The Trouble with Windows

We’ve been having some problems with car windows lately. Our cars aren’t brand new so it’s not really surprising that they’re starting to have problems, but it’s still annoying. I guess I should be grateful it’s windows and not things like transmissions or timing belts or something else that would cost a mortgage payment to get fixed. The weird thing is our problems really do seem to be isolated to windows.

The first window problem started about two years ago, when the driver’s side window on my husband’s car got sluggish in its transit up and down. It would judder and stall when it was half way open. You could make it go up an inch or so, and that would sort of give it a little burst of energy when you tried to send it back down that would allow it to make it all the way. It was a pain in the ass, but at least we could still go through the drive through in it. Which of course is very important to us, with our healthy lifestyles, and strict adherence to government dietary guidelines and so forth.

Then things went from bad to worse. The motor died completely. I think. Or maybe something broke? I don’t know, what the fuck do I look like, Mr. Goodwrench? The bottom line was the goddamned thing wouldn’t go up or down. So my husband replaced the motor or something. Whatever he did, it kinda worked, and then it completely stopped working. If you even tried to roll the window down, the glass would list forward, and it looked kind of like what happened in “Titanic” when the ship upended and went under for the last time. Only without the icebergs and lifeboats in the foreground, and sobbing, despondent teenage girls all around you.

My husband was able to get the window back the way it was supposed to be, but he gave me a stern instruction not to open the window. It was to remain closed. Period. That was maybe six months ago.

Fast forward to last weekend, when he took the minivan/ghetto wagon (getting to that), and I took his car to a couple of appointments I had on Saturday morning. The last one wound up right around noon, and I was feeling right peckish, so I stopped for a light snack (small fries and a small Diet Coke) at the drive through. Of course I rolled down the window to place my order. I know he’d told me not to do it, but that was six months ago. I can barely remember if I actually washed my hair this morning, and he expects me to remember not to roll down a window I was told not to roll down six months ago in a car I rarely drive? Seriously? WhatEVER.

So I ended up conducting this transaction around a triangle of window that looked like the dorsal fin of a Dale Chihuly-inspired shark sticking up in the middle of the window space. The guys at the drive through didn’t even give me a second glance. I guess when it comes to automotive weirdness, they’ve seen just about everything. When I got home I got a lecture, of course, which I responded to with a mature, understanding, and carefully considered, “Fuck off.”

To end your suspense, he was able to fix it, and he yanked the fuse that allows that window to operate, so I couldn’t make the same mistake again. That’s fine, but let me just tell you that while this was sort of my fault, the other window issue is 100% his fault. Here’s what happened.

Once again it’s been maybe as much as a year or so since it happened, but the hydraulic lift on the tailgate of our minivan gave out. Instead of, you know, replacing the fucking hydraulics, he decides the way to deal with this problem was to use a telescoping metal pole to hold the tailgate up when we were getting stuff in or out. I spent a lot of time worrying about what would happen when the pole slipped and the tailgate came crashing down on someone’s head, probably mine. As with almost everything in life, the things we worry about are not the things that actually end up going wrong.

He’d taken the kids on a Scout trip-overnight camping trip-white water rafting trip up in the mountains. He was in a parking lot somewhere, getting something out of the back of the van, and was in a hurry. As usual, the tailgate was propped up with the pole. Moving quickly, he didn’t think about the pole, and went to slam the back. Under his force, the pole shifted sideways, and shot up through the glass in the back window, completely destroying it.

When they returned the next day, there was an enormous sheet of plastic taped over the back window of the van. Combined with a scraped bumper (also courtesy of him) and a dinged tailgate (admittedly, courtesy of me), my minivan had been transformed into the ultimate ghetto wagon. It looked like complete shit. It continued to look that way until fairly recently, when he finally had the glass replaced.

We won’t have this problem again with the pole because about two weeks ago he ordered a new hydraulic kit from Amazon. It came, and he took it outside to install it. Fifteen minutes later he came back inside and said, “Well that wasn’t hard at all. If I’d realized it was that easy, I’d have done it a long time ago.”

Say what now? You mean to tell me I’m driving around in a car that looks like what Fred Sanford would have driven if he’d been a soccer mom instead of a junk dealer, and you could have saved us all kinds of trouble and money with fifteen fucking minutes and a screwdriver? Fuck you, motherfucker.

The funny thing is there was something about having that translucent plastic instead of clear glass as a back window that was sort of liberating. To get out of our neighborhood, you turn onto an actual highway (not a 60 mph interstate, but a state highway nonetheless). The speed limit is 50, and people are often going faster. Turning out into a gap in the traffic, sometimes I know people are going too fast and will have to slow down to accommodate my acceleration up to 50, and are probably thinking, “Thanks a lot, bitch,” or something similar. But even when I thought they might be glaring at me and judging me, I couldn’t see them glaring at me because of the plastic. I would think, “If I can’t see you, you can’t judge me.”

However, that doesn’t mean I liked having my car look like some kind of bad stereotype joke. Fortunately he got the glass replaced, and now it looks generally respectable again (well, except for all that duct tape residue around the back window, but nothing’s perfect, I guess). The side window in his car still doesn’t work, but I just have to remember to take the right car when I’m planning to hit the drive through.
Now I'd just call it "ghetto adjacent."


Cassandra said...

What is it with those windows? Momus is now on his second car with Sluggish Window Syndrome. This one at least will go back up EVENTUALLY. But after a couple of inches it gets tired and you have to let it rest 10 minutes before it is ready to make the journey up another inch or so. Drives me crazy.

Tracy said...

Yeah, no idea. The sluggish window car is a Honda CRV. Not a problem we've ever had with any other cars we've ever had.

Gigi said...

Apparently, electronic windows have a lot of problems! Considering three of our last cars all had them.

And, as a fountain Diet Coke addict, I can personally attest that I am constantly witnessing people doing their drive-thru transactions through open doors.

Tracy said...

When I got my first car, it had an antenna that went up when you turned the radio on, and down when you turned it off. It sounds nifty, but it was just one more thing to break, in my opinion (although it didn't). That's 100% how I feel about anything electric/electronic. Power windows may be handy and nifty, but they're one more thing to break. If I could get the old "roll up/roll down" handles, I totally would!

Opticynicism said...

I've done the window scene too. Had an old Honda Prelude that I put 3 window motors in (AND a window because I broke it replacing the motor one time). In same said Honda, I also went to chuck a Jack Daniels bottle out the passenger window before I got home so my parents didn't see it aaaaaand, I did so without rolling down the passenger window, so there went window #2. A couple of windshields because fuck you dump trucks and most recently I went a month without rolling down the window in my newest car because I discovered one day that the window buttons (ALL of them) just stopped working and I was too lazy to take the door apart to find out why.

Until one day it occurred to me that I had accidentally hit the lock button that disables all the window buttons in the whole damn car.

And I can't believe I just admitted that out loud.

Tracy said...

Oh honey, I have never locked all the windows and not realized I'd done that. Mostly because my children bitch endlessly when I do that so they can't randomly roll down the windows and make each other mad because the wind is blowing hard on everyone in the back seat. But I have one who's inclined to car sickness, so I seldom lock the windows because fresh air makes him feel a little better (and not barf).

Opticynicism said...

I suppose in my case it is fortunate that it was July and the AC was on full blast all the time anyway, and my kid is 19 and has his own damn car if he wants to barf.