Sunday, November 09, 2003

Locked open

I've been having a problem with the rear passenger-side door of my car lately. It doesn't want to open. The lock gets stuck and it takes some effort to get the latch to release.

Yesterday afternoon, as with most days, I drove over to the animal clinic where Misty works to meet her for lunch. I had a few minutes to kill, so I thought I'd take a look at my car door to see if I could figure out what was making the lock stick. I poked around for a minute, comparing the uncooperative door to the other three. In doing so, I managed to lock the door again, while it was open. So now, it wouldn't shut.

I tried for several minutes to undo the lock. I pried at it with my fingers. I used a screwdriver as a lever. I pulled both the inside and outside handles while doing so... But my efforts were to no avail. Reluctantly, I decided to call VW roadside assistance. I spoke to two VW dealers and a woman at AAA, each of whom suggested that I try all the things I'd already tried.

The woman from AAA said she'd send a tow truck (since I couldn't very well drive if the door wouldn't close) and wanted to know where I wanted to have it serviced. "Wherever the closest place is will be fine," I replied. "Well, the closest thing I've got is [such-and-such] VW in Mobile, will that be OK?" Mobile? Uh, no. "Mobile is about four hours from here," I told her. "OK, well, the next closest place I've got is Pensacola..." What the hell? "That's crazy," I said, "isn't there somewhere in Birmingham?" "Birmingham?" she asks, exasperated. "You said you were in Homewood." Unfortunately, yes, I was in Homewood (home of the famous Homewood Can Kiss My Ass Day Parade). I explained that Homewood is a small city that is a suburb of Birmingham. Having cleared that up, she managed to find me a tow truck that could be there within "89 minutes" (in a city like Birmingham, this is understandable, as there are probably only 59,000 or so tow trucks around).

I waited the requisite 89 minutes, and the truck showed up right on cue. Before towing my car, though, the driver with the pierced tongue decided he'd see if he could just fix the problem himself. While he prodded at the lock, I tried to help him by pulling the handle. He asked me not to do that, though. "I'm not trying to say anything about you — I'm just paranoid about that sort of thing," he told me. For a moment, I thought he meant that I might have caused his fingers to get crushed or something, but that didn't seem to make sense. Then I realized that I had been standing behind him. Oh, I get it! Watch out, buddy — I might try to sodomize you while my fiancée is looking the other way.

Anyway, after a couple minutes he managed to get the lock to release. Apparently, you need to engage the child-safety lock and pull the outside door handle while simultaneously prying at the door lock. Weird, but whatever. I was pleased that I didn't have to get my car towed, since that would have been an extreme response to such a small problem.

While this episode was unfolding, Christina, one of my co-workers showed up at the clinic with her cat. I chatted with her after getting things situated with my car. Christina also drives a Jetta, and she said she's had the same problem. She told me how to fix it — just the way that the bigoted, pierced-tongued tow truck driver had told me. Next time, instead of calling roadside assistance, I'm calling Christina.

No comments: