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Sunday, February 28, 2010


When I drove my new (to me) 1992 Saab 900 to Carleton, it went kaput somewhere along I-90 in rural southern Minnesota. In a memorable episode, the bored, chain-smoking mechanics at the gas station spent a few minutes marveling at how strange these foreign cars are, then diagnosed the problem as a bad alternator. Thankfully, we were close enough to Northfield that installing a new battery gave us enough juice to get there and have the alternator rebuilt by someone more familiar with Swedish cars. The mechanics got a huge kick out of the wipers on the headlights as I backed out of the garage.

My dad is driving a 1996 Saab 900, and its alternator went bad this past Thursday on his drive home in the pouring rain. Fortunately, in the Saab-friendly land of Connecticut, all this required was a call to AAA to have it towed to the local Saab guy's place (well, and a repair bill).

My brother is driving a (different) 1992 Saab, and its alternator went bad this past Friday somewhere south of Twin Falls, ID while he was driving from Jackson, WY back to San Francisco. He was towed to the city ("one big strip mall," he said), where the mechanics diagnosed his alternator problem. They don't have Saab parts on hand in Twin Falls, and the garage isn't open on weekends, so Davin is spending a few days with that Built to Spill song stuck in his head, staying in what my mother referred to with dismay as a "fleabag motel," and seeing how much of Twin Falls you can cover on foot.

Incidentally, I'll be heading to San Francisco to visit this coming weekend. Presumably he'll make it back by then...

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