If you call me up and tell me you have a car problem, the best I can do is wait with you until AAA arrives. I don’t even know how to fix a flat tire. I don’t know jack about jacks. I’m afraid of them. I assume they will come crashing down on me and crush me under the car.
I’m not proud of my ineptitude. I have filled my brain up with volumes of trivia and useless knowledge. I know Shakespeare, not crankshafts. I know comedy, not carburetors. I can spark someone’s imagination, but I don’t know about spark plugs.
It’s a different skill set.
On Saturday, I got a car wash. I took my vehicle home and scrubbed the Weathertech floor mats. They were encrusted with dirt, rock salt and mud from the winter. When I placed them back in the car, the mats looked brand new. It was raining hard on Sunday when I hastily installed them into the car and ran back into the house.
I didn’t get into the car again until Tuesday, March 2.
The date will become important. Wait for it.
On Tuesday morning, I got in my car and the car bucked forward. I started driving it and it would speed up. I pressed down on the brakes and the car would still buck forward. I pulled into the parking lot of a Giant Eagle. As luck would have it, the parking lot was empty at 7 a.m. Every time I turned the car on, it revved up to 30 mph before I touched the gas pedal.
March 2 was my dad’s birthday, and I thought he was possessing my car. Speeding it up from beyond as if to tell me that even in the afterlife he thought I drove too slow.
For a moment, the world’s worst sitcom idea, a gender-swapped version of “My Mother The Car,” filled my brain. My dad and Jerry Van Dyke were probably both rolling in their graves.
Every time I tried to drive the car around the parking lot, it would speed up out of control. I pulled back into a parking spot and called AAA – instead of a priest. I didn’t really think my Encore needed an exorcism, but I was prepared for every possibility.
When the customer service agent on the phone asked, “What’s wrong with your car?” I said, “I don’t really know. It just speeds up without me.”
She asked, “Is the gas pedal obstructed in any way?”
The light bulb went off above my head. Of course, I’m referring to the interior dome light, because I opened the car door to get out and look at the gas pedal.
I had improperly installed the Weathertech floor mat. It was pushed up against the gas pedal. When I hit the brakes, it pushed the hard plastic back on the gas pedal.
I fixed it and drove off. I was still skittish. Thinking your car is possessed is a traumatic experience.