Several years ago, I had occasion to know this firsthand. I was driving an aging BMW 1600 up I-5, Seattle-bound, when copious smoke came out of the engine compartment. Engine on fire? I didn't know! Exited the nearest off-ramp and under the hood, I saw the problem: a leak off the oil pressure sensor. The oil was dropping on a hot exhaust manifold. Instant smoke and a lot of it.
My initial idea was to screw in the oil sensor tighter. The problem was I didn't have any tools.
I went to a nearby gas station, explained my problem and asked if they had a mechanic. They said the mechanic didn't work weekends, plus they didn't loan tools. They suggested I try someone else. As across the road, where I heard pretty much the same story, but that service station attendant added I couldn't park on their property, not if I'd be looking under the hood of my ailing car.
As you might guess, a tough spot. Halfway between Portland and Seattle in a two gas-station town and little else.
Then, of all things, I saw a hole-in-the-wall where they seemed to do nothing but repair Harleys. I went up to the owner and asked if I could borrow a tool, a wrench to tighten my oil sensor. (My Beemer fumed in the background.)
No doubt he'd seen it before. He brought out a crescent wrench and said, What you really need is piece of wood. Jam a stick in the hole.
What? Won't it catch fire?
Nope, doesn't get hot enough.
But I'm going to Seattle.
It'll be okay.
(As if I had any choice but to believe him.).
So I took out the oil sensor, left it dangling from its wire. Found a stick I whittled to fit in the gaping oil hole. Got it in tight and was on my way again.
If I ever harbored ill-will toward bikers, I had none after this experience.
Put it this way, you, too, could be stuck in some no-name town with a reluctant car. Your new friend might be the next biker you see..
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection, The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.
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9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
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8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
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5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:25:13 Moore's Law
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2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
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8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
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5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
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3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
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1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
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12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
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10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
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9:5:11 Death and the Penguin, a book review