Week 19 - 1/28/04
So the latest Spacemobile disaster. My brothers came to town to visit me on Monday, and the Spacemobile’s last deed was to transport them home from the airport before breaking down Tuesday afternoon as we tried to drive to the beach. The events:

3:00 (and for a few days before) – We depart for Venice Beach. The Mobile is having real trouble making it up hills, or even starting from a stop for that matter. Hm. Smells like Montana.
3:25 – A horrible clunk is heard and the stick subsequently refuses to shift into gear. Repeated attempts yield a terrible grinding noise. LA drivers refuse to let me off the busy road we’re on so we pull to the left pseudo-shoulder and stop the car. Hmm. Really smells like Montana.
3:30 – Call is placed to AAA. I have the number memorized.
3:40 – After 10 minutes the dim-bulb dispatcher finally locates my membership and politely informs me that I’ve used all my tows for the year. I am not surprised. Cars continue to swerve around us.
3:41 – By chance a flatbed truck passes us and stops. Mark goes to negotiate with him while I am told by AAA that they’ll give me another tow for 55 dollars. Mark returns and says the guy will tow us for 50, and that if we’re not gone in five more minutes the cops are going to ticket us. I hang up on AAA.
3:45 – Mark and Alex cross traffic to go rent a car while I help the Flatbed Samaritan piggyback the Mobile for the 6th time in 6 months.
4:00 – None of my roommates are around so I call Verde in Chicago to help me figure out where to get towed to. Meanwhile the Samaritan changes the tire of a family car nearby – the real reason he was out and happened to drive past.
4:15 – Finally we arrive at the Manhattan Beach VW dealer, possibly the final resting place of the Spacemobile. Mark and Alex pick me up in a gray Gallant they’ve just rented. We proceed to Santa Monica and a Clippers game. One hour fifteen minutes. Record time for a Mobile breakdown.

I don’t want to pronounce it dead because the Spacemobile has already died and risen again so many times it’s approaching Messiah status. But this really might be the last time. Early analyses estimate 1,400 dollars to get the Blue Beast drivable again, and by ‘drivable’ I mean it will still have no muffler, a cracked windshield, a panel missing on the inside, rust on the outside, no cigarette lighter, dents in the roof, three hubcaps and a noxious, choking smell that spews from the engine if you drive if it for more than 30 minutes at a time. Perhaps having Mark and Alex there for the final ride was a sign. But again, I will update rather than make assumptions at this point. I don’t want to depress myself with thoughts of losing the Spacemobile until it’s truly time.

On happier news, the Jury brothers’ visit to Redondo Beach was everything it was cracked up to be. A quick look at the numbers:

715 – The total poundage of Jurys the Spacemobile and later the Gallant had to tote around LA. Perhaps that’s why the van broke.
32 – Bowls of cereal consumed in four days by said poundage of Jurys.
74 – The number of seconds it took for the us to cooperatively drink a 40-ounce of Mickey’s.
7 – Consecutive games of Beer Pong played with JD and the neighbors (the same night) before taking a “vigorous constitutional” around the neighborhood at about 3 in the morning.
11 – Rough estimate on the number of public property items moved or damaged during said constitutional.

By any figures, the Implement of Destruction Takes South Bay was a rampaging success. The only ill-effects were suffered by my dropped digital camera and Mark’s leg, which was badly scraped up when he fell off a wall and rolled down Beryl Avenue, which isn’t well remembered but may have led indirectly to the procurement of a construction horse for our living room with a giant “Sand Bags” sign screwed to it. Oh, and our livers. Our livers suffered immensely.

See the Implement of Destruction Takes South Bay" picture page for photos of a our ping-pong table being used for eating, drinking and opening a can of beans with a power drill when we couldn't find an opener.

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