The Marine View Driver: Nightmares, or “Night Repairs” (If There is a Difference)

In which the author sees himself dimly.

by Mike Smith

Have you ever had one of those times where your personal fortitude and patience finally play out? A time when you feel as though you have had enough, several days ago? A time when you were standing on the precipice and felt like you should just go ahead and jump? And that thought occurs because you had landed on that ledge after someone had already pushed you from a higher precipice already? I didn’t think so…

I had a precipice jump-inducing experience with my Datson B-210. This car that was a pretty good little runner. But for most of its life with me, it was missing the left fender.DB210

This was because I did not know how to replace a fender and I could still drive it legally… so, voila! street legal and a bit lighter than stock.

The event of note was a sort of culmination of a series of repairs that may not have been all that comprehensive, coupled with a tad bit of neglect on my part.

I called it my D B210. I like to say it that way cause it sounds a bit like an Aston Marten DB10.

DB10 Linked InPretty much my favorite car.

Imagine yourself at a party where everyone stands around with mixed drinks, talking about this and that. Invariably the topic of what you drive comes up. It feels good to say, “Oh, I drive a DB210.” Shouts of wonder and “AWESOME” would ensue. Of course, if I was at a party where everyone stood around with hats that held beers with a straw coming down to your mouth, I could get by with, “Oh, I drive a Datsun B-210, with a missing fender.” “AWESOME, DUDE.” See what I mean? It’s best to read your audience.

So, for your benefit, once again… I drove a Datsun B-210, with missing fender.

How’s that beer coming?

Anyway, the car wasn’t running. I thought it might be the battery, so I jump-started the car. It ran! So I hopped in to get gas for the next day to go to work. It was dark, but nervous about the battery I used only the parking lights and didn’t run the wipers or anything. I pulled out from SW. 210th Street and proceeded down first Avenue toward the XL Sooper. Surprisingly, the car quit working. I quickly tried to dump the clutch to jump start again. The result? I stopped dead in the street.

The road was dark and it was raining. I began coasting with my lights off to get up speed to try to compression start again. About that time headlights appeared behind me. Consequently I could no longer see anything out my front window but my own reflection. I was coasting blind, no lights on, and a string of cars were coming up fast. So I coasted into the oncoming lane.

Smart huh? Can’t see, no lights, pull into the oncoming lane. I remembered that the shoulder was pretty wide there so I continued to my left and began coasting down the shoulder. It was pretty bumpy but I couldn’t see anything so I thought everything was fine. I coasted by way of gravity into the church parking lot at Living Hope Nazarene.

I got out and opened the hood. I had lost the actual prop that came with the car, so I kept a stick in the car. I hadn’t brought my tools as my self-confident nature did not require a back up plan. I couldn’t see anything. The only illumination was from a parking lot light which I was blocking with my body. So I walked the mile or so home to get some tools.

I packed up the necessities and headed back down the hill. I had the minimum amount of tools I’d need and a flashlight to help me work. I got back sopping wet and proceeded to work on my car.

I no sooner got started and my trusted stick-I-use-as-a-hood-prop broke. “Goll durn it,” or words to that effect, I yelled. I got in the car, unlatched the hood again and tried to find a way to hold it open. Then I got a brilliant idea. I’ll hold the hood open with my hand and use my flashlight to figure out what was wrong. Because of the wind and the rain, I had a hard time holding up the hood. So I used both hands and put my flashlight in my mouth. With this method I figured I could see at least see if there was anything that had come undone.

Just like that my flashlight went out. Not instantly, but rapidly. Like some cosmic power had decided to meanly turn all the flashlights in the area off with their omnipotent dimmer switch. I’m standing in front of my car, two hands holding the hood of my car and a dead flashlight in my mouth. Guess who came undone!

I walked back home. The next day I grudgingly went back to the car. I coasted it to the gas station with my trusty, and often used, can of starting fluid.

It was out of gas.


One Response to “The Marine View Driver: Nightmares, or “Night Repairs” (If There is a Difference)”
  1. Rosanna says:

    LOL! I can so relate, back in Montana, the 75 Chevy truck died on me, with two piglets in the back. Called a friend, he arrived and found the problem. Yep, out of gas. Gauge did’t work. 🙂

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