Ducted and Covered

As the Amazon Queen, in the passenger’s seat, reached behind me and to my left, I thought nothing of it. Besides, when I’m driving it’s strictly Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Road, Mind on Takin’ Care of Business.

But as soon as I heard that tell-tale whirring, I knew it was too late. My reaction was involuntary.

“No! No!” I yelled.

“Huh? What?” she yelled back, obviously shocked.

“The window,” I said. “You lowered the window.”

“Sure,” she said. “It’s warm out and it’s turning into a sauna in here.”

Though it was warm in the car, I ignored her hyperbole.

“Yeah, but the window,” I sputtered.

“What about it?”

“It doesn’t work.”

“Sure it does,” she said. “It went down perfectly.”

“That it does,” I said.


“So what it doesn’t do is go up.”

“Oh,” she said.

“Yeah,” I said. “Oh.”

A silence ensued, which she finally broke.

“Now what?” she asked.

“Now we groove on the refreshing cross-ventilation,” I said.

“And after that?”

“After that, I start sobbing uncontrollably,” I said.

Of course I didn’t. But I didn’t break out in an ear-to-ear grin either. Instead, I started musing about electric windows

They are, I thought, the vehicular equivalent of the Anti-Christ. Yeah, sure, when they work, all’s right with the world. But when they don’t, there’s hell and beaucoup bucks to pay.

And worst of all just like the Anti-Christ we never needed them in the first place.

Roll-up windows work fine and almost never break down. And when they did, they’re easy (and cheap) to fix. They’re also a much a part of the past as phrenology, mustache cups, and whalebone corsets.

Lost in the simplicity of bygone days, I was shocked back to 2014 by the AQ’s voice.

Pushing the car’s buttons … and mine

“Pull over,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Just pull over, willya,” she commanded in a low, ominous voice.

I pulled over.

She got out, opened the back door and started to work her Swedish Vehicular Santaria.

She pushed the button up. Nada.

Then she pushed it up again and again. Nadaand more nada.

She frowned and shook her head, both puzzled and angered at the button’s disobedience.

Then she pushed the button down. The window went down perfectly all the way down.

“Oh my,” she said. “Now what?”

“Now you get back in the car,” I said.

“But what about the window?”

“What about it?” I said. “It’s already in the car.”

As she got in, she shot me a dirty look.

“So what’re you gonna do?” she asked.

“The only thing I can,” I said. “I’ll call Evergreen and get an appointment.”

And when we got back, that’s exactly what I did. After I hung up, she asked me how it went.

“Fine,” I said. “I can take it in the day after tomorrow.”

“But it’s supposed to rain tomorrow,” she said.

Of course, it was supposed to rain.

It’s the darndest thing: The weathermen are about as accurate with their predictions for the Adirondacks as government economists are with their predictions for the nation. Still, knowing my luck, not only would it rain the next day, it’d do so in Old Testament proportion.

“It’s OK,” she said. “I’ll take care of it.”

ADK state of the art

She went outside, leaving me to mope and grumble. Ten minutes later she returned and told me to follow her out, which I did.

“Ta-DA!” she said, pointing at my car.

I looked. There, over the window, courtesy of Amazon Queen Auto Detailing, Inc. was the latest in state-of-the art window repairat least in Adirondack fashion: Duct-taped over the window was a contractor’s bag.

“You’re gonna look like a real goober driving around like that,” she said. “But I think it’ll hold and won’t be too noisy.”

“Let’s find out,” I said.

We drove up and down the quaint highways and byways of My Home Town, and whaddaya know the bag not only stayed on, but it did so without even the slightest flapping in the breeze. All that remained now was the next day’s H20 test, which I’m delighted to say it passed with flying colors. It did in fact rain, but the inside of my car stayed as dry as the great state of Mississippi.

The next day when I went into Evergreen, the AQ went with me.

Dave Smith came out to chat, and in the process checked out the AQ’s handiwork.

“Good job,” he said.

The AQ, in all due faux modesty, thanked him.

He looked at it some more, poked here and picked there.

“You know,” he said, looking at me, “this is gonna hold for quite a while. You sure you want us to work on it?”

Before I had to even think about what he’d said, let alone reply, the AQ cut in.

In a tone of voice and with a look on her face, both of which would broach no retort, she said, “Yes, Dave, he’s absolutely sure.”

Dave is a former jarhead (if there’s such a thing as “former”). So one thing he knows full well is how to pick his battles wisely.

He said nothing and simply held out his hand for my keys.