Saturday, April 3, 2010

A view from the diner

Our local diner is on a busy street in town. A major state highway runs right by, so it is a very busy intersection. Right across from the diner is a local garage. They fix and sell cars there. It’s not a big place, just two bays, and a narrow parking area.

A couple of times a week I go to this diner to drink coffee and write, about which more later. My favorite spot is a booth by the window which happens to be really private and quiet. From this booth you can see the state highway and the garage across the road. Sometimes you get a really interesting show. Periodically a rollback type hook-em-up truck pulls in and deposits a (usually) damaged vehicle. Their technique is interesting, though. They drop the car onto the parking lot, then, with the car still attached, back up the rollback, pushing on the car’s front wheels with the lowered platform, steering the car backwards like a trailer. Makes for odd happenings. Like the time the car smashed into the retaining wall at the rear of the parking lot. Consternation? Regret? Not a bit of it. The guy pulled out, repositioned the car, and did it again. I guess he wanted it really close to that wall.

Then there was the time one of them backed the car they were trying to drop off into the side of another car on the lot. The guy repositioned the vehicle and...did it again. After he finally got the car positioned correctly he went into the garage, came out with an axe, and buried into the hood of the car he had hit. Punishment for jumping out in front of him, I suppose.

Then there was the smart fellow trying to remove all four wheels from a vehicle that was on the rollback. He lifted one of those big hydraulic floor jacks you see in garages onto the bed of the rollback. Then he jacked the car up while it was on top of the rollback, put 6x6 lumber under the rear end, then lowered the jack. He removed the wheels from the rear, went around to the front, and jacked the car up from there. The car was now rocking and pivoting. Keep in mind he had to reach up to his shoulders do all of these things, the car was above his head. Once he got the front wheels removed, he lowered and removed the jack. The car was on top of the rollback with 6x6 lumber propping it up in a very precarious position, balanced on what was essentially one point. What to do? He couldn’t drive it away like that. Ah-ha! Sledgehammer!

Another brilliant move was backing a running car off the tilted bed with the hood up, then driving it onto the street, with the hood still up, to get it into one of the repair bays.

In the winter they do donuts in the snow in the parking lot.

Did I mention the parking lot is really narrow?

Somewhere Charles Darwin is sobbing inconsolably.


  1. Bart, you have got to tell me which diner. I've seen you at Nazareth and it's not there. I might like to write in a diner too, where you can get such stimulating material!

  2. Sounds like you get both dinner and a show! :)