Thursday, June 2, 2016

I'm Mad at My Porsche

What's with this snivelling car? Nobody has been able to diagnose those eccentric, squirking, complaining noises coming from the engine (maybe), so do I drive it? Is it going to blow up in the middle of nowhere, where there is no cell phone coverage? Will they have to tow it away, leaving an oil puddle on the side of the road - that I will have to summon a HazMat team to clean up?  

And, the above mentioned noises can only be heard inside of the car, not in the engine compartment or elsewhere. Plus, I hear the perplexing noise only at idle, because more revs means more general racket and that drowns out the peculiar noise in question. Depressing the clutch pedal doesn't change anything, either. Oh, and when I start the car, the noises only begin some seconds after the engine has been running.

At the moment I just keep driving it, with the hope that it continues running until I come upon some genius who will recognize the issue. Then I'll fix it, I hope. Or, I'll learn that it is quite normal.

The fact is that a car of this vintage is similar to a person of a comparable vintage. At a certain point various joints start to go wonky, systems get confused, wrinkles develop, things corrode, hair and sheet metal get thin, the car gets a bellyache - which gives you one, too. The list goes on, although a car can be totally restored, whereas a person can only get patched up and injected with sundry chemicals to extend their usefulness, at best. The car can live forever if given enough loving care over time, but I don't think that my personal prospects are as optimistic as this; I'm mortal.

Then, if I'm mortal why is it so bad if the car is, too? Should I be ashamed of getting older? No, I should be happy that I still survive and can run around doing things. The car should also be happy for every new day it sees. Nobody expects a guy to run the 100 meter dash in under 10 seconds when they are in their eighth decade, so why expect a car that's closing in on becoming a half-century old to run as if it were brand new? It doesn't make sense to demand this of an elderly car, unless you completely deny reality, or pour an amount of money into the ancient thing that suggests that you are remarkably unhinged about having it run flawlessly.

A cliché that I mention too often about my car is that it makes so much noise inside that it causes me to think that I'm going very fast, when actually nobody else, outside, notices such performance. In truth, I insist that this is a proper safety feature. I can be satisfied thinking that I'm flying along, even while school buses pass me by. Full disclosure: I wear ear plugs to counter this effect. Possibly this is misleading me.

Therefore, worrying a bit about the likelihood of getting somewhere in my car, in a predictable fashion, is normal. This is just like me intending to climb onto my house's roof to inspect the chimney - maybe I should worry a bit. I'll probably manage to get up there, but then I might wind up in an unexpected location altogether, such as a shrubbery. If the wrong thing happens to either my car or to me it will unfortunately be essential to call a tow truck(s) of some sort. There is a fire extinguisher in my car, and I always carry a cell phone while driving it; I do less for myself. This suggests that I have inadequate faith in my car. Sorry about that.

For all I know, the exotic, mystery noise that my car currently makes is original to it. In that case, something I recently did to the car restored it, but unintentionally. That's a long-shot, though, since nobody at all recognizes the sound, and it is utterly peculiar. I wish I could add a sound bite to this post, but at the moment I don't have the means to do it properly.

I'm not saying that I have a bad car. I don't. It's a gorgeous car that turns heads, causes people to wave from their front yards, makes nine-year-old boys call out, "cool car!", as I inch through traffic - even though they have to wait with their bikes as I squeeze past, plus all of the usual little old ladies and other characters commenting and questioning at the gas station, etc. Heck, I get accosted all of the time wherever I go. Nobody knows that it is making what I think is a funny noise, and certainly none of them care. And, going back and forth over the U.S. and Canadian borders is a bit smoother, too. No insidious crook goes over the border in a car that calls attention to itself. Those characters want to look as average as possible; this car ain't it.

Plus my car runs fine, for an old Porsche, which is to say better than most other cars on the road, of any age. I'm super fussy, that's all.

Okay, I'll take a deep breath now and relax a bit, and I will push the earplugs deeper into my head. Problem solved. 

Up in the air and in the dark. Something seems to have happened since writing this post. Check back.

August 12 update: The details of the scene above will follow soon. The engine is coming out, then exploratory surgery. Followed by getting it fully healthy once more.


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