Thursday, December 15, 2011


[Here's Part 1 of The Plattsburgh Saga.
Here's Part 2.
Here's Part 3.
This is Part 4.]

The above, in case you were wondering, was mine and my dad's approximate route. "A" is where I live. "B" is Plattsburgh, where the garage was (see how close to Canada!). "C" is Lake Placid, where we had to return the rental car. "D" is Ludlow, where the car broke down. See how not close to "A" it is?

Anyway, back to our story...

Obviously, I called AAA and sent my dad to a sandwich shop to get us some dinner, and then called about half a dozen friends to explain how this thing that could not have happened had, in fact, happened. While I waited, Lee called. Yup.

"Hey, I just wanted to be sure you got home OK," he said.
"You have got some bad timing, buddy," I said.

Eventually, the tow truck came. Here is the difference between Lee (or me, for that matter) and someone who knows something about cars: This guy asked if my car would drive in any other gear. I had no idea. I'd only tried it in drive. Turns out, in second, it worked just fine, and just think how much easier that made hooking it up to the (completely real) tow truck this time. Wonder if that might have worked the first time. I guess we'll never know.

I got home, eventually, thanks to a long drive and a shortish walk. My father and I parted ways, and in the morning, the garage I like here in town checked out my car. The problem was definitely the transmission, they told me, and they don't do transmissions, so they referred me back to the person I'd called a now more than a week before. He was glad to take my car, but it'd be a while before he could get to it now, because he was backed up. I drove my car on over (in second) and expected to be carless for about a week and a half.

A week or so later, I got a call from the local transmission guy. My car was ready! The work had actually been excellent on my car! The problem was an issue with a part! I could come get it immediately!

Which, obviously, I did. And in my conversations with the local transmission guy, he wanted to be very careful to emphasize what a good job the guys in Plattsburgh had done. Top-notch work, the likes of which he'd rarely seen. They had not ripped me off. If I'd left with any bad feelings, I might want to call and let them know I knew how great they were.

I told him I thought I'd been pretty even-tempered, but I was sure they felt bad that I'd broken down three-quarters of the way home, so maybe I'd call anyway. He said he thought John did feel bad about that.

"John?" I said. "Was he the guy who actually did the work on my car?"
"Oh," I said. "I only ever talked to the shop manager."
"Oh," said the local transmission guy, in the same mild, even tone he'd been using. "Since you were up there, he cleaned them out and left town."
"Since I was there?" I said. "I just left a week ago."

Day 30 of my month of gratitude: I am thankful that my car goes like a breeze again. And I am thankful for confirmation of what I am trying harder to believe: Gut feelings are to be trusted.


Joe said...

I honestly don't know what else to say after reading about that whole ordeal.
Wow. Kudos to you for taking some positive things out of it, CMC.

bzzzzgrrrl said...


And thanks for the kudos, Joe, but you will notice it took me a LONG time to finish that story. That would be largely because I was feeling a little short on gratitude. The gifts of that story have only become clear through a whole bunch of retellings.

Amanda said...


Jae Gunderson said...

You're so fortunate that they referred a trustworthy transmission guy! Another plus factor is that the gears needed for the repair was not that hard to find within your local. Some transmission model parts are hard to find, and a little pricy too. By the way, is your car’s transmission automatic or manual?

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Automatic. The car is a 1990 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight. With which I am in love. I was fortunate, indeed — he is not only trustworthy, he's also apparently the only local guy who does transmissions, so if he'd been UNtrustworthy, I'd have had to use him anyway.

In case you missed it, here's an update to the story.