Monday, July 8, 2013

"It Looks Bad," He Said. "Real Bad."*

The Ramah Navajo Reservation blends a mix of people into a strange salad of human types. There are the Navajo, of course, and they outnumber everyone else, but in the checkerboard of land ownership, there are ranchers, hippies, artists, rednecks, drifters, misfits, eccentrics, mountain lions, bears, bobcats, and wolves, though the wolves are behind a fence out in Candy Kitchen (animals are people too, in my book). Candy Kitchen was named for the bootlegged white lightning that was distilled there during Prohibition.

All of us here like to wave discreetly at each other when we pass on the highway. We don't cotton well to any lack of civility.

There are also the Mormons. They live mainly in the town of Ramah, where my car rests next to a wood-burning, gasified 1972 Chevrolet S-10 pick-up truck. Yes, this truck runs on wood, about a pound of wood per 3 miles or so of real motorized movement. That is much better than my fancy Japanese, all-wheel-drive, 2.5 liter horizontally opposed four cylinder Boxer engine speed machine. It is beneath a large cottonwood with the hood up  enjoying the stiff sweet breeze and enduring the scrutiny of Jodie, the head mechanic and owner of the shop, and a couple of Zuni guys, Mike and Frank. They are all shaking their heads.

I roll up on my skinny tired road bike, exhausted from fighting the wind. They are not impressed. Mike and Frank walk over to the shop to let Jodie give me the bad news.

"It's bad. Real bad."

He lets that soak in.

Then he says "We took off the valve covers and found aluminum shavings all through the oil system."

He looks at me like a patient parent explaining that a beloved pet has died.

"You're going to need a new engine."

The spear penetrates fully into my heart before it twists to let the blood and viscera poor onto the New Mexico dust. My beloved car has died and will not move from this place unless I sacrifice (again) my financial viability to have transportation. I want to rail against Fuji Industries, my fate, God, the universe, my lack of sleep, and sore butt. It just isn't fair.

Oh well. Oh hell. I suck it up. I now need to find a phone or WiFi or some way to search the Cosmos for a 2002 Subaru Outback engine -- the Holy Grail, the Golden Fleece, the Rosetta Stone of my next couple of days.

My quest begins.

* A nod to Raymond Carver and his Poem "What the Doctor Told Me."

(To be continued....)

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