Posted By Caulimovirus on April 7, 2007
“Another Exciting Adventure with Amy and Cody!”
.: I drove down to Houston for this Easter break. I didn’t want to stay with my dad or my grandparents, so I called up Amy and invited myself to her place. I felt comfortable doing this because she semi-promised that she would consider visiting me in Waco only to later inform me of a vital term paper she had to finish writing instead.
.: But just in case Amy wouldn’t let me stay at her place, I packed a tent and two sleeping bags before I left. I also remembered to bring a hammer for the tent stakes and a pillow for my head. Three uneventful hours later, I arrived at Amy’s house.
.: Amy, clearly focused and eager to do well on her history paper, suggested we go see a movie. Every film in the theaters looked absolutely dreadful — to be honest, I’d rather watch television. But I remember reading about Grindhouse yesterday, so I figured I’d give that a shot. Amy agreed enthusiastically.
.: The movie was a hoot in every sense of the word except for the one involving owls. The zombies get blown up, the actors get drenched in blood, and several unexpected things happen which make you question what it means to be human as well as if this a good time to go to the bathroom or not.
.: All throughout the feature, Amy sent several text-messages to some guy named Micah, which as an anal-rententive movie-goer I found insensible and cruel, and I will be petitioning the Geneva convention in the near future to include new articles regulating disruptive lights in movie theaters.
.: After the movie ended, Amy and I strolled outside to my car. She called the friend she had texted all throughout the movie, and he invited us to come watch him play video games as he smoked illicit plants. I parked my car far away from the theater, following my simple parking philosphy (which annoys just about everyone who rides with me): in a large parking lot, I’ll save more time parking far away because 1.) it takes too much time to find a good spot and 2.) it takes much less time trying to find my car when it’s all by itself on the periphery of the lot.
.: For some strange reason, the weather gods decided winter shall continue, and it was a good 40 degrees outside. So I was not surprised when I started my car and saw a little thermometer light turn on.
“Huh. It might be because of the weird cold,” I confidently told Amy.
.: It was the obvious solution, and it made perfect sense for about three seconds. Thing is, my car’s been in much colder weather than this, and when it does get cold, another light turns on: a cute little snowflake lights up whenever it drops below 40. So this thermometer light meant trouble. Then I remembered that I had just had $1,600+ of work done on this car last month, and one of the replaced items was the radiator. I popped the hood and took a look, and I saw my radiator was almost completely out of fluid.
.: Hmm. A leaky radiator. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
.: It was around 2:00 in the morning, and I was pretty sure not a single O’Reilly’s or PEP Boys would be open, so I called AAA. I’m completely inept when it comes to cars, and I could hear the call rep on the other end of the line independently generating that same assessment.
.: Funny thing: under my limited coverage plan, AAA wouldn’t show up with a simple canister of antifreeze, but I was covered for up to 100 miles of towing. So, $6 of antifreeze is out of the question, but I could have conceivably shouted, “To Galveston!” and they would’ve had to complied.
.: I figured they could tow me to a 24 hour walmart across town and I’d buy some antifreeze there, so I had them send a tow-truck anyway. They said the tow-truck would take no more than 45 minutes to arrive. Fifteen minutes later, they called to say the tow-truck would take no more than 45 minutes to arrive.
.: In the meantime, Amy and I were sitting in my car, in a virtually empty parking lot, smack in the middle of a rather sketch part of town, with the heater off and the temperature bizarrely low. Lucky for us, I had my sleeping bags in the trunk.
.: Keep in mind, we just saw a zombie movie, and it’s a proven fact that, for up to 3 hours after viewing such a movie, a real-life zombie invasion has a non-zero possibility of occuring in the minds of the viewers. So you can imagine our concern when we heard what sounded like a crowbar being dragged across concrete. I grabbed my
hammer zombie-smasher from the backseat and looked around: it was a crushed beer can rolling in the wind. After convincing myself it wasn’t an invisible zombie playing kick the can with his invisible zombie pal, I retired to my seat and placed the zombie-smasher on the armrest for easy access.
.: When the tow-truck finally arrived, we were greeted by two immigrants of indeterminate enthnicity. Were they Italian? Persian? Sicilian? Greek? Turkish? Spanish? We couldn’t tell. But they sure did talk all funny-like.
“Why not you just go to Texaco, eh? Just down the block. Have coolant for you. We take you. Hop in.”
.: I studied their truck carefully.
“Is there room in there for Amy?”
“Of course there is. She sit on your lap.”
.: We all squeezed in to their car seat, which was just a long bench. The drive had a good foot of space to his left, and the other guy had at least a foot between the driver and himself. It was quite clear that, if they bothered to adjust themselves, there would’ve been enough space for me and Amy to sit side-by-side. Instead, she was on top of my lap, and we drove down a back road with several pot holes.
.: We got to the 24-hour Texaco, and I perused their coolant section. They only offered two varieties: 50/50 green, and 100% green. I remember quite distinctly my radiator having a peculiarly purple color to it, and I also remember quite distinctly being told that, if I mix two different colors of antifreeze in my radiator, my car would explode and kill several innocent passersby as well.
[Sidenote: antifreeze, also known as ethylene glycol, is highly toxic for an interesting reason. Ethyl alcohol, an active ingredient in Ben’s lifestyle, is a similar molecule. The difference is the addition of another hydroxyl group (-OH) to ethyl alchohol to make it ethylene glycol (OH-CH2-CH2-OH). When ingested, ethylene glycol is oxidized to glycolic acid, where one of the carbons attached to a hydroxyl group is converted to a carboxyl group (-(C=O)OH). In addition, glycolic acid is further oxidized to glyoxylic acid, where the carbon attached to the remaining hydroxyl group is converted to an aldehyde (-(C=O)H). Finally, glyoxylic acid is oxidized to oxalic acid, which is simply two carboxyl groups attached to each other (HO-(O=C)-(C=O)-OH). Those two hydrogens (H) are capable of leaving, turning the molecule into oxalate, or –O-(O=C)-(C=O)-O–, where the – represents a negative charge. Calcium ions, represented by Ca2+, can bind readily to oxalate in your kidneys, where they form nasty little crystals which cause kidney failure. Don’t drink antifreeze.]
“You can-a put the different colors together, you know. It-a won’t do any no harm.”
.: The guy drove a tow-truck, so I figured he was as reliable a source on car maintenance as, oh, wikipedia. I bought the green stuff and we drove back to my car in the AMC parking lot.
“Hello again, Amy.”
.: He pored the stuff in my radiator, checked my AAA card, and drove away. Our long nightmare of low coolant and unexpectedly cold weather was finally over. And to think, we could have gone to see Amy’s friend play video games and smoke pot.
.: Now I just have to go see someone about this radiator thing.