Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Epic Run of the Engine From '97 (1/2)

Jan. 2012

It's not starting. And usually I'd say it's better that way, but having a hankering for near-death circumstance, danger, and disaster I'm finding it irresistable to gamble the voyage vs. the tow bill. Honda's in a dark place, but if I'm able to drive it 30 miles outside of town it will be in the best hands it has ever been held in. So now, as I sit in Honda at the bottom of a hill looking out to farm upon farm, it is not starting... I am sitting in a street illegal vehicle, the temperature is dropping below zero, the sun is setting, and it's not starting. Check your watch as the clock spins backwards... to how this all started.

John from the Garage of God has been taking care of Honda for the past several days. However, what he doesn't understand is that he's been sitting a legendary piece of metal that is either going to change the game or become the final strike that sends me from riding the fence into a base-jump-plummiting free fall towards certain death & outlawed lifestyle. Bah, was already living an outlawed lifestyle before Honda wound up in John's Garage, but there was a more open chance- a more open chance towards surfacing out of all the circle running and cold weather towards a means of efficient progress in life- y'know? I've always been in the process of getting somewhere, and even in the worst moments when I've felt that I was absolutely getting nowhere somehow still turned out to be the most productive times ever. Just when you thought you were going backwards, you look up at the scoreboard and notice your ahead by several possessions. All the doubt and down-and-out thinking never bore a truth. But, and a very big "but", now is different. No mistake can be made that if Honda and I don't make it out of this one, we will both truely be (as they say) fucked.

There's no sugar-coating it, if Honda is able to start then it will have to make it from Minneapolis to Carver County... today. A piece of me wants Honda to die right here, never start again and wait for the $175 it'll take for a tow to move it to Carver County... but we both know that won't happen. At John's Garage of God, there is no such thing as death. John recissitates the mechanically failed to lives of miraculous maneuvering machines their owners never thought could exist again.

"So I tell'em you can't put beams up there, you gotta put pillars in the got damn building to keep that ceilling up! The beams are gonna destroy the got damn cement! So, two lawyers, one contractor, and three latinos later they figure out what I'd been tellin'em from the start and they- Oh hey, be with you in a sec", John turns to me to interrupt his phone call. It smells of oil, gas, and dirt in the Garage. I step outside to view Honda in the lot where a gentlemen, one of John's mechanics, meets me with the key. He speaks very little English, but enough to guide me through what needs to be done to get it going.

I turn the key...
"REEEE REEEEEEEE REEEEEeeeeeeoooouuu...", it doesn't start.

"Ok ok ok, wate wate". John's mechanic removes a filter, grabs a spray can of some kind of chemical engine starter, and sprays it down the tube that held the filter. "Ok ok, goe!" he says.
"REEEEEEEEOOOOoooo REEEEEEEAAAAAOOOoooo...", still no start from the engine with 1 of 4 cylinders pumping.

"Shit!", he shouted. "Ok ok, wate". He sprays the can again, and reaches deep into the left side of the hood as if to massage the heart of the beast back to life. I presumed the spray can to be some sort of last ditch effort to revive the undead, a final stand like shocking yourself back to life in Left 4 Dead. There's no long term future in it for anyone, but you reach as hard and high as you can for just a handful of short-lived seconds on earth before unveiling the mystery of the hereafter. This mechanic is reaching for it, reaching somewhere in the underbelly of the failing Honda- "OK GO!"

"REEEEEEEeeeeooooo PAH PAH PAH PAH PAH PAH VROOOOOOM!", she starts. Honda slows to a putter, that of a ticking death clock that's just begun it's course. There is no stopping it, there is no turning back, the run must begin... however there's one catch... "Don't tern et off!", yells the mechanic. To communicate my understanding to him, I nod my head with a nervous look as if taking off into a WWII dog fight via fighter plane.

"Don't tern et off!"... echoes in my head as I barrel down Nicollet Ave. Glancing in the rearview mirror I search for any nearby police cars. My heart is beating like a prison escapist- overjoyed at the basics of mobility having been caged for God knows how long, but petrified to near cardiac arrest suffocating in paranoia of being caged again. This time, the cage will be different... very different. Honda's registration was revoked a week ago for an overdue ticket I received several months ago. Having called the Dept. of Public Safety in St. Paul to resolve the matter, I was told to fax them my car insurance information. After faxing them the information and paying the ticket, I called them again to make sure they received everything. No dice, no dial tone, no nothing. Before arriving to work, during my lunch break, during work I've tried calling the Dept. of Public Safety back and haven't gotten anything more than a busy tone. Phone's off the hook or the damn building shut down the day after I was able to get a hold of them. So, for the moment I hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Luck in relation to cars has never swung my way so assuming the vehicle's illegal is the safest bet I can make. The first time I was pulled over by a cop, I was taken out of the car, frisked up & down, my car was searched, and I sat in the back of a squad car for 30 minutes. I was 17 years old at the time. When the officer returned, after finding nothing but my mother's belongings in the vehicle, he wrote me a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. Hell, I thought it was standard procedure to seat someone in the back of a squad car, but after tellling my mother, she became outraged... at the cops. Since then, I've never really gotten into a bond of solid trust for the motives and intent of police officers, would have that trust broken down the road, and in the end would lead to now: animosity, a fear of being arrested for nothing more than an officer's personal hang-ups, and a wanting to spit on the hood of every cop car for the ever widening gap of disparity between people of color and white people in the eyes of the law (Minneapolis is #2 in country for racial disparity, and in short: black people are pulled over 3.5 times more than white people, and are also pulled over 250% more than expected in Minnesota.) Whatever the case may be, Honda and I are more than worthy of being pulled over; Honda being towed to the scrap heap, and me being fined 'til 2020.

Now, with the tank on a tenth of gas left, me having to get to the bathroom (say "TMI" here) before making a 30 minute voyage, and the sunlight quickly fading I was beginning to get nervous. I'd never filled a tank of gas while the car was running, but I couldn't shut it down. The only chance I had of making it to Carver County was with the engine running without break... and evading the cops.

to be continued... 

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