Boston Driver’s Notebook 4/1/12

29 03 2012
     

Wareham Harbor

It’s a good truck that will get you home before it gives out.  It was a windy October day that I went to Wareham to put up a gutter at the small beach house of the mysterious Helen of Cambridge.  I caught a radio traffic report that predicted an extremely slow drive from the entrance to Rt. 93 N at the junction of Rtes. 3 and 128 in Braintree all the way to downtown Boston, where traffic wasn’t moving at all.  The report was accurate enough.  I finally escaped at Leverett circle where I picked up Rt. 38, the McRoadRage at Lechmere just past the Science Museum.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 9/15/11

18 09 2011

Having obtained a new inspection sticker for the white Barracuda, I drove it back to its garage @ Paradise, Concord, MA.  On the way home in Clyde the blue Toyota truck, there was a traffic snarl at the fresh pond rotary.  It was right in front of the building where some locally-famous falcons were nesting.

Falcon by Sweet Lil Bunny Photo

A couple of kids sat in a car broken down in the right lane.  I pulled in behind them and got out.  A woman on a cell phone told me that the state police were on their way.  I went up to the passenger window and asked if they wanted me to push them out of the road.  The young woman behind the wheel said the clutch wouldn’t work.

Just then another guy crossed the road to help.  I told him that the driver couldn’t put it in neutral, but the sceptical Samaritan wanted to try to push anyway.  We tried, as a couple of young skateboarders rolled up and wanted to help.  We had a good team, and I was considering pushing it against the resistance of the motor with our mighty four.

The pragmatic gentleman was leaning in the window past the driver’s immobile boyfriend.  He spun around, “Let’s try it now!” he said.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 8/30/11

30 08 2011

This summer almost past, I have been working hard to gain a couple of weeks in August for a vacation.  I had largely finished rebuilding a two-story porch on the front of a house in Jamaica Plain.  The owners, old friends of mine, were so construction-weary that they had stopped talking to me, and only cast irritable looks in my direction.  They owed me a lot of money.

Handmade Dentil Mouldings: Old World

As a result, I had left the final clean-up and punchlist for later, and moved on to a job working for the golden-haired Helen of Cambridge.  She had an appreciation for high-quality work performed by a trustworthy skilled professional, and was pleasant and easy to deal with; a Glenda the Good Witch dream customer.  I could drive to her house in 10 minutes, in contrast to the vicious slog to JP, either by way of the unpredictable Big Dig Expressway, or through the bowels of Central Square Cambridge, across the occluded BU bridge and then through the alimentary canal of Brookline Village.  That, or a suicidal plunge into the gnashing steel jaws of the Jamaicaway.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 6/15/11

8 07 2011

BDN 6/1/11
My days of Paradise:
Saturday morning I set off for the House of Paradise, off Route 2 in Concord, MA, the birthplace of liberty, or the Enlightenment, or what have you.  I had a list of items to bring with me.  The problem with having a list was that some essential items were not on it, and so I didn’t have the usual moment of contemplation, deciding what to bring.  It is a Slavic custom to sit and think before walking out the front door, on any luggage if luggage there is.  I once heard my friend Arkady claim that he wouldn’t have missed his plane if they had only sat.

I was driving the Clyde the Blue Truck, for no particular reason.   It was running well enough and the brakes worked.  It was burning a lot of oil and wouldn’t subside all the way to idle speed unless you revved it a couple of times and let the RPMs drop back down.
It was a MoPar day, nevertheless, so I had brought front end tools for Charlie Paradise’s 1966 Valiant and general tools my 1967 fastback Barracuda.

Fastback

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 2/15/11

16 02 2011

While in Vermont I had noticed the exhaust leaking from a galaxy of pinholes and bad seals.  It was easier to see the leaks when it was 20 below zero, and the condensation from the long drive upcountry was just burning off .  Now that I was back in Somerville, MA, we were in the process of being hit with a foot of snow every Wednesday in January.

Buried Again

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 1/26/11

24 01 2011

Everything has its compensations, and one thing about not being married is the ability to just up and leave at any moment. I had a job to do, but it was under a foot of case-hardened snow with an ice storm predicted two days hence.

Buried Treasure

I decided to go to Vermont on Sunday at noon. By one, I was in the truck and driving out of the snowbank where it had weathered the storm. I was trying to get an early start, because this would be the first long trip in the new 1988 Toyota and I was heading north into the mountains. Read the rest of this entry »