Saturday, October 17, 2015

And there goes the drive shaft...

Over seven hundred miles behind us with an estimate of thirty eight minutes to go on our journey. Blue skies with light fluffy clouds had been with us from Minnesota to Colorado, telling us everything is gonna be alright. We're arriving two days before I fly out for work. We argue about work, Danny feels bad I work so hard to paid even a little bit. I feel like the travel I'm doing makes up for the hours of driving, flying, away and bouncing on hectic schedules. It seems like wherever I work, no matter than I work hard either my employers can't afford to pay me well or choose to pay and promote others while I do their work. Gripe. I focus forward and on the positive. I remember I'm flying not falling. Who and what stays with me, always has my loyalty, my love, and whatever I can give them from pictures of beautiful flowers, stories, an ear, a birthday present when I do have a little money.
No matter how hard you work, it's not really yours. I never work for money. I work to get the tools to live. The money is one of the tools- I pay my bills, buy food, help friends, try to invest in plans. Every time I get ahead, my phone gets vandalized. My tires need replacing. Something.
Nothing was on the horizon, I felt like I should be wary but it was nice to think I had a cushion started. After next week it would be a real cushion. I thought that as I went under an overpass. Thirty eight minutes when Danny's van slowed a little. It hesitated, then he swerved slightly before evening out. We had just transitioned from 76 west to 70 west outside Denver.
A long cylinder like a muffler but shaped like a footsie roll came out from beneath Danny's van spinning and bouncing out into the road! He was slowing down, I avoided hitting the object and other cars. We sped down the shoulder. Was it his muffler? Was it something he hit? Fluid was overheating, something was wrong as I watched white smoke escape up the back of his van. He stopped. I thought he parked. I parked. He suddenly started backing up. I screamed into my walkie talkie as I frantically clutched at my shifter. His trailerhit me as I started backing up. No answer came from the walkie. Ground control had asked questions all the way in, every thought had raced out my mouth into the walkie. Major Tom and Danny were equally verbose.
I backed up. Curse words bounced around inside my car. What the hell?
Danny's van and trailer stopped. I waited. When they didn't roll again I parked. Traffic went by less than a foot away. Danny and I got out and played frogger to meet in the middle. Hearing was almost impossible. Traffic roared endlessly.
Did you see my drive shaft he asked. I asked if it was a large silver tootsie roll, got a nod back. Nodded back. Danny gave me his phone, triple Aaa number and told me call 911 too. He went to loomfor the drive shaft. I juggled two simultaneous calls on two smartphones.
The trailer would cost us to tow, a little 4x6 with Danny's everything inside it.
Just tow it. It's just money.
Twenty minutes they said. The police arrived first. A wonderful female officer. She blocked the road with her lights on, warned to stay beyond the barrier as people often hit police cars. A fire truck was on the way. People don't aim at fire trucks. Please don't aim at Police cars people.
The fire truck arrived. Arvada Police and Fire kept us safe and we appreciated their gregarious support. We told them we would both donate performances to fundraise for them if they ever want us to.
Half an hour later the tow truck arrived. Traffic had not let him through. People. Three rules of driving sense: don't gawk focus on the road to prevent secondary fender benders, let emergency vehicles through including tow trucks- it will actually help congested traffic more if the problem can be quickly handled, three never pass a snow plow.
I suppose a fourth is don't have your transmission seize and rip your drive shaft in half, mangle your wire harness into useless frayed ends and really don't have your engine seize.
The mechanics looked up under the metal corpse as it bled the last of its transmission fluid on the bed of the tow truck.
The damage was severe. Engine. Transmission. Drive shaft. Wire harness.
All would need replacing. Wire harness may never function right again, which is like saying your spinal cord may not ever work right again.
They eased us into the knowledge that the van is totaled. No injuries. It's good for spare parts, a new van is the diagnosis.
Flying, falling. Aiming up. Carrying it. Sitting by a stack of medical bills, knowing I've got to deal with maddening beaurocracy as Danny's heart issues happened out of his home state. Medicaid would have been simple to deal with on this, compartmentalized care has offered states deniability. I may or may not have success. I've got no cushion. It's going toward a functional vehicle for Danny. We support each other.
It's not enough. Some days I wish I could make enough to take care of things like this.  To give friends more when they struggle. It's a tool. It's not important. It's just stress, a dead van, and the hope for more work.