More Mysterious Luck (Good and Bad)

The Dark and the Light

NEWPORT NEWS, VA–As I was sitting at a light yesterday, a guy jumps out of his car, runs over to me and says, “Hey, you’re truck’s spraying diesel from your engine!” (Bad Luck).

Sure enough, there was this huge hole in my engine shooting diesel fuel all over the place.

Actually, it was just a little hole where a bolt fell out, but in the middle of traffic with a heat index of 120, your mind pictures all these worst case scenarios and holes where they shouldn’t be just look bigger.

More below the break. (What does “below the break” mean?)
I pull off the road at the first spot I could, an Enterprise rental car lot (Good Luck). I shut the engine off and try to figure out what part fell out of that hole.

Two minutes later, a fire truck with it’s siren going and a squad of police cars box me in (really). Apparently someone had called the police on this big dark truck spewing diesel gas with a–go ahead and say it Doug–a guy who looks guilty of something. (Bad Luck).

After I explain my situation, the firemen just threw down some cat litter to cover the mess I’d made and offered to call me a tow truck. The police just nodded and went on their way, so I didn’t go to jail or anything. (Good Luck).

I got on the phone and called a bunch of places to see if they had a fuel primer plunger (which is what I thought had fallen out because I had used this two weeks earlier when I drained the water from the lines (preventative maintenance)).

No one had the part, but when I offered this one guy $100 to find me that part today, he found it like two minutes later. (Good Luck).

I walked into Enterprise to rent a car (figuring it would be cheaper than a taxi since I’d have to go quite a ways), and she wanted a credit card or proof or employment (which I have neither since I pay for everything in cash or with a debit card). (Bad Luck).

But then I see I had this PayPal Visa card sitting in my wallet which I’ve never used (and I was surprised it was even in there) and I showed that to her and suddenly I’m Mr. Normal Consumer Man and I drive off in a rental car to pick up my part. (Good Luck).

I get there and he gives me the part but it looks too big (Bad Luck). Then he shows me a diagram and I said, I think that’s the part (always, always, always take a picture of the problem Wirs!). So he gives me the other part, and even an extra one that might be it (the $100 went a long way). (Good Luck).

It took three hours to get back to the truck because of some accidents right before the (practically) only way out of Norfolk and none of the three parts is what I need (Awful Luck).

Then I pull out the owners manual, look at the section when you prime the fuel line and sure enough it isn’t the primer, but the bleeder bolt that is missing. (Stupid, stupid, stupid).

Since the parts place is closed now for the weekend (these things always happen on Friday afternoons) (Bad Luck), I run to Home Depot to see if I can find a replacement bolt, but it appears the hole is tapered. (More Bad Luck)

I was able to get the truck started though with one of the bolts lightly screwed in (I didn’t want to damage the threads), and limped across the street to an out of business restaurant (Good Luck for me, not so much for the restaurant). Now I won’t be taking up space in the rental car lot. (Good Luck).

So it looks like it’ll be Monday before I can try to swap my three wrong parts for the bleeder bolt. Hopefully it won’t cost me another $100.

End Note:

Ironically, once the initial shock wore off, I felt quite detached from all the ups and downs. My mind would try to figure things out, would try to worry about all the worst case scenarios, but as soon as I’d see it doing these things, I’d just step back and look around and see that Wayne Wirs isn’t here (the personal self), nothing is going wrong (mental noise), and I’m just sitting in a car listening to the radio.

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8 thoughts on “More Mysterious Luck (Good and Bad)

  1. Heh – so *that’s* what was the problem! I figured you’d blog this after accidentally calling home (and me calling you back to find out if I needed to make another road trip); I’ll tell Mom to read this too.

    Maybe someone needs your wisdom up there still? After all — *no* such thing as coincidence. 😉

    Besides, at least you learned something….. *G, D, RLH at W13*

  2. reminds me of that great zen story about a man who’s son brings home a horse…good luck (maybe so), then falls off horse and breaks his leg, bad luck (maybe so), then avoids getting drafted because he had a broken leg, good luck (maybe so)…and it goes on and on, alternating in others making perceptual judgements while the man just says “maybe so” standing in the equaniminty of non-judgemental witnessing.

  3. Oh, for crying out loud! I am sitting here with my Sunday coffee, which is getting spewed every which way because I can’t stop laughing. (Good Luck). Sorry, this is just so typical, I mean, seriously… It always gets to the point when one might think: “Oh, for goodness’ sake, how much more of this can one take?” And then it turns out, that one is actually quite capable to take all this and come out of it winning, especially when one manages to take it on the way you do. (More Good Luck). I am sorry to read that you are being a ping pong ball and Good Luck and Bad Luck are whacking you from side to side, but I have my bets on the good old GL and that’s how I am closing this message because I need another cup of coffee. 😉
    Hang in there and love always,

  4. You are lucky that it was diesel since the flash point is quite a bit higher than ambient temperature. If it were gasoline, you would likely have had a fire on your hands. You know how I know that? My van had a gas leak and within seconds of starting the engine, went up in flames. And what didn’t get destroyed by the fire got water damaged by the fire department! It was a total loss. It is amazing how fast fire can sweep through a vehicle as you stand there and wait for the fire truck. And my fire extinguisher didn’t help because I couldn’t get the engine compartment open due to the flames. So I am now in the process of building a diesel powered van too…

  5. Glad it was something simple, even if it was in the same category as “Unobtanium” on a Friday afternoon. The narrative made me think of the book I just finished by Robert Heinlein titled, “Job – a comedy of justice.”

  6. I agree with Scully. It’s all experience, it’s all good ! Ya gotta laugh.. !
    Most of all , glad you and the stealth vehicle are still here! Thanks !

  7. Wow, you sound very “Power of Now.” I just listened to the audiobook and it’s quite an interesting concept. So simple yet so difficult to really achieve.

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