Sunday, December 03, 2006

Outcomes Without Surprises

I wonder why it didn't surprise me. A light breeze blew across the crepuscular parking lot, against which the forlorn silhouette of the Disreputable Heap stood, nearly alone. Like the other vehicles, daylight had slipped away hours ago; immobile but uncomplaining, a crushed beercan of uncertain vintage (but with wheels) awaited a journey of some distance into the darkness. Slinging my sack of notebooks into cab, I made ready to depart. I routinely anticipate dementia, and so check down a list of pre-conditions before embarking on long journeys. Not far into the preflight, I noticed that the clutch wouldn't be joining us for the trip this evening; once depressed, the clutch pedal sank to the firewall: No clutch pedal, no disengagement of the clutch (unfortunately, a routine activity as one traverses the range of gears of a manual transmission). Hmm, alrighty then, let's go down the list of options, in the event of dysfunctional clutches, after dark, miles from home... Right, let's drive without the clutch, and see how that goes. Should be able to determine feasibility, before the streetlights end.

The truck didn't like it much, the few other motorists were confused by it, I wasn't thrilled with it, but like anything else, you just have to get the hang of it. The longest route home also had the fewest traffic lights and motorists, toll booths are good places to convince the !@$^% transmission to get back in gear. Piece of cake: tug the shifter down into neutral, shut the engine off, slide it down into second gear, set down your road mug, restart the engine (in gear). If you don't gut the engine, the reward is a few seconds of abrupt acceleration during which to find third gear...

That's right. Kludge. Got any problems with that?

It didn't even take that long, before the streetlights of home put an end to the lunacy. The main unbroken stretch of the journey seemed uneventful, but somewhere near the end of the 60-odd miles, my labors paid a dividend of sorts. Soon after picking up my toll ticket (and another jackrabbit launch), I was able to coax the clutch pedal from the floorboard. It took nearly an hour, but after working the pedal back and forth with my left foot, I was able to pump some pressure back into the hydraulics, enough to navigate the local streets without restarting the engine. Better yet, because the clutch wasn't fully disengaging anyway, it gave me something to do to break the monotony of driving. I'd give it about a nine out of ten, on the ol' Duress-O-Meter scale, but an ugly win is still a win.


Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

That was an awesome story! At times like that you need the fake nose and moustache disguise. See what the power of positive thinking can do..Norman Vincent Peale would be sooo proud of you...and so am I.
A winner never quits.
Now can I play you some Beach Boys..
First's all right,
Second gear ..outta sight...

1:29 PM PST  
Blogger Perspective Inc. said...

loved the post!

2:48 PM PST  
Blogger grumblefish said...

Howdy folks-

hEscapeons: Despite transfinite travel times, I rarely succumb to the primitive urge to Peale out, though I have occasionally come out
to find the Disreputable Heap, enjoying a post-drive Lucky.

Howdy pInc: Welcome! I'm glad you stopped by, doubly so for your
lovely comment. Don't be a stranger!

6:47 PM PST  
Blogger JadedTLC said...

I've missed you as well. I'm going to write this weekend. Something hearty and basted in ham glaze? Perhaps.

Hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving!

8:19 PM PST  
Blogger {illyria} said...

like you're successful in the rat race, but you're still a rat.

8:33 PM PST  
Blogger grumblefish said...

Howdy folks-

jTLC: Glad you swung by. Sounds like tasty treats await, whichever way one turns.

{illyria}: Yep, that pretty much puts the tin hat on it, as the door behind closes. A bit better with a lasso than I once was, now
I can focus on getting a horse.

1:31 PM PST  

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