• That’s what friends are for
    February 11,2013

    I just made the 12th payment on my car. I’m not sure I can mention the specific brand of the vehicle in a column so I’ll just tell you that it rhymes with zoobaru.

    This is my second zoobaru. It has been a very good investment — reliable, decent gas mileage and practical. However, this particular car has a minor quirk that can jeopardize a friendship.

    The issue involves a rearview mirror that does not want to stay attached to the windshield. This first came to my attention a short time after purchasing the car. I was driving down a very busy road, minding my own business tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic, when the mirror randomly fell off and landed on the passenger’s side floor mat.

    Safe driving is all about paying attention to your surroundings, so before stopping to assess the situation I bent over and looked into the mirror to see if anyone was behind me. Of course all I saw was the trash someone stuffed under the seat. I pulled over to the side of the highway and employed my very sharp observational skills to make the astute determination that, as suspected, the mirror had fallen off the windshield.

    When I got home, I took out some “super glue” to reattach the mirror. I figured if this stuff could hold a construction worker to an I-beam with a drop of the liquid, it should be able to hold a small mirror to the windshield. I was right. For about two months the mirror stayed in place. And then one day, for no apparent reason, it dropped to the floor again. This time I took the car to the dealer and had a mechanic use an industrial strength automotive adhesive that cost almost as much as a new engine to fix the problem. I drove off happy to be able to see the money-gouging dealership in my newly affixed rearview mirror.

    Again, all was good in my world for approximately two months, until the mirror, apparently tired of hanging on, once again let go and dropped to the floor.

    And so the pattern has continued: Glue the mirror; it’s good for two months; it falls off.

    Last week a friend and I were planning to go to Burlington. His car was getting repaired, so I offered to drive. We barely got onto the interstate when the mirror fell from the windshield, bounced off the stick shift and landed in his lap.

    “Hey, hold it in place, would you?” I very politely requested.

    “What do you mean?” he asked.

    “Hold it in place against the windshield so I can see what’s behind us. “

    “You mean until you switch lanes?”

    “No, hold it in place until we get to Burlington.”

    You would think I just asked him to donate a kidney.

    “That’s 40 miles away?!” He said.

    “Actually, it’s closer to 36.”

    Well, this guy pretty much whined about the blood running from his hand and arm down into his chest all the way to the Richmond exit, and then he stopped talking to me entirely.

    I began to worry about him. Not his circulation issues; my concern was based on the possibility that he might try to jump out of the car as soon as we slowed down. Fortunately, my zoobaru has a child safety door lock feature that I was able to activate on the sly to prevent his premature exit.

    Once in Burlington I purchased some duct tape and was able to affix the mirror to the windshield for the quiet ride home. The problem was that it took the better part of the roll to keep the mirror attached. I could see behind me without a problem. However, the multiple strips of tape across the windshield made huge blind spots, and visibility out the front of the car was difficult at best.

    The next day I was supposed to drive “old grumpy pants” to the shop to pick up his car. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more “super glue,” and the duct tape wasn’t working too well. Then I had a brilliant idea. In my basement there was an old bike helmet with an attached mirror. So I put it on and went to get my friend. Two thoughts about my experience: One, if you want to see people quickly get out of your way when you are driving, wear a bike helmet; and two, apparently wearing a bike helmet when you are behind the wheel can be embarrassing to your passenger.

    At least that’s what I think my buddy is going to say when he starts talking to me again.

    Mark S. Albury lives in Northfield Falls.

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