Sunday, February 15, 2004

Aaaaargh, Part 3

So, I went out this morning to get a look at my car in the daylight, and I could see that there was a big scratch on the wheel cover (or whatever you call that round plastic thing), and that it had pulled away from the rim a little bit in one spot. "Aha," I said to myself. "That's got to be the cause of the problem, all right. I did knock something out of alignment when I hit the curb. Oh, well, that actually seems like good news. At least I'm pretty sure it's not the transmission." And I proceeded to drive to work.

On the way to work, I found myself thinking, "Hmm, is that pulsing getting worse? Is there more vibration now than there was?" Even as I was sitting at a stop sign pondering this, I suddenly heard a "clunk!" A very not-good-sounding kind of "clunk." I rolled down my window. More "clunk." I started to pull forward from the stop sign, and, oh, yes, something was clearly very definitely wrong. I got the vehicle over onto the shoulder, got out, and looked.

The relevant tire was completely flat and had fallen off the rim and was dangling around the axle. I sincerely doubt this is any kind of coincidence.

Aaaargh! There's clearly no way I can drive this car up to Los Lunas tomorrow. I'm going to have to call my insurance agent, call the mechanic, call the car rental place... Then I'm gonna have to call the mechanic here in town, call a tow truck (because, yeah, maybe I could get a spare tire onto that rim or something, but that doesn't quite seem like the world's safest and sanest idea to me). Actually, I'm not even sure whether my insurance agent or my local mechanic will even be around tomorrow. And, of course, I'm working morning shift all this week, so taking time other than the couple of hours I'd arranged tomorrow to get the damned car in is going to be a tiny bit problematic.

Insult to injury? Now I'm going to have to walk home this evening. And, like an idiot, I didn't even bring a coat.

Oh, and, just for the record, things didn't get any better once I got to work. Apparently the air-conditioning system failed yesterday -- Yes, that's right, the air-conditioning. Ironic, isn't it? -- and the multi-million-dollar computer it's my job to babysit overheated and shut itself down. And all my magnetic tape drives with the tapes I'd left carefully pre-positioned on Friday had been shut off because they were putting out too much heat. Which meant I had to unload and reload 'em all, because the drives had forgotten all the tape footages when they were turned off. Which wouldn't have been a big deal, except that when I tried to reload one of 'em, the drive freaked out and snapped the tape in two. So I spliced it -- not my favorite thing in the world to do, largely because I suck at it -- and went to stick it back on the drive. At which point I realized something that should have been immediately obvious: this tape was really messed up. It wasn't even hanging off the reel the right way. Damned if I could figure out where the twist or the fold or whatever was, though. I thought about trying to fix it myself, decided, screw it, it'd take me forever and I'd probably mess it up anyway, and left it with a note for the guy whose job it actually is to fix stuff like that. Who, of course, won't be in until Tuesday. Oh, and that, of course, meant that I couldn't finish the project I was in the middle of, which meant that I had to take down all the tapes from it and hang new ones... And, meanwhile, I was running the standard self-diagnostic test that's supposed to be done every shift change to make sure the system is running right. Which, needless to say, it wasn't, and I had to spend several minutes applying my somewhat rusty diagnostic skills figuring out what was wrong with the damned thing so I could tell it not to use the bad components... I only hope I got it right, because my brain is so frazzled at the moment I'm lucky I can remember my own name.

Ever have days when you just wanted to scream?

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