Friday, October 5, 2007

NPR - When Life hands you a coin

This wasn't a good week in one respect. My poor VW Vanagon Syncro had problems. It actually stared about a month ago when I took it in for service, some routine work like the annual tuneup and some nonroutine work like the brake system. It ran fine for about 3-plus weeks when one morning going up a hill the whole van began to shake. I pulled over and did a walk around inspection, but couldn't find anything obvious.

This lasted a few days, and trying to think through some ideas (thanks to the folks at Yahoo Group) before I looked underneath it. When I did I found a loose sparkplug wire. The van ran fine reconnecting the wiire, until, that this, earlier this week when it really began to missfire. So I parked it so it could cool off. Lesson one with cars, don't do work on them after driving them awhile - they're very hot! Something fingers and hands don't appreciate.

Anyway, checking things again I found two sparkplugs loose, one barely loose and one so loose it almost fell out in my hand. It was about to blow out completely. It was simply fried. The threads were so burnt it wouldn't thread back into the cylinder head. So, it was walk to the autoshop (about 3+ miles away), after calling of course - how many stores have sparkplugs for these, and back. Replacing the plug, and checking the rest of them, the engine ran rough but better.

So I let it sit overnight, and this morning it was fine. I drove to the shop where I had it serviced. They gave me a new sparkplug and offered to pay for the spare I bought and my time, but that wasn't necesssary. They've been good over the years. I just told them to have the mechanic pay better attention next time. The new plug works fine and the van is back to normal.

As I have noted in another essay I live 3-plus miles from the nearest town or across the bridge to a city, and the nearest commercial center, with the downtown of my small town 4-plus miles away. And this is the same to public transportation to anywhere else. It's life in the rural areas near a city. But walking always reminds me that life isn't always driving and getting somewhere faster than your feet can move.

And living in the Northwest, the walk is along rural roads with trees, sunshine - and ok rain being the Northwest, and few cars trying to run you over. You can simply walk and enjoy the time seeing life at a different pace. And you get a different perspective about the rest of the world with all the cars going everywhere. While you know your dependence on your car, you know the freedom of being without one, something most of the people in the world already knows.

Anyway, my point? While trying to make sense of things, it simply occurred to me that when life hands you a coin, remember it has two sides.

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