Visit on Facebook Visit on Linked In Follow on Twitter


I Sure Didn’t Want to Drive a Car With a Wail

     Okay, okay. I give up. I just got rid of the ghost in the garage that kept taking the air out of my left front tire at odd intervals when, suddenly my car lets out a high screeching wail from somewhere under the hood. It was idling at the time – apparently it got bored. I got out of there as fast as I could because it’s embarrassing when your car makes obscene noises in front of your dad, who’s just trusted you with his life for the past eight miles.

     That car wailed on the way home from my dad’s house, but not as loudly, and by the time I got home, it stopped altogether. The next morning the engine purred when I started it up. I drove down the driveway, around the corner and pulled up at the stop sign before it wailed again. Softly, then louder. Then it stopped. Then it started – almost.

     I had plans to drive to Tucson the next week and I sure didn’t want to drive a car with a wail. Plus I didn’t think my friend who’s never ridden with me before would appreciate riding hundreds of miles through the desert with a wailing banshee under the hood. It’s hard to talk, too, with all that wailing.

     ’Course the thing to do is to take the car down to the mechanic and he fixes it and you pull out your little rectangle of plastic and you’re done until the credit card bill comes in. That works fine if your car cooperates and makes the noise you’ve been hearing when you show it to the mechanic.

     What car does that? The minute the mechanic approaches, they shut up. They recognize their footsteps, their solemn look, their diagnostic ears. It’s a matter of survival, I’m sure. They go into hiding, never to return until the mechanic has changed the alternator, the water pump, the serpentine belt, the front headlights, replaced the power train and installed a new air conditioning unit. Oh yeah, the windshield wipers, too.

     On this particular day, I parked my car off to the side at Riley’s Auto Repair and went inside to explain the difficulty. Since I can’t wail particularly well, that was sort of hard to do.

     Riley walked out to hear for himself, which I knew would be a problem because the car hadn’t wailed since the morning I called in to make the appointment. Riley opened the hood and I willed the engine to let out that horrifying wail.

     It’s prob’ly a good thing it didn’t, or I might have some hospital bills to cover for poor Riley. Anyway, he replaced the water pump with the bad bushings and didn’t charge me much for it and the car ran quietly the rest of the day until I dropped my dad off at his house and that’s when it let out with a loud wail. The same wail. My dad pretended not to notice.

     Riley and I agreed we’d wait until my car started wailing somewhere close to his shop and then I’d pull in and he’d come running out to catch the wail before it saw him coming. I drove around town and up and down the freeways for almost a week before the car spoke up again.

     But it didn’t wail this time. This time it moaned. A rising and falling moan – loud, then soft, then gone.

     Now I have a new alternator and I’m going to Tucson and I hope my friend doesn’t read this before we go, because although it’s possible the wail evolved into a moan and it was the alternator all along, it’s also possible it wasn’t the alternator, which means the wailing banshee is riding with us to Tucson. And might show up at any time…

Back to Smile-breaks


© Copyright 2015 Sheila Buska All Rights Reserved
Site Design & Maintenance by Dreamwirkz Web Designs, Inc.