Three or four weeks ago the driver’s side window in my VW Passat gave up the ghost. It went down but wouldn’t go up again. The front-seat passenger window worked fine and still does; ditto the two backseat windows.
A broken open window obviously means no protection, so I had to handle it pronto. I asked Vinny, a local mechanic whom I respect, if he could fix it. Sure, he said. The next day I met him at a vaguely down-at-the-heels Bridgeport shopping plaza.
Vinny took the door apart and determined that the electrical mechanism that controls the up-and-down motion of the window had suffered a short circuit. The short was caused by a small pool of water that had collected in the door well. To fix it correctly he’d need to find a new white-plastic window mechanism, Vinny said, but he managed to manually crank the window upward.
It was gratifying, at least, that the window was closed and locked in that position. All I had to do was remember to not hit the down-window switch.
I told Vinny I’d get in touch after I returned from Ontario and would promptly pay him to buy and install the mechanism, etc.
Vinny was buried in another job when I returned but that was okay.
Last Saturday I went to a local car wash, and as I approached the vacuum section a Latino guy in a low-thread-count T-shirt motioned for me to lower my window so we could speak. I was temporarily spacing out or daydreaming, but like a total idiot I unthinkingly hit the switch and lowered the driver-side window…gaaahh! It was once again stuck in the open position, and the car was 100% vulnerable to scurvy, slime-fingered thieves.
I immediately called Vinny and said, “Yo, Vinny…the window is down again. Can you help me today or tomorrow or soon?” He said he’d been sidelined with a bad foot (gout) but that he’d search for a used mechanism and we could hook up the next day or certainly the day after.
The following night (i.e., Sunday) it was lightly raining as I sat in the Wilton Library parking lot. I turned the engine on and began listening to music. I was concerned, of course, about more rain water getting into the car through the open window. My left arm was sitting on the elbow rest but I wasn’t touching any buttons or window switches. I sat and listened to Randy Newman and thought about my life.
And then, like magic, the driver window activated itself….whrrrrrrr. The window went up halfway, stopped, thought about it for two or three seconds, and kept going up until the window was completely closed shut.
My mouth fell open. I gasped. It was a moment straight out of Irving Pichel‘s The Miracle of the Bells (’48). Just like the statues of St. Michael and the Virgin Mary slowly turn on their pedestals until they face the coffin of Alida Valli‘s Olga, the driver’s side window had closed itself…the hand of God or some tekekinetic force had intervened.
Vinny’s foot was still hurting yesterday (i.e., Monday afternoon) but we’ve planned on a Wednesday afternoon meet-up.