Saturday, August 07, 2004

"Time to die!"

The Movie: Blade Runner, 1982 (Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples, screenwriters; Ridley Scott, dir.)
Who says it: Brion James as Leon, a replicant
The context: Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a “blade runner” hunting down five renegade replicants who are trying to extend their lifespans. Since the replicants want to live, they start hunting him.
How to use it: Whenever violence isn’t an option, even against oneself. The more cheerful your delivery, the more effective it is. My friend Gary uses it all the time to express rage and frustration in a deceptively humorous way. Use common sense, though – don’t say this line in post offices, high schools or anywhere else it might be taken seriously.

Yesterday I was driving down Wilshire Boulevard, taking my dog and my cousin Kathleen to Kathleen's house so that Dizzy could play with Kathleen's son (my godson) Owen, and we hit a pothole. It was a bad jolt, but no worse than other potholes I've hit; I drive a VW Beetle, they're low enough to the ground that you feel every bump.

But an hour or so later, when Dizzy and I got ready to go home, I could not make the car move. The engine started, and sounded fine; the car would not go forward or backward in any gear.

Of course I had gone out without my AAA card, or even my driver's license -- careless, careless -- but Kathleen had the number for AAA and they agreed to send someone out. Kathleen's husband Mark noticed a pool of fluid underneath the car, and tried adding oil. No use.

Two tow trucks came and went, saying that they could not tow a Beetle with a regular truck, but needed a flatbed. Two hours later AAA told me they couldn't find a flatbed to send over, but could schedule a pickup for 8:00 the next morning (today). My friend Maeve came by and gave Dizzy and me a ride home, which was all the nicer since she doesn't like to have Dizzy in her car.

So this morning I was back at my car before 8:00 a.m., and AAA called to say that they still couldn't find a flatbed but that there really wasn't any reason a regular tow truck couldn't take the car. In fact, when the regular tow truck showed up, he had no problem hooking up the car.

And all this would have been bad enough, but the punch line of the story is the repair bill, a matter of some $2,100. Twenty-one hundred dollars. Two thousand, one hundred dollars.

From a pothole.

"Time to die!"

Update 3:36 p.m. ... did I say $2100? HA! Greg at Santa Monica Volkswagen just called to say so sorry, but the transmission needs to be replaced. Bringing our grand total to $4,495... plus tax.

Selling every drop of blood in my body wouldn't earn me $4,495. My broken car is worth more money than I am.

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