Friday, August 04, 2006

Car on fire!

I haven't posted for a while, mostly because there hasn't been much going on in my life. I've been applying for jobs, I've gotten a few scant interviews, and nobody has seen fit to offer me employment yet. It's been a pretty quiet summer, which is good for me after two intense years of graduate school, but maybe not so good for the excitement levels of my blog.

However, at last I have something to report! Last night, I was in a car that caught on fire!

Yesterday I went to a recording session in Philadelphia with fellow singers AN and LLJ. Dr. Jordan is recording some pieces for the publishing company he's associated with. I believe this is so they can provide recordings to prospective music-buyers, but I'm not entirely sure - all I know is, I learn my part, I show up, I sing, I get money. Pretty sweet. The group is called Anam Cara, and was formed for this recording session, but Dr. Jordan's so pleased with the sound that he wants to try and do other gigs in the future.

We took LLJ's car, which is actually her roommate's Aunt Betty's car. Her roommate is in Turkey. She was given the car by her Aunt Betty two years ago, who promised it was in perfect condition, but neglected to mention the bullet holes in the passenger-side door. I merely provide all this as background, and to prove that this is a car that appears to attract excitement.

The air-conditioning in the car was broken, so I spent one and a half hours yesterday in that heat in a non-air-conditioned car. Which wasn't fun. The drivers (AN and LLJ took turns) noticed that the transmission was acting funny, but we didn't worry about it. We did the recording session, went out for food afterwards, and headed home at probably around 11:30 pm.

When we got back into Princeton, LLJ noticed that she smelled smoke. I did too, but AN didn't, and we both (being rather blase persons) told LLJ not to worry about it. However, about a mile away from my house, LLJ saw smoke as well as smelled it, and pulled the car over. At this point, I think AN and I both a little annoyed, because hey, we were only a mile away from my house, right? How bad could it really be? However, I opened my door to get out, and that's when I saw flickering orange light coming out from under the bottom of the car. This rather changed my attitude. "Flames! Flames! Get out, guys, now!" I said. We all scrambled out, and stood about 10 feet away, and watched as the flames (which were coming from under the chassis, right under the driver's foot-well) died out over the course of about 5 minutes. LLJ during this time was placing a call to 911, with the pithy message, "Hello, my car's on fire." It must have been a slow night in Princeton, because we ranked 3 police cars and a fire truck.

The firemen all clustered around and helpful advice and various possible explanations were provided mainly by one fireman in flip-flops, boxers, a tank-top, and a big fire-hat. Everyone else was in full fire-gear. We tried to come up with hypotheses for this variation in dress code on the way home, and concluded that the car-fire-expert must have been asleep at the time of the call. They sprayed water on it to cool it down, and told LLJ to leave it there, call the police station in the morning to make sure she wouldn't get ticketed, and have it towed in the morning as well. Then all three of us walked the mile home to my house. AN had already planned to stay over, and LLJ stayed as well because she had no way to get home.

The moral of this story is that if you smell something burning, maybe there's something really wrong with your car, and if you smell something burning and see smoke, then you should probably get out of your car in fairly short order.

The last thing we did before bed was leave a message on the CarTalk voicemail system. If those producers don't choose LLJ to be on the next CarTalk show, they're crazy.


  1. Possibly flip-flops and a big hat are standard Car On Fire Guy uniform. Did you think of that?

    (and say hllo to my own blog, missy!)

  2. I think somehow I missed this post when it went live. I haven't been online with my usual regularity -- things have just been too nuts...

    Anyway, what a story! I'm glad you left a message for the Car Talk guys; that seems like a great response to the situation.