Ride Sharing.

My ride's here!

My ride’s here!

The chipmunks had struck again. I’d brought the car to the auto shop because the “Check engine” light had lit up. I hoped it would be a quick and easy fix because I had plans for the day, and in the past the solutions had sometimes been as simple as resetting the computer, or opening the hood and dropping it again so that whatever the rodents had knocked out of whack could be knocked back into whack. Not this time. The guy held out a rectangular plastic thingamabob, or perhaps it was a doohickey–I’m not up on my technical terms–with a tangle of cut wires sticking out of one end, like dreadlocks.

“We’re gonna have to put this up on the lift,” the car mechanic told me. He said some other things that I completely missed because I was so focused on how much he resembled J.K. Simmons, but that’s another story. He gave me a price quote that made my heart skip a beat and then a timeline that made it go into full arrhythmia. Time is money and there was no way I’d have enough to bribe him to make my problem go away in the next half hour. It looked like I was going to spend my day sitting at the auto repair place watching hours of the Guys Sitting At A Desk Talking About Football channel while reading last month’s Elegant Guys magazine (“the hyper-inflated whiskey and cliff-diving polo issue!”).

Then I heard one of the other mechanics talking to another customer and since neither of them resembled a character actor I could think of I was able to focus on their actual conversation.

“I can drive you up there and drop you off,” the mechanic said. “No problem.”

“There” was the nearby big-box store, although “nearby” is relative. Four miles might be reasonable walking distance if I weren’t concerned about time, and anyway the most direct route even hoofing it, or going on foot since I didn’t have any hooves handy, was the major heavily-trafficked road with almost no shoulder and the interstate entry and exit ramps that made pedestrianism slightly daunting.

On the bright side the big-box store’s parking lot was the terminus of a major bus line–and the closest stop. I asked if I could ride-share and was told to hop in.

Half an hour later I was on my way to the first of my errands, after I bribed a bus driver with the price of an all-day pass.


Facebook Comments


  1. Gina W.

    Wait– you didn’t finish the story! So what was wrong with your car? Did it get fixed? Was it really rodents? Your story is of concern to me because I periodically see chipmunks around our house and my husband parks his car in the driveway. Is this a common problem? Chipmunks munching on wiring? Inquiring minds need to know.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      What was wrong with the car was the chipmunks had chewed the wiring holding in some sensor underneath the car. I did get it fixed. And, yes, rodents chewing car wiring is a pretty common problem. Modern cars use a soy-based plastic that squirrels and chipmunks like to gnaw on, although some cars seem to have less trouble than others. I think some cars make it harder for the little monsters to get up in there.

  2. Ken Knudson

    Squirrels have nested under the hoods of our last three cars. Chewed up the wiring in one of ’em. They like to set up housekeeping in the air filter, for some reason. Of course, we feed the little farts all winter so we should probably expect what we get…

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Maybe it’s just me but I think if you’ve fed them all winter they should show a little gratitude by leaving your cars alone. But there’s no reasoning with the little farts. I find myself actually wishing for coyotes.

  3. Ann Koplow

    Some day, a special light will come on with more specifics about each problem — maybe in the shape of the offending creature? Thanks for the tasty post, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      And thank you for the tasty comment. If only the “check engine” light were more specific it would save us a lot of trouble. Sometimes it’s a genuine sign of something wrong. Sometimes it’s only a sign.


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