Joe

For some odd reason I had an inescapable urge to go to the gym today, and so I did, resulting in an adventure of forging my 20+ year old car through a waist deep flood (as to how I could not have foreseen that coming I.Do.Not.Know).

First things first. Joe, my ancient car, is quite a capable performer primarily because I care for it quite regularly. That’s not to say I spend a fortune on it, which I can’t even if I wanted to, it’s just that I’ve always been a gearhead, and having an old car is akin to having a toy to play with everday. Many times I had contemplated on selling it, but always I hesitated because a. What would I replace it with? Regardless of how old it is?, and b., aforementioned ‘toy’ reason.

Today, Joe made me proud. The area near the gigantic golf ball where you turn left from Ortigas Extension is notorious for flooding, and for whatever reason, I completely forgot. And so when I was following a larger vehicle on my way towards it, I realized that the water was deeper than I thought and getting deeper still. Pretty quickly I arrived at a no turning back point, and water was pouring into the car from underneath the door area and from wherever it could come in (told you it was old). Little kids were starting to cheer me on, I pumped up the gas, modulated the clutch, revved it high and mentally crossed myself. It was getting deep, deep and deeper still, and Goddam it the Corolla in front of me was slowing down.

Anyone who’s ever crossed a flood knows that’s a big mistake, but slow down he did, so I was forced to turn to avoid him, going into even deeper water. I revved Joe even more, and forged in. The logic is, if Joe is gonna stall, then he should stall on dry ground, or at least close to it. Whatever happens, I am not gonna stop Joe. So I revved revved revved, and Joe fought the water like the boat that he isn’t, and before we knew it, there we were, in the middle of the intersection on Ortigas Extension, water pouring out the car same way it came in, but on dry ground.

I kept revving, and coasted in front of a BPI branch’s parking lot. I didn’t wanna let go the gas for fear of him finally stalling, so I just revved it up and down for a minute or two. Mind you, it was pouring rain all the time. There were few cars, and I was seriously wondering what the hell was I thinking, sitting in my soaking wet car, wondering why I wasn’t home dry in my room, Joe dry in the garage.

Then I finally let go the revs and let Joe idle, and it did, and for the life of me it sounded like a self – satisfied purr after I just asked it to do the impossible and was now contemplating success with a wry grin. I’d like to think it wasn’t boasting, or goading me to make it do more. Rather, it was given a task, succeeded marvelously, gave me a wink and was now just waiting for the next job. I took a glance at the flooded area, and saw a 90’s issue Corolla and Nissan Sentra, stalled, their owners standing around while little kids and tricycle drivers tried to help push them.

But Joe? No.help.necessary. Joe’s engine purred the sweet, rhythmic beat it always does, possibly even sweeter now more than ever. I’d hear a fan belt pully squeak a little from the water, but only a bit, then it’d just go on purring.

All that cleaning and tweaking and tuning paid off. The carbon on Joe’s spark plugs are squeaky clean. No oil, no weird white residue, just the pinkish glow of a healthy, cared for engine.

And now, add ‘well – loved’ engine as well.

We named it ‘Joe’ because it was so average, hence ‘Average Joe’. An everyday, ordinary car. Today though, I think I finally saw a bit of personality in him. And for that reason I think I’m gonna hang on to Joe.

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