It started simply enough. A few weeks ago I noticed that my remote key for the Jetta was not working with its normal, magical ability at opening and locking the car doors. It would hesitate before opening or locking . . . it would make a lot of clicking noises . . . and, I figured that the battery in the remote must be dying; but, it did not do enough to scare me off to purchase the eighty dollar battery to fix it. Shoot! I just used the key to open or lock the doors, while keeping the four twenty dollars bills securely in my wallet. That is what we mechanically inclined Keeners do . . .
. . . then a week ago, something funny happened. Not funny in the “ha ha” way, but in the peculiar way. When the remote wouldn’t lock the door, I stuck the key in the lock, turned it, and watched as all four windows rolled down. I deducted that this is not normal behavior . . . it was as if my car was possessed. This was something more than the remote . . . this was serious. I began thinking that it was like some malfunctioning computer chip—yeah, cars have computer chips in them. But, I did not panic. I got in the car, rolled up the windows, and went into the house . . . concerned, but not worried.
Things went well until the night I had to pick up the wife at the airport around 11:00PM. Not wanting to drive back and forth between home and the Big City, I stayed in town after work. Went and got my hair cut . . . then I went for a bite to eat . . . then to the book store to kill some time . . . then to the mall to kill some more time. I had over five hours to kill, so when the mall closed at nine, I headed to the only place I knew that stayed open . . . Wally’s World—it is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All the while I got into the Jetta and drove . . . five different places . . . and, there were no problems with the car.
At least not until I decided that I had better head off to the airport and pick the wife up. Leaving Wal-Mart, I sat in the car, and attempted to start my car. The ignition would not let me put the key in. My first thought . . . darn microchip! For the next thirty minutes I tried and tried and tried to get my key into the ignition with no luck. Thinking it was a microchip I decided to even try the old computer trick of unplugging the car and rebooting it. I hopped out of the car, disconnected the battery, let it set a few minutes, and then reconnected the battery . . . all to no avail. The key wouldn’t slide in . . . and, the wife was only minutes from arriving.
Long story short . . . I never got the key in or the car started. Had to call the oldest son to go pick his mother up at the airport, and then to pick me up. All the while this is taking place I am trying to shove the key into the ignition. Needless to say it made for a long night of frustration . . . a few choice words . . . and, the Jetta spending the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Now, this really made a mess out of not only my life, but the life of the whole family. The oldest lost sleep having to rescue his parents . . . the wife stood out in the cold until picked up . . . and, I was furious and a little bit scared thinking that this little microchip was going to cost me an arm and a leg to fix. It changed all of our plans the next day as the wife had to take me to work . . . wasn’t something she had planned on doing on her first day hope after a week-long trip.
But, we did it . . . I got to work. We talked to the car maintenance place. I heard the quote for the repair and tow truck—about $600; plus, the fact that my stinking Jetta is a German-made vehicle, it was going to take two weeks to get the part before it could be fixed. At the same time, and I truly do appreciate this, the guys in the shop made some suggestions: get the spare key and see if it would go in--or—get a can of WD40, spray the key and ignition, and see if works . . . if not, order the part and hope for the best for two weeks. The second suggestion worked! My money never left the wallet or the bank . . . I was elated.
Keeners and automobiles are not real compatible when it comes to those little glitches that happen from time to time with cars. I do not know a whole lot about automobiles beyond where the gas goes in, how to drive them, and when to get their oil changed . . . beyond that . . . well, it is foreign to me. When it comes to automobiles, I am pretty ignorant and useless if it involves anything mechanical. Just shoot me and give me the bill. So, when it came down to purchasing a three dollar can of wonder oil, spraying the key and lock, and banging on the steering wheel . . . well, I was joyful when it worked.
Since then, I have learned that there is actually a prayer for a automobile that won’t start. I found it on the website, Catholic Answers—To Explain Faith and Defend the Faith (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=559602) . . . I never, in a million years, would have ever thought that there was an actual prayer for a car that won’t start. But, there it was in black and white. Though it was not of the highest standard of Catholic liturgy, it was an honest and hope-filled prayer:
God, so that I may do your will,
heal this vehicle of it's affliction
in Jesus's name,
I rebuke thee, demons
who are keeping this car from starting.
In the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
These were the instructions that went with the prayer: say the prayer; if it doesn’t start, pump the gas pedal three times and recite the prayer again. If the car still won’t start, hold the gas pedal on the floor, recite the prayer three times, and try it again while holding the pedal down. If it starts, let go of the gas pedal and say, “Hail Mary!” If the car still won’t start, it must be God’s will. Call a mechanic. I am not sure I have ever heard the Pope utter this prayer; but, then again, the Pope doesn’t drive.
Next time my car won’t start, well I am going to give it a shot . . . I am going to cross denominational lines and utter the prayer. At the same time, I am warning God now, if it doesn’t start I will probably say a whole bunch of profane words, seek God’s forgiveness for the utterances, and then call a mechanic. In the meantime, I have taped these words on the dashboard of my car . . . right next to my plastic Jesus.
I also discovered that there is a patron saint for automobiles—Saint Frances of Rome. You can read her biography at that source of reliable information (Wikipedia--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_of_Rome). In 1925, the Pope (Pope Pius XI) declared her the patron saint of automobile drivers because of a legend that an angel used to light the road before her with a lantern when she traveled, keeping her safe from hazards. Since the Wal-Mart incident I have been looking for a little statute of her to place next to my plastic Jesus. Haven’t found on yet, but I am still looking . . . I’ll even take one with a bobblehead. Anything beats a car that won’t start.
You would have thought that I learned my lesson . . . that I went and ordered the new part; but, instead I am taking a leap of faith. I am going to bank on the prayer for a car that won’t start, a statute of Saint Frances of Rome, and my plastic Jesus. If that doesn’t work, a can of WD40. I have faith and I have a can of oil . . . what more do I need? Sure is cheaper than a six hundred dollar repair! Thank you, Saint Frances . . . thank you, plastic Jesus . . . and, thank you for the prayer; but most of all, thank you, for WD40! If it wasn’t for WD40 and a supply of duct tape . . . well, I’d be walking!