Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Broken Cars and Chocolate

It is never good to find a pool of liquid under your vehicle. I know on hot days if you have been running the air conditioner it can be nothing, but most other days, grrrrrrr.

That is exactly what happened Monday morning. The night before I noticed a spot on the driveway, I am a guy, I see those things. I decided it was most likely from someone else’s vehicle because we had a lot of folks over that night. The next morning I pulled up in a different spot and when I got out there was a drip under my engine. I know very little about vehicles but I did know that it was not oil but most likely water from my water pump. Crud, that can be an expensive fix especially on a ¾ ton diesel pickup.

Life goes into a holding pattern for me when a vehicle goes down. I drive a lot and many times out in the middle of nowhere. That is not where you want to break down. Many of the roads have nothing but a ditch to either side. I can’t take that chance and I sure don’t want my wife calling me with car problems when I am out of town.

It took a few phone calls but I had an appointment to have it repaired that afternoon. On one hand it was a blessing, on the other I did not know how I was going to pay for it. I thought I would figure that out as I went along. Stuck at home I was not going to get anything done.
The shop I took it to was on one of the oldest streets in Austin, Texas, Congress. Luckily for me it was at the beginning of the newly revived eclectic parts. Vintage clothing stores, health food shops and coffee houses line the street on both sides. I left the car with the mechanic and strapped on my backpack with my laptop and took off to explore. It was urban exploration at its finest.

My first stop was the resale shop by the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul. I spent and hour looking a worn t-shirts and old records. I could not find a thing I needed but it was cool inside and I had nothing else to do, what the heck. I had a few shirts I thought I would buy until the very end when I put them back and left to continue my exploration.

I walked all the way to the end of the shops on one side then crossed and started back on the opposite side. The shop I was drawn into on that side was the candy & soda shop. I explored each shelf and admired the old candy boxes on display. I could taste the cherry sours, the Clark bars, the Necco’s and the licorice. Now the doctor told me to back off sugar but that just highlighted my cravings. You know what I mean?

I could not resist a handmade root beer and some apple, bacon, smoked chocolate. I made my purchase and found a metal chair along the sidewalk in front of a small city grocery and relaxed with my treasures. I drank every drop of the soda. I saved most of the chocolate for my daughter who just happened to be playing a softball game around the corner right when they finished the truck.

Yes, the day started out pretty crummy, but it turned out good. I realized that the time I had exploring was really a neat chance to think, and pray and be out of my normal element, it opened me up for a great conversation with God. We had a nice chat and maybe our relationship will be a little stronger, I will be a little more open. I sure do need it.

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