I was going to launch into a diatribe about the latest shenanigans in Memphis city government, but I ended up doing something dumb enough to make me write about it in hopes that the public humiliation will keep me from doing it again.
So, here’s the deal. I’ve got a small car. I also have a bicycle. The bike’s about a year old, and the store recommended bringing it in for a quick check up. The thing is, I live in downtown Memphis and the bike shop is 27 miles away in Germantown. It seemed like a great break when it turned out that my job was going to take me to the same bike shop.
My plan was to take my Trek 7.5, hook it onto the bike rack I bought a few months ago, and drop it off when I went to the shop. I got the rack because of the last time I took the bike in, September of last year.
Without a rack, I have to remove the front tire, and set the bike in the back seat of my very small car. How small? Small enough that I’d have to put the convertible top down to have enough room to maneuver the bike into the car, then put the top back up so I can make the drive across town.
Well, when I picked up the bike the last time, I wasn’t careful enough when I put the top up. The rubber end of the handlebar was pushing against the glass window in the back of the convertible top. That’s when I found out it was safety glass — the kind that shatters into pebbles to prevent injury.
I already knew that replacing the rear window in a 1999 Toyota Celica was a specialized task; it’s not something a dealer or an auto glass repair shop will do. I had to replace the original factory window a few years ago when I lived in Atlanta. That was a big enough town that I found a guy who would come to my house to do the work. In Memphis, you go to Don’s Auto Upholstery on Union and ask for Mike Benfield, the convertible top specialist.
This is a 10-year old car, and one that didn’t have a big production run. Because there aren’t a lot of them on the road, needless to say, that particular part isn’t in stock. They ordered it, I took the car in the next day, and the folks at Don’s made quick work of fixing my stupidity. To the tune of $584.49.
After that, the very next time I was in a store that sold car racks for bicycles, I bought one, thinking an investment of $40 was better than going through cleaning up a pile of broken glass in my back seat again.
Fast-forward to this morning. I’m running late enough that I didn’t want to take the time to take the bike rack, which was still in the box it came in and figure out how to hook it onto the car. So I put the top down and very carefully put the bike in the back seat.
Got to work on time, went to an afternoon meeting, then headed out to Germantown. Get there, meet the crew, do the job, that’s all done. They’re loading their truck, and I decide, cool, time to let the top down and drop this bike off. My day is chugging right along.
You already have a feeling that you know where this is going, don’t you?
As the top is coming down, I actually hear it rubbing on something. Incredibly, I keep my finger on the “down” button, which, of course, is pushing the handlebar into the window, which “pops” and collapses in a thousand pieces. Oops, I’ve done it again.
After I drop the bike off, I put the top up and head back to the office, even though I wanted to just sit there and bang my head on the steering wheel. I call Don’s and get Mike on the phone. It’s late in the day, so he wasn’t sure whether he’d be able to order the glass today or tomorrow. Either way, he’s thinking it might be Monday before he can get the work done.
Did I mention there was a severe storm warning as I’m driving without a back window?
I was telling a friend about this, and she remembered having some clear plastic sheeting. I went by on my way home to see about putting enough plastic over the hole to keep the rain out. Usually, I swear by duct tape, but the plastic started pulling away from the hole the second I hit the interstate.
Once I got home, I had to salvage the plastic that wasn’t twisted up and stuck in the duct tape, recut it to fit the hole and re-tape. Of course, I ran out of my own duct tape and had to switch to packing tape (which I know isn’t going to hold). At least this time, I put tape on the inside as well, trying to grip the opening on both sides.
So, when you see brother man driving down the streets of Memphis with his taped up window, don’t think too badly of me. After all, I’m fixing to be into Don’s for another $584.49. I will say this; the bike rack is in the trunk, and it will be attached to the back of the car when I go get the bike.
When I told the story to one of my new coworkers, he suggested that I’d have to go an ask for a raise… in my first week on the job! Nice.
Actually, my next-to-last unemployment check arrived today. So, that will take care of some of the damage.
In the future, though, if you see me about to do something dumb, say something… I hate feeling like Charlie Brown when he’s heading for the football.