At the blog Knuckledraggin My Life Away Ken had a post on how he lost his last few cars. I can’t top his efforts for carnage, but I think I can top him for humiliation.
How I lost my last Chevy.
So back in 1992 my wife and I returned from a trip to Washington, DC. We took the overnight-train and splurged on a private compartment so we could sleep during the trip home. Arriving back in Boston early on a Monday morning, I drove home from the station, unloaded the car and started to take a shower.
As I showered my wife, Donie, came into the bathroom and said, “The car is on fire and heading for the neighbors house”. I turned off the water and tried to get the shampoo out of my ears. “What did you say?”, I asked my wife. She replied in an annoyed manner, “I thought I spoke quite clearly!”. “I was in the bedroom taking the clothes out of the suitcase and I saw the car go by the window, it was on fire and it’s heading for our neighbor Lindy’s porch!”, she said again.
By this point I was out of the bathroom and quickly out the door. Where I had parked the car there was nothing but a empty space and a smouldering trail through the grass.
The car had a standard transmission, parking on a level spot, I usually just left it in first gear and switched the engine off. It was a six cylinder Chevy Citation and though I had purchased it as we were moving into our present home, somehow GM didn’t manage to get any recall notices to us. Nor did the GM dealership who did all the work on the car (in the ten years we had it) say anything about the recall issued about the hydraulic hose that could break and spray flammable fluid on the hot engine block. Which it did and started a fire in the engine compartment which started the car dieseling and with the engine started the car took off in the direction and angle the wheels were cut. It missed the corner of the house by six inches and kept going.
I seized the garden hose and opened the water spigot full. I headed off following the trail of smoldering grass. Stark Naked. Other than some streaks of soap, which unfortunately were not strategically placed. I rounded the corner of the house and finally saw the car topping the rise and heading down the hill towards my neighbors brand new deck. As I raced towards the car towing the hose with me I started spraying water in the direction of the Citation ahead of me. Of course I then slipped on the wet grass and slid bare ass first under the burning car (fortunately at this point only the front end of the car was ablaze) . All the time I was screaming at my wife, “CALL 911”.
Denouement. I extricated myself, put out the fire and even got a bathrobe on before the Police and Fire got there. But not, unfortunately, before a circle of gawking (and snickering) neighbors appeared. One neighbor came over and told me that he wished that he could have gotten there sooner…with his camcorder. “The tape of all that could have won the prize on that TV show, that was the funniest thing I ever saw!”. I called the office and told the story to my boss, he suggested that he would rather not see me at work if I was having a day like that. An hour later I watched as a tow truck left with the remains of the car.
And that’s the story. No pictures. Thank God!