Window to the world (of repair)

Look, I get that I can’t fix cars. Fine. I accept that. But if the universe could let me enjoy my rare auto-repair victories for more than an hour, that would be great.

It happened the other day when my wife and I were driving back home from … somewhere. I don’t recall. But I assure you it wasn’t any place very interesting, and even if I remembered and told you where, you’d probably respond with, “Wow, that’s really … not interesting.”

So anywho, I was driving her car, a relatively new vehicle. As we got up to around 35 mph, a weird noise began to sound. It sounded like it was coming from the left side of the windshield, kind of a whooshing noise that got worse the faster we went. Eventually, I got the car up to 100 to see how bad it would get.

Ha! A little bad driving humor. We were on a road where the speed limit was 40, so I got it all the way up to probably 43, because I gave up fast speeds many decades ago, probably around the same time I became in charge of my own insurance payments.

We listened to the sound and hypothesized about what could be causing it. My wife was worried that perhaps a seal on the window had been compromised, creating the sound. I took my usual approach on car issues and suggested that it was probably nothing and if we turned the radio up it would straight up solve itself.

When we got home, I decided I would investigate. I figured there were two potential outcomes: (1) I would give up after about 15 seconds and say, “I’ve got nothing” or (2) I would found a massive hole in the windshield, perhaps with a big arrow pointing to it and the words “PROBLEM IS HERE.”

Surprisingly, I ended up on option 3. I noted that there were some leaves that had gotten into a small opening by the windshield. I told my wife that I wondered if those had been making the noise, rattling louder as the speed increased. Using standard issue mechanic tools – a magazine in the back of my wife’s car – I flipped the leaves out of the tight crevice, clearing them out.

A short while later, we were heading out again, this time on the freeway. As we approached 70 mph, my wife said, “The sound has stopped. I guess it was the leaves.”

I responded with, “I would like the record to reflect that I fixed your car.” She reminded me that (a) we were not in court and (b) this was not exactly rebuilding a carburetor. Whatever. I’ll take it.

And then came an hour later. We were heading home from shopping, and cruising along, the windshield quiet as it is supposed to be. And suddenly my wife said, “Fiddlesticks!” OK, she didn’t say that, but this is a family newspaper. And then she pointed to the windshield. Something had hit it, sending a long crack across the passenger side of the windshield.

“BUT I JUST FIXED THIS!!!” I lamented. She reminded me that removing some leaves is not car repair, and this crack was also completely unrelated to that anyhow. I reminded her that I was, in fact, a successful window repairman, and I would not let her cracked windshield take away from my previous victory.

When we got home, I called our insurance company, and we have an appointment set up to have her windshield replaced. Granted, when it comes time to replace it, I hope they realize that I did the heavy lifting prior to the crack and got all the leaves out of the way.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at


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