When your car uses shouty all-caps, you know it’s serious.

Just so you know I am not dead:

I made it through Tech Sunday. It wasn’t as long as they have been in the past. 7 hours and 45 minutes. Not that bad at all. The show looks amazing; I’m very proud of it. I can’t wait for people to see it this coming week. The crew and the director have done an amazing job with it and the audience is going to love it. And probably cry, if I’m any indication. I’ve seen the damn thing three times now and I’ve cried at various points every single time. It’s GOOD, you guys. I’m going to attempt to video some of it with my fancy-schmancy phone tomorrow, we’ll see what happens. If it works, I’ll let you see.

I might be alive; my car, however, is not doing well. If it was a patient in a hospital, it would be in the ICU. On the way to the theater today, it chugged (as it does, and the garage guy was all “just the catalytic converter”). Well, after a little chugging, it went “DING DING DING!!!” and I was all, “THIS can’t be good.” And it GAVE ME A MESSAGE. I know, WTF? THAT was freakish. Where the “miles til you need to fill up” display is, in ALL-CAPS (so you know it’s my car, I guess) it said: “CHECK YOUR TRANSMISSION!!!”

This light has been on for the past week. SIDE NOTE: the first time this happened, I was all, "Dad! What's the light on my dash that looks like a Muppet face?"

This light has been on for the past week. SIDE NOTE: the first time this happened, I was all, “Dad! What’s the light on my dash that looks like a Muppet face?”

Oh, well, this is not good.

Friend A., when I told him it was chugging, before the guy at the garage said catalytic converter, said “I hope it’s not the transmission. That costs like $2,000.”

This is a transmission, apparently. It is HUGE, it is like the size of the whole ENGINE. No wonder it's so expensive!

This is a transmission, apparently. It is HUGE, it is like the size of the whole ENGINE. No wonder it’s so expensive!

Also, I noticed a couple of times it looked like, when I pulled in somewhere and parked, it might be leaking? But then again, it might be melting, as it has like snowsicles under it? And also when I’m in it, sometimes I smell what I can only describe as a hot curling iron? But then again, one time I smelled celery in a whole parking lot, and there was no celery to be found. I am not to be olfactorially trusted. I DO NOT CARE IF THAT’S NOT A REAL WORD DAMMIT.

So I got to the theater, and went about my day, and the all-caps didn’t happen on the way home, and then I called Dad. The only reason I called Dad was to see if he thought I should a., go straight to the garage tomorrow, or b., could get the car to work, then go at lunch. I don’t know anything about cars or how serious this all-caps transmission situation might be.

Well! Choice tidbits of things Dad said to me on the phone:

“Apparently you don’t UNDERSTAND that CARS are for TRANSPORTATION” (um…I think I get THAT function of cars…it’s just how they WORK that befuddles me)

“Why were you hiding this transmission situation from me?” (Because I just found out about it now? Did you want me to call you from the theater this morning? How would that have helped, the garage isn’t even open on Sundays.)

“The car is LEAKING? Why didn’t you TELL me?” (Because I thought you would say “Stop making up leaking, you don’t know it’s really leaking”)

“IT SMELLS LIKE BURNING?!?!?!?” (This just made me laugh because it reminded me of Ralph Wiggum saying “I eated the purple berries, they taste like burning”)

Ralph would have eaten my car. It ALSO smelled like burning.

Ralph would have eaten my car. It ALSO smelled like burning.

“Go outside and check the transmission fluid level. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.” (What the hell is confusing about this. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. It’s not like daily I’m all “la la la, let’s eat breakfast and check our daily transmission fluid levels” DAD.)

“You don’t have a FLASHLIGHT? OH MY GOD. IT IS LIKE DEALING WITH A CAVEMAN HERE. I CANNOT HELP YOU FROM A DISTANCE WITH THIS FLASHLIGHT SITUATION.” (I didn’t ask him to HELP, I just wanted to KNOW if I needed to go to the GARAGE at 8am or if I could WAIT.)

“NO, you cannot wrap a sweater around some magazines and light it on fire and use that for a flashlight. Do I sound like I’m in the mood for lightheartedness?” (No, but it was worth a shot.)

Dad became convinced that when I went to the Twilight Zone theater and ran over the wood in the road (remember that, all those weeks ago?) I damaged the transmission pan. That sounds like a made-up thing, but whatever. So he said I had to check the transmission fluid levels and call him back. It apparently is a thing that needs to be done when the car is warm and running. Opening a car hood while it’s running seems dangerous, but I’m a trooper. Or is that trouper? Both seem wrong, somehow.

OMG, it is a real thing, and look, this one looks like it's smiling.

OMG, it is a real thing, and look, this one looks like it’s smiling.

So I went outside. First hurdle: I didn’t know how to open the hood. I could POP the hood. But it was LATCHED. So I took out the flashlight (which I totally found; the maintenance men who were here last month totally accidentally left one behind, I WIN!) and saw the latch. I felt like the Queen of Smartness.

Then I tried to find the transmission dipstick. Do you find it as humorous as I do that dipstick is a real word? Fine, just me, whatever. Dad’s actual directions: “It is under the hood. Kind of directly in front of where you sit, sort of.” HELPFUL!

I couldn’t find it and couldn’t find it until I found it, and it was all tucked away far under some things and it was bright yellow. (When I told Dad this later, he said “Oh, maybe it would have helped had I told you it was bright yellow?” YES IT WOULD HAVE.)



I pulled out the (heh) dipstick. I wiped it off on a paper towel, per Dad’s instructions. “Note the color on the paper towel,” said Dad. The answer was: brownish. THIS is fun times. Then I put the dipstick (hee!) back in and pulled it back out (OMG, totally not a euphemism) and checked the end of it for, per Dad, “pink stuff.” The answer was: the end of it had pink stuff, but not up to the little line that said it was supposed to be up to there. So there was SOME “pink stuff” (the “pink stuff” is actually transmission fluid, apparently) in there, but not enough.

OMG, I found this online. Someone has a lot of time on their hands. A LOT.

OMG, I found this online. Someone has a lot of time on their hands. A LOT. Also, I think I have “internal probelms.” Hee, probelms.

So I came back upstairs and called Dad and gave him the news. He had calmed down some in the past ten minutes and was no longer shouty. He was VERY PLEASED there was some pink stuff and that I hadn’t run it to the ground, but not super-pleased that there was a transmission problem at all. “DID IT SMELL LIKE BURNING?” he said. “No, actually not at all, maybe I imagined the burning,” I said. “Grumble grumble grump,” said Dad. “This is what happens when you hit a tree.” “I didn’t hit a TREE, Dad,” I said. “I hit some WOOD. That was in the ROAD. For no REASON. When I had to drive to that weird town that was trying to kill me that time. I can hardly be blamed for that, now can I?” Dad doesn’t seem to agree. Somehow, Dad would have not hit the wood. (Dad, however, drives about 10 miles per hour all the time, so if he HAD hit the wood, the wood probably would have apologized to him. And he’d be going so slow he’d have had time to have a lengthy conversation with that wood. Heh. Wood.)

Dad said he thought it would be ok to drive it to the garage (which is very close) in the morning, and have them check it out and at the very least, dump some transmission fluid in it if they couldn’t find the time to fix it tomorrow. So I texted my boss all, “Um, I’m going to be late” and off to the garage tomorrow morning. New Job is going to think I’m a gadabout. I’m usually not late all the time. This car hardly ever screws up, dammit! As you can tell, because I haven’t had to open the hood since I got it!

And that was my day. Now I am off to bed so I can tackle tomorrow. With much enthusiasm. Rah rah RAH. And such.

What will happen NEXT in True Tales from Amy’s Car is Not Working Correctly? Only time will tell. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

19 responses to “When your car uses shouty all-caps, you know it’s serious.

  • sj



    • lucysfootball

      He was SO CRABBY! He was better when I called back. And even better today. He even apologized. And asked if I was going to get rid of him. “No, I think I’ll keep you around,” I said.


  • becomingcliche

    Faeries smell like celery. That’s why you didn’t see anything celery-like.


  • Samantha

    Hee, your conversation with your dad is fantastic. I hate when things go wrong with cars, because inevitably, nothing is open on weekends when you actually have time to take in your car. (Grump, grump).


  • elaine4queen

    1. I remember “they taste like burning”! HA!

    2. You should get a stage managers’ torch, you know, the fancy one where you can focus the light? Your dad would have to be impressed with that shit.


    • lucysfootball

      Ooh, we don’t have a stage manager’s flashlight, I want one! We have an usher’s flashlight. Instead of a ball of light, it has a little red arrow. It’s the silliest thing ever created and it makes me laugh.


      • elaine4queen

        that sounds like a cool toy. i bet you could play with nephew with that.

        the SM light is great because you can focus it right down, to show someone backstage, for instance, where the markers are on the stage without alerting an audience. i am imagining this. i don’t know, but they all seem to have them and they are very cool torches.
        tried to search the exact kind i mean, but kept getting this whole ‘police torch’ thing… http://www.torchdirect.co.uk/professional-torches.html there’s a range there, the ones i am thinking of go down to a 1cm pool of light – same principle anyway.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I do hope you had some good news at the garage today. Like it’s just the transmission pan that needs replacing and not the whole thing. Still sounds expensive though. (I know replacing the clutch on our MINI was pretty dear.)


    • lucysfootball

      I had less-expensive news than I thought, but still fairly expensive news. So, overall…kind of a wash, I guess. The car’s still acting up, but not as badly. It still will need a catalytic converter in the next few weeks, and that’s another $700. This car is costing me more than my rent right now. I should go live in it, that would teach it a lesson.


  • Tony Bird

    We seem to share a similar knowledge of cars. The difference is that I would never admit to not having any idea what I’m doing, nor would I have asked for advice (because I’m a stupid man). I also would have kept driving my car until I got used to the smells, sounds, and strange lights on my dashboard. Then one day my car would stop working and I would wonder why.

    Yeah, it’s happened to me more times than I care to admit. :)


    • lucysfootball

      Cars are perplexing. How do they go? How do they stop going? As long as they work, I honestly don’t even care, you know? I’m curious about a lot of things; cars aren’t one of those things.


  • Charleen

    There are times that I’m extra-glad I got married so young (well, not SUPER young, I was 23), and most of those times are when something’s wrong with the car. I know nothing about cars. And it’s not like my husband’s a car nut or anything, but he at least knows the basics, which is way more than I do. (I’m reminded of a Jeff Dunham bit where he talks about his daughter learning to put gas in the car, and she squeezes the handle but doesn’t know to flip the little tab thingy so it stays squeezed… I’m not quite that bad. I CAN put gas in my car. And, of course, drive it. That’s… pretty much it.)


    • lucysfootball

      I can…let’s see. Put gas in. Check the oil (and now transmission fluid!) levels. Um…adjust the mirrors. Defrost the windows. That…might be about it. Oh! Turn up and down the radio? Heh.


  • Krysty

    I know the basics of what to check like oil and water for the radiator, but if something goes wrong I call our friendly mechanic immediately. One thing I’m deathly afraid of: getting a flat tire. I know how to do it, but I am literally too weak to do it. I’d be dead in the water.


  • sunraeny

    When I turned 16, my dad drilled all these car things into my head. Checking the fluids, watching my gauges while driving, how to change a flat tire, etc etc. still didn’t prevent me from putting diesel in it the first time I got gas!!


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