I shuffled my feet nervously while seated in the waiting room, restlessly looking at my watch. I was irritated a nurse at the nurse’s station was smoking so close to an operating room, but I had other things on my mind. Poor 8D69, my little old beat up NYC Taxi was undergoing the torch as skilled surgeons desperately tried to diagnose a critical pain on my car’s rear axle; and hoping a hip replacement would not be needed. I knew it would come to this, my poor car had been withering in pain the past week as we would roll along the countryside – its right rear wheel shrieking to me that something was wrong in its joint. This after having already had surgery on it's left side a month or so ago.
Unable to contain my nerves any longer and stricken with worry, I walked to the surgeon’s table and gazed upon the innards of 8D69’s hip – it’s blood in the form of gear lube oil dripping senselessly upon the ground, with bits of its bone particles in the form of shaved metal glittered. I tried to be strong, but the sight and smell was too much; I had to loook away. I affectionately touched my car's rear bumper to let it know I was nearby and not to worry. The Doctor showed me the damage. “I don’t know Mike, I think she’s going to need a new rear end”, said Dr. Barry of B&B Auto. His head sank waiting for my reaction, as he knows my affinity towards a vehicle’s originality. “No saving it?” said I. “Well, I can put another offset bearing in it, but, it won’t last long, you’re going to have to replace the entire housing” as he pointed to the sheered metal flakes on my axle shaft and housing. The only sound in the room was the idle hissing of the air drill……as these brave surgeons gave me the bad news.
After a pause, Dr. Barry asked me “What do you want me to do?” Shocked at the insensitivity of the question and without even thinking - I told him to make it feel better and spare no expense….patch it up with an offset bearing until I could find a total hip replacement for the car. So, with the precision and skill of Ron Jeremy’s willy in the 1980's, he set out to work and patched my car up. After a brief transfusion of new gear lube oil, I drove 8D69 home and I no longer could hear it groan with each mile it rolled. I pulled into the garage and tapped 8D69 on the fender and told it I would never give up on it – to enjoy it’s temporary reprieve from pain, and that I would find a new part so it could once again feel the brush of wind over its yellow skin on the open roads of America.
And so it goes…..poor 8D69’s former travels as a NYC Taxi in the City of Broken Dreams has also become the City of Broken Auto Parts. The hundreds of thousands of quick starts and turns has thus created a battle scar that will never heal on its own; the onset of vehicular arthritis was inevitable. Unlike most soldiers, a NYC Taxi once retired does not have medical insurance. There is no deductible or co-pay – it is all out of pocket. So….anyone happen to have a rear axle for a Crown Victoria in their garage? If not, I would encourage a get well soon note for me to read to it – so as to keep the car’s spirits up. Or not.
I’ll never give up on my old taxi. No matter how much Orianna would like me to.