I was driving home one night, about 11, NPR cranked up, when I realized that there was something wrong with the truck, some kind of flapping noise. At that exact moment, a doe walked out in front of me. Deer are fucking stupid that way. They’ll just amble along into the road right in front of a truck. So, I navigated around the doe in such a way as to not destroy the front of my truck or have to find somebody to eat a bunch of venison, turned off the radio and the flapping sound was gone. I was at the top of the last hill, so I just coasted down and into the driveway. I knew something was wrong, but not what.
A flashlight inspection revealed that the serpentine belt was off. Flapping explained. During the next couple days, I replaced the belt, which wanted replacing anyway, and looked the engine over. I was out of water and the oil was inexplicably low. I concluded that I’d blown the head gasket. A blown head gasket is every bit as bad as it sounds. You’re pretty much replacing the engine at that point.
I walked away from the truck and tried not to think about it much. I had every intention of fixing the fucker, but my shoulder was hurting and there were other things to think about and I didn’t have the money or the technical know-how or the time and August crept into September. Occasionally, someone would ask me about the truck and I’d mumble something about not getting around to that yet.
Eventually, my housemate started making noise about the truck sitting in the circle-driveway. Something about moving it so we could use the circle as God intended. Last Sunday, which Angus MacLise named “Lion of the Virgin”, I wandered out to the truck to see about moving it out of the way. I put some oil in and didn’t see any leakage so I filled the radiator and backed it up the hil to an outta-the-way spot. I figured I might as well look under the hood and when I did, I saw water spewing out from behind the fan. Yet the oil was holding. I decided that my initial ignorant diagnosis might’ve been wrong, made more coffee and dug out my ratchet set. Actually, I had to borrow wrenches from the housemate.
If I had woken up Sunday and decided to remove the water pump from the truck and get a replacement, I would’ve found a dozen other more interesting things to do. But I didn’t decide to do that – I just kept fucking around with the truck and thinking “Well, I did that; I might as well do this”, and in the end I had removed the water pump and gotten a replacement. I had to make a second run to AutoZone for sealer and by then I was tired of it so I stopped.
I was surprised to notice at the end of Sunday that I had no shoulder or back pain. It felt great. The absence of pain is amazing and we should appreciate it more.
Monday, feeling filled with vim and vigor, I installed the new water pump, took a break for the sealer to set and for me to pray, and then started the truck. Everything seemed to hold. I took a test drive, parked for a bit and found no puddles of steaming fluids under the engine, so it appeared that I did the job right. I’ve been driving the truck regularly since and everything is at it should be, including my shoulder.
I talked with my body work guy, told him how fixing the truck had somehow fixed my shoulder. We talked about the connections we have with our trucks, how much we rely on them, how stressful it can be to live out in the country and depend on aging vehicles which have their own fallible bodies. We arrived at a wondering agreement that the truck being broken down had contributed to the tension in my back which had caused my muscles to hold on to the spider toxin.
During the time the truck was down, I was trying to schedule a meeting with an ex-girlfriend. I needed to apologize for some of my behaviors during our relationship and break-up. We were able to get together, discuss the things that happened between us and resolve what needed resolution. There was also a thing that I had to do to move forward in my quest to become one of the worker-owners in the little collectively-owned restaurant where I work which was causing me some stress. I figured out how to proceed with that and I’m now doing the work that needs doing. These are examples of other blockages I had going on, things that were stuck.
So, I’m great. Feeling good, riding high. Blockages and tangles have loosened and my general chi is flowing freely. Something interconnectedness. All things are interconnected. Uh, fuck, right now I’m being distracted. I’m finishing this at the restaurant where I work and someone is playing The Bird And The Bee’s album of Hall and Oates covers. The Bird And The Bee are everything I hate about modern popular music in one two-headed package. And they’re covering Hall and Oates, who were everything I hated about modern popular music in one two-headed package twenty years ago. This is the fucking worst music I ever fucking heard. This the kind of shit that makes me wish Jesus would come back with a flaming sword and destroy the world. Or that Ragnarok would happen. Something – anything. A society that produces The Bird And The Bee covering Hall and Oates is one that should be nuked. If I thought they’d give me a rocket-launcher and the home addresses of the members of The Bird And The Bee, I’d join ISIS or ISIL or whatever they are. I also hate Tegan And Sarah, but they’re not playing right now so I hate this shit more.