipe, so with a little welding you were as good as new.  This time (in San Francisco) they snatched the whole enchilada.

Last time (in Seattle) the mechanic said: “Where do you live???  I gotta make sure not to go there.”  This time (in San Francisco) the mechanic said: “Ah, got your catalytic coverter, eh?  Yep.”

Old Faithful, you have stout and loyal heart.  I know now that you won’t let me down.  I brought you to the big bad city and parked you on the street.  It is I who let you down.  Pray good sir, do not take vengeance!

One Thought on “Old Faithful

  1. I hope it keeps running for a long time!

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