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2002-04-17 9:15 a.m.

Cars often have very strong opinions about what should and should not happen, and they often make decisions simply to spite their driver. My car is no exception. Sometimes, no matter how much I want to do one thing, it simply insists that we do what it wants instead. This morning was a perfect example. The sun rose over the rolling hills to my left as I headed south. I carefully breathed in and out, long, deep breaths, in an attempt to quiet my busy mind. Green hills. Lakes. Oak trees dotted the hills, their fractal branches probing the morning sky like some recursive search algorithm. Deep breath in. deep breath out. I checked my gauges. Lo and behold, the odometer was about to reach 130,031 miles! I wanted to capture this palindromic moment, so I started digging around for my camera.

I got so worked up over cameras and palindromes that I almost did not notice that my engine was overheating. Craptastic. I pulled over, examined the situation, considered my options. The coolant reservoir was definitely empty. Where did all the coolant go? Out with its buddies? To Harbin Hot Springs? Maybe for a short swim? Maybe it went to the Tenderloin to pick up a hooker and then kill her and leave her body in an alley way, after stealing her heroin? Who knows? All that was important was that, wherever it was, the coolant was definitely not in my car any longer.

In my trunk I found rubber gloves, rubbing alcohol, and some rags—The right tools for a completely different job. Motor oil, guitar cables, snotty used Kleenex, jumper cables. No coolant. It was 6:20 AM, very cold outside, and I was probably 10 miles from the nearest gas station, store, or whatever. Cars flew by at 90 miles an hour, the rolling hills slept silently to my left and right, the oak trees continued their organic computations.

So, I did what any other ex–Boy Scout would do, and I filled up a discarded water bottle with rain water from a nearby puddle and poured that into my car, using a rag as a makeshift filter! Luckily, it was freezing outside, so my hands were dominated to the bone as I dipped them repeatedly into the Arctic puddle to gather more water. In any case, I felt so handy, and I was pleased to show my car that I was—without a doubt—the one in charge.

But, as I got back on the road, I noticed that in the confusion of my McGyver moment, the odometer incremented past 130,031! I missed it! Now I have to wait for 131,131! Darn my car! Darn it to heck! Why must my car insist on getting it's way?

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Only one more day until ChipotleFest 2K2! Skot and I have been working on some special gifts for the attendees. It is going to rock like pre–Hagar Van Halen, only better!