This story starts with a little door handle on a little car when a little something went wrong.
I had just returned to the parking lot from a hike to Cummins Falls near Cookeville, Tennessee.
I loaded what gear I’d brought with me into the trunk. Everything was normal. From there I’d get in the car, fasten my seatbelt, drive back to Nashville while contemplating the fun day I’d had so far. Only it didn’t go that way. I couldn’t even get in the car! As soon as I went to get in, snap!, off came the door handle. In haste, I walked around to the passenger side, and quite to my embarrassment there happened to be a couple of folks preparing to go hiking in the car that had parked next to me. The driver side door of their car was open and I had to ask the guy to shut his door so I could open mine. How embarrassing! So I crawled from the passenger side over to the driver side and I’m sure they thought I was a real winner.
To explain why I left the door handle in disrepair for months after this would take awhile, but I’ll sum it up by saying the dealership asked over $100 just to diagnose the problem, and I didn’t want to cave. I was also thinking I’d be buying a new car soon, so I wanted to save money in places I could.
I actually grew accustomed to the new normal. And fyi, I didn’t have to crawl through the passenger side every time. That was a hasty decision that was totally unnecessary. All I’d do now is reach over from the passenger side to either roll the driver side window down (so I could open the door using the inside handle), or just go ahead and open the door, then walk around and get in.
But unlike this unbearably cold Nashville winter, things actually can improve. So last week a friend of mine came over to help me fix this little, yet inconvenient, problem. And it was a warm day, so OK OK yes this cold weather isn’t lasting forever. 🙂
We looked up a couple of YouTube videos to help instruct us on how and what to do. It was a struggle, though. The thing about small cars is there isn’t much space to get in to do work. So we took turns twisting our hands and/or bodies to get access to the lock mechanism that we believed was the “key” to solving this problem.
It was a fun time. We had Lightning 100 on the radio, which I wouldn’t think would be good music for working on cars, but it is. It helps to keep the heart rate down, and so even when we couldn’t figure out certain things, which might be frustrating, the music kept us mellow.
Eventually we were able to reinsert the handle to it’s proper place, which was a real surprise. I thought I’d need to buy new parts to replace broken ones. But the handle was back and ready for business! What we discovered, though, is the part of the handle that caps the key lock is critical to the handle staying in place. So to keep the handle from popping off again as it did that day at Cummins Falls, I’d have to be gentle with it. OK, I can do that. I am Gentle Ben after all, right?
The new normal became the old normal and all was well. For a day.
You see, the very next morning the handle went pop!, and off it came… again. A few days after an order from RockAuto.com I was back to where I’d started. This time, just me and the pups in the carport trying to fix a little problem with a little door handle on a little car.
I got a little frustrated and a little disheartened but after a little effort and a little more effort and a little praying, bing!, it worked! The key cover cap I had to purchase was in place, the handle was in place, and now I feel like I have new car. Seriously, I feel like having a door handle is a royal luxury and now every time I get in my car, I’m opening up my chariot!
-Out of the Wilderness