Tuesday, May 18, 2010


[Note: The story of The Pecos Pig is on my September 2009 blog.]

Goddamn pig. Goddamn Texas.

When the air conditioning went out in my Honda Pilot last week I just knew it had something to do with that javelina I hit two years ago in the Texas boondocks. I shared those suspicions with Derrel, my Service Consultant at the Eugene Honda dealer. I explained how the radiator and A/C condenser had been busted up by the pig and replaced by Gary, the Pecos, Texas mechanic. I spared Derrel most of the sordid details of my weeks stuck in the hell that is Texas awaiting parts and fixes to my car, the blown head gasket in El Paso after Gary “fixed” everything, the endless string of cheap motels, the UFO museum, and so on.

I went for a long walk. Several hours later Derrel called to confirm that the A/C condenser Gary had replaced was, as I suspected, the culprit. But, he assured me, it had nothing to do with the pig. A rock somehow had flown through the grill at just the right angle and punctured a line on the condenser, which looks like a mini-radiator. That let all the Freon escape; hence, no A/C. He said he could have a new condenser sent and ready for installing by the next morning -- $641.

Before I drove home for the day, sans A/C, we both lay down on the pavement and he pointed out the bubbling leak where the newly charged Freon was leaking out again. I was a bit skeptical about the rock theory but what do I know?

When I got back the next morning I was half expecting Derrel to tell me that the condenser hadn’t gotten there yet. Like my replacement head gaskets in Texas that had to be “cross-shipped” to El Paso by a transvestite on a bicycle but that’s another story and this wasn’t supposed to be a pig-related repair anyway. Indeed, the condenser had arrived in the nick of time. Perfect. Put ‘er in and in a couple of hours all will be good as new.

I went for a long bike ride. Two hours later Derrel called – surprise! – there were complications. It wasn’t a rock after all. At that point it would have been appropriate for Derrel to snort like a pig into the phone but he didn’t, of course. He explained that, as I had feared, the condenser had broken due to the half-assed repairs in Texas which had led to a stress failure due to stuff bent by that flying pig and now not fitting properly. He said his mechanic was going to try to bend things back “without getting a body shop involved.”

That’s when it started to pour down rain so I biked to a picnic shelter along the river in Eugene to wait for the next call with news about my pig-plagued Pilot. Later when the homeless guys showed up I took off and rode back to the Honda shop.

The good news: the condenser and the bent framing was fixed. But I could tell by the way Derrel was talking low into the phone that I wasn’t heading home quite yet. “Why can’t we get some Freon from …” Perfect. How can a major car repair shop run out of Freon? It’s not like I needed a supply of uranium, for Christ’s sake. Oh well, compared to Texas this felt like just a hiccup.

Eventually they got some Freon from somewhere and after six hours I was on my way, $751.47 poorer. While I waited and watched the rain falling on the lot full of new Hondas I listened over and over to Bobby McFerrin:
Here’s a little song I wrote,
You might want to sing it note for note:
Don’t worry;
Be happy.
In every life we have some trouble;
When you worry you make it double.
Don’t Worry;
Be happy.

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