the wrong side of the bed

Thursday, January 18, 2007

new mainstreet singers

okay, am i the only one on earth who is not just kinda sick, but actually really sick of sally field? because i am. i guess i got worn out after gidget. sure, i wanted her for my valentine then but stop making those sad eyes or talking really fast when you are angry or looking so shocked at something we all saw coming. just chill out.


sorry, that isn't really what i was going to write about. it just didn’t seem to warrant a post all of its own. anyway…

about a month ago, when careyoke was here, it actually got cold. cold enough to freeze. i was supposed to drive to one of my communities for work, and i pulled into a gas station before i got on the road because, well, my tank was pretty much totally empty. my gas tank has one of those little doors that you pop open with a lever on the floor by the driver’s side door. i lean over, yank, and … nothing. yeah. nothing. it doesn’t budge. okay, i pull it again with the same result. it is frozen. now, i am from texas and we don’t have cold, cold winters, so you might think this was some dumb problem that i have just yet to experience but that everyone goes through up here. thing is, i have lived through winter in madison before. i have lived through very, very cold winters. not only that, my car has lived through cold winters. and the gas tank door has always come open.

i drive to a different gas station because the one where i am doesn’t even have an inside, just a booth where you pay for gas and buy cigarettes. i try the lever again, but it still doesn’t work. i call jon all freaked out because i am supposed to be in lodi, wisconsin. i tell him that my gas tank is frozen closed. he says i should poor hot water on it. how? how do i do that? anyway, i get angry with him for offering me no good advice. i call my mom. she tells me to pry it open. i get mad at her for the same reason. my mom calls the toyota dealership in houston, but they don’t know what to say. she calls back. i kind of apologize. i decided to skip lodi and just go home.

i head down park street. my car sounds weird. i am terrified that i am going to run out of gas and have no way to add any. i glide into a midas station. i leave my car there because they are about to close for the night. i call tara or careyoke or jj, i can’t remember which, and they are all in the car together on their way to get dinner. so they save me and we get eats.

the next morning, i get my car. overnight in the garage, the cable thawed and the door could be opened. they tell me there was moisture on the line. they tell me they put silicon on it and that it shouldn’t happen any more. they put silicon on the cable running to the trunk, too, because the automatic trunk popping thing is frozen, too. they don’t charge me and i am happy and i go fill up my tank.

fast forward to this monday. i am on my way to columbus, wisconsin, where there is a christopher columbus museum because, you know, it is where his ship touched ground, and i stop to get gas. after a million days of warmth, it is finally cold enough to freeze. the door to my gas tank won’t open. i turn my heat up high and drive to sun prairie wisconsin. i figure if i get to sun prairie and am able to get gas, i will keep going. if i can’t open the tank, i will turn around and go home. the tank won’t open. i drive to jon’s house because he has a driveway. i drive with the heat on high. i check the lever at every stop light. it opens a block from his house. i fill up the tank. i close the door.

flash back to summer. did i forget to tell you that my car flooded?

flash forward from summer to this wednesday (i am getting kind of back to the future here and am about to marry my own mom). i am at the toyota dealership. they don’t understand what i am saying about the door not opening. a mechanic makes me pull the lever. nothing happens. he asks me to pull it again, i don’t know why. not surprisingly, it doesn’t open. he tugs on it. he gets some other guy to tug on it. they decide that they will leave it in their garage for 30-45 minutes until it thaws and then try to figure something out. i watch CNN in the customer lounge. i realize that the ice storms in texas are worse than i thought. i finally call my family. they are fine.

after 30-45 minutes my gas tank door could be opened. they decide that if they remove all of the ice from around the cable everything will be just fine. they say that if it isn’t i can order the part. they shut the door to the tank. i drive to work. by the evening, the cable is frozen again. i drive to cottage grove without issue. on the way home, i turn the heat up really, really high. i go to jon’s house because he still has a driveway. i leave my car idling in his drive way. after 10 minutes, i check to see if i can open the tank. no, but the lever to my trunk moves freely. wait! it moves freely because it is broken! most likely, it is completely disconnected from the cable! i curse but then shrug because i can still open the trunk with my key. i go back inside. jon drinks a beer. i ask about dinner (i love dinner). 10 minutes later, i check and the lever can finally move. the door eases open. i leave it open, turn off my car, go inside jon’s apartment, and complain about wanting dinner. we decide to cook something at my house and head over there without stopping for gas. i park on the street by my apartment. it is silly, i know, but i am worried about leaving the door open. not because i think someone is going to siphon gas, but because i think someone will walk by and close it. i would because i would assume that the owner of the car forgot or pulled the wrong lever or something. i try to figure out a way for the door to sort of close but not all the way close. i push and poke the door a few times. i realize that i have actually closed the door. i worry for a second until i realize that the door hasn’t stayed closed. why? because now it is broken in the open position. i don’t laugh.

if you want to siphon gas from my car, you know where i live.

where i don’t live, though, are any number of small towns to which i have to travel. lodi (population 2,929), marshall (population 3,432), waterloo (population 3,259), cambridge (population 1,227), deerfield (population 1,971), columbus (population 4,479), and fall river (population (1,097).

do you know what is different about these towns as compared to my “hometown”? main street. there is no main street where i am from, despite the fact that it is a real hometown. do you know what is the same if you compare madison with the smaller towns? main street. do you know what is different about these main streets? in small towns, main street is in fact the main street. in madison, it is kind of unassuming. i am easily able to forget it exists. i crossed it today. i cross it whenever i go to jon’s to let my car idle with the heat on. today i remembered to notice that it was main street. i guess main street goes to the capital, but it is not a street i would ever take to the capital. state street for sure. definitely the wash. not main street.

small towns, like my car and sally field, don’t make much sense to me.

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9:35 PM

7 Comments:

OMG about the saga of your car! Jeesh!
Blogger careyoke, at 7:44 AM  
I had the same problem in Madison. It totally freaked me out the first time. But then I just started carrying a screwdriver in my car and used it to pry the door open. If yours is stuck open, you just need to bend the little hook inside a little bit so it holds it shut. It's easy. I got good at all this stuff.

Or you could be like Mary and carry a creme brulee torch in your car for heating up the gas cover.
Blogger Gwen, at 10:56 AM  
i don't think what was wrong with your car is exactly what is wrong with mine. well, it is definitely not what was wrong with mary's because it has nothing to do with the door part of the tank. it has to do with the cable. heating up the door wouldn't do anything.

i could probably bend the tab so that i can smoosh it closed and then pry it open when i need gas, but i might want to sell my car in the future.
Blogger dorotha, at 11:03 AM  
Um, isn't putting the open flame of a creme brulee torch anywhere near the gas tank probably a bad idea? Even if the door is closed, you're still talking about an OPEN FLAME and GASOLINE.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:10 PM  
I didn't say it was a good idea, I just said she did it. And it worked. And she's still alive.
Blogger Gwen, at 11:06 AM  
And I think mine was the cable, too--I would pull the handle thing inside my car, and it would move, but nothing would happen outside. And then eventually it just got stuck in the "up" position. I discovered that if I pulled on it while AT THE SAME TIME using a key or something to pull on the door, that seemed to do something and then the door would open. So I would put my purse strap around the handle, stand outside with my key just barely wedged in around the door, and then use one hand to pull on my purse so the strap pulled up on the handle while gently applying pressure to the door with the key, and it would open.

I looked ridiculous doing it, though.
Blogger Gwen, at 11:09 AM  
i SWEAR that my problem is different, gwen. but, it doesn't really matter any more because my door is totally broken at this point.
Blogger dorotha, at 11:25 AM  

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