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Mpls, MN, United States

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Incidents & Accidents

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shake, rattle and roll

So Saturday night, my muffler fell off.

Bryant and I had noticed a few weeks ago that The Bruise had stopped making its rattling noises, but at the same time became considerably louder. As I headed down 28th on my way to get blueberries for my pre-run blueberry pancakes, I suddenly heard a metallic clanking from the rear of my car, and wasn't too surprised to discover, upon pulling over, that my muffler had detached itself and was dangling from my bumper. Being the independent and resourceful woman I am, I immediately called Bryant. Naturally, being in Las Vegas, he was no help at all.

I busted out my ratchet set and tried to detach the bolts holding the muffler to the rear hanger, and then the hanger from my bumper. As none of the bolts was movable, and as it had gotten rather dark, I finally gave up and decided to tie it up until I could get home and devise a more permanent solution. Because the end of the tail pipe was still attached to my bumper, I swung the muffler to the passenger side and tied it to the roof rack with some rope from my trunk. The result looked absolutely ridiculous, and made me think of a tied-up toothache.

Bryant called later, to see if I'd made it home safely, which I had. He agreed with me that the bolts probably wouldn't move, and agreed with my earlier suggestion that I cut through the thick rubber part of the hanger to free the bumper. It was already nearly 11, but I grabbed my little art knife and tiny flashlight, threw on my big coat, and headed outside.

I was crouched behind my car under the streetlamp, having easily sawed through the rubber strap and just released the muffler to the ground, when I was startled by a burst of raucous laughter. I sprang to my feet, and saw a large, hooded black man and his smaller companion walking down the middle of the street, a few feet from me. There was mutual gasping and jumping backward, and then nervous laughter.

"Whoa, you startled me!" I said.
"You startled me!" the man said. "You have a flashlight! And a knife!"

I looked down and realized that was true. I looked like a veritable hoodlum; my neighbors didn't even know that the parts I was removing were from my own car.

I laughed, and apologized repeatedly as they continued on their way. It still makes me laugh. It's far too infrequently that I get to be really terrifying.


m is for marginal said...

hahaha. awesome. i want to be terrifying.

Ellen said...

the other day, as i was getting off the elevator in the library there was a woman standing on the other side of the door waiting to get on the elevator. she scared me so badly that i, not only gasped, but jumped back. she apologized but i was so shaken the top of my head was tingling.

oh, you haven't seen the main stacks here at UIUC, they are creepy.

Karen said...

I think you should just drive it to the mechanic in "tooth-ache" style. Nice visual. Or not even drive it to the mechanic, just keep driving that way period.

turqois said...

Remembering this story caused me to laugh out loud today. My co-worker did NOT understand.

utenzi said...

The muffler thing happened to me once, way back when I lived where the heavily salted streets of upstate NY killed the underparts of cars. I improvised a "muffler cradle" with a coat hanger and a visegrip to get home and then had a friend with a welding setup reattach it. Cars are damn noisy without mufflers!

Dragonfly said...

The same thing happened to me too! On one of the hottest days of the summer. I didn't notice it was dangling until a giant chunk of muffler and related parts crashed into the street behind me in an intersection.

I had to go back and pick it up.

Not remotely terrifying.