Sunday, March 16, 2008


From the Detroit Free Press, Feb. 22, 2008, Business Section:

"General Motors Corp.'s Pontiac Vibe sport wagon and Toyota Motor Corp.'s

About a year ago while on my way to work, I stopped at a neighborhood ATM to get money for the week. I noticed my driver's window tipped forward at an odd angle as it slid beneath the rubber weather proofing trim. A small hump remained above the rim while I worked the keypad and waited for my money. It was still chilly in the morning at that time. A cool drizzle of rain fell. I got my money, put my card in my wallet, adjusted, and went to raised the window.

The glass clicked and sort of popped up then fell. A few seconds later it rose like a jigsaw puzzle piece turned sideways and forced into the wrong slot. I lowered it, heard ugly noises from inside the door, like the gnarled finger nails of gremlins sliding over old fashion chalkboards. I stopped, and raised it quickly. The window seemed to have fallen almost back into its path, but there were still gaps. I placed my palm on the glass to try and help it into place when it broke into a million little pieces and some large pieces that resembled aquamarine peanut brittle.

I went into to work and was reminded by several co-workers of the rain outside and my open window. I told them it was age, that I was forgetting things more and more. My plan was to hit the glazier immediately after work and have it fixed.

That plan almost worked.

I got to the glass company just in time to hear them say it would be forty-eight hours until the shipment would arrive. For two days I drove with an open window, leaning away from puddle splash and keeping the heater cranked in the morning. Once at work, an over sized, industrial strength plastic garbage bag was closed inside the door and duct-taped to the frame. I couldn't keep the secret. I mean, anyone who parked in the same lot as me already saw the cock-eyed front end, the peeling paint, the fossilized remants of a ribbon magnent burned into the hood of the Vibe. The gas-door had long ago ejected itself at a Speedway gas station, too ashamed to remain a part of the Aught-three. It was as if my car were trying to cut itself free of the whole, bit by bit.

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