Thursday, May 8, 2008

What's that smell?

Good News! I'm alive and so far I still have I job (for now). One of the big-wigs in the office was running late today so he just pulled over on 86th street and left his car in a random garage. Once getting to the office he tells his assistant to find someone to go up and pick up his car on 86th street and take it to 'his' garage on 60th. As the straws are being drawn to run this errand I keep my head down. My coworker is chosen to be the lucky go'fer. He does give an open disclaimer that although he can drive a stick shift he hasn't driven a car since he moved to NYC (7 years ago). He then asks for back up. Crap! I've been spotted.

“Joanne, you can drive a stick, right?”
“Errr...yeah...sortta...back in the day...”
“Great, why don't you go with him?”
“Ok, but I don't want to have to drive this brand new BMW.”
“That’s ok, he will drive, you just go for moral support.”
“Ok, let me change my shoes.”

We take the subway up to 86th street and have the name and address of the garage. After circling the block looking for 'Swift Garage' we stop into 'Icon' garage to ask for directions. The attendant informs me that 'Swift' was 'Icon' and then had the audacity to laugh at our question.

Excuse me, I may have only tested at 5th grade level for spelling but I don't believe S-W-I-F-T spells I-C-N-O...I mean I-C-O-N..

My coworker hops in the driver side of this fancy-pants 2008 black BMW and I slip into shotgun. We spent a good 5 minutes trying to get the GPS working but the system proved to be more complex then either of our simple minds. I can't help but laugh at this point as it takes my coworker three attempts to get into first gear and up the ramp. And we're off!

We're rounding the corner of our 1st block (only 25 more to go) and we smell something hot. By our second block there is cloud of smoke surrounding us.

“Did we just pass a tar truck? Something stinks.”
“Noo....I think that's us,” I replied.
Man on motor cycle hollers, “Pull over, your car is smoking”

The random concern from strangers throws me into full giggle-fit. The more the car is smoking, the more I laugh. Whoops I may have peed myself a little but shhh…don't tell. I was sitting on fine Italian leather seats after all. Following Man on Motor Cycle's orders, we pull over and pop the hood.

Man on Motor cycle - “Something's smoking.”

[Joanne's inner monolog, 'Thank you Man on Motor Cycle. You shall now be known as Captain Obvious']

Captain Obvious wasn't being much help, so I chime in with my diagnosis of this strangely familiar smoke cloud coming form the engine, “I think it's the clutch or more accurately, it was the clutch?'

That distinct smell of a burning clutch really brought back the memoirs of being 16 and trying to get my mom's baby blue Subaru up our driveway.

“We'll be fine. Thanks for help,” I say dismissing Captain Obvious.

I'm sure he had things to do, like informing the fine people of New York that today was indeed Thursday. Captain Obvious puts back on his helmet and wishes us luck.

“Want me to drive?” I ask

After the adjusted the seat to 'Midget Settings' I am able to reach the peddles and we're off...s..l..o..w..l..y...very slowly. It occurs to me this car is worth more then my life. A couple of deep breaths and we're cruising...Only 20 blocks to go!

“Can you still smell the smoke in the car?” My coworker asks.
“Umm...yeah”

We roll the windows down and turn the AC to full blast. Things are going good seemingly smooth now, if you don't count the whiff of burning clutch we get every time I change gears. One block to go and Bingo! We did it! Breathing a deep sigh of relief I turn off the car.

“Hello, we're dropping off the car for Steve” I shout to the attended who responds with a blank stare.

I try again, 'This is Steeeeve’s car. Ok?'

- Nothing -

A man in blue shirt appears from behind, “Steve's Car?”

“Yes, Steeeve’s car” My coworkers says imitating my voice.
“Ok”
“Ok?” I ask looking for more confirmation.
“Ok.”
“Ok! here ya go. Do I need a ticket?"
“No ticket.”
“Ok?” This worries me but I’m more relieved to call this adventure done.
“Ok.”

This blue-shirted man was indeed a man of little words. We head back to office with a sense of relief that we had accomplished the task but also with a sense of panic. You see there are many garages in Manhattan and we're just hoping we parked it in the right one. Plus we don't really know how he will react when he's told he has to buy a new clutch after today's 26 block road trip.

Guess I better go update my resume and check out what jobs are open on GloCap's website. Good news, I just hit my 7 month anniversary here so I can file for unemployment!