Posted by: Jim | July 15, 2004


A Happy Memory

It’s happy now of course. At the time I was not exactly happy. It happened about 5 years ago.

I am informed by my neighbor that my car had been on fire the night before. Right after I pulled in, I ran up to my apartment, he pulled in behind me and saw the fire. He took a rag and smacked the fire–which was around my oil pan–out.

Being the smart guy that I am, I decided the next morning to go anon to the dealership, as the car was still under warranty.

On the way, I was extremely nervous that I was driving a veritable time bomb. I looked out the side mirrors and saw smoke pouring out from the bottom of my car. I was literally 1.5 blocks from the dealership, so I made an illegal right hand turn on to Brand Boulevard in Glendale California. (Was I cognizant that it was an illegal right turn? I don’t remember because my car was on fire. Stop asking stupid questions.)

I know now that it was an illegal turn, mind you, because flashing lights appeared behind me. I am now a half block from the dealership. I pulled my car over and stopped. Smoke billowed forth from it like it might just be my car’s funeral pyre. I rush back to the officer–a classic motorcycle cop–and let him know with no lack of urgency that my car was, as I spoke, in flames.

The cop said one thing. “Are you aware that you made an illegal right turn back there?”

“Officer, my car is on fire. I was trying to get it as quickly as possible to the dealership which is (pointing) right there.”

The officer said nothing. He opened his little metal book of tickets and began scrawling out my citation like it was his magnum opus.

I actually remember laughing at him while I threw open my trunk looking for a crusty towel with which to put out the flame.

The happy ending. The car’s warranty was to expire in 30 days, so Toyota paid for a complete rebuild of my engine. And I went to traffic school to pay for the ticket.

Salutations to that police officer for his unflinching sense of duty, and complete lack of compassion.


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