A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 109

Bring me my Chariot of fire!

Monday, July 6

I just returned from taking the car to the Subaru dealer. It’s due for an oil change and NY State Inspection, and I received a letter from Subaru headquarters of a parts recall: It seems the fuel pump must be replaced. 

Two sentences worthy of General Jack D. Ripper inform me that  “your vehicle may be equipped with a low-pressure fuel pump assembled with an impeller that may become deformed. Over time, the impeller may become deformed enough to interfere with the body of the fuel pump, potentially causing the low-pressure fuel pump to become inoperative.”

In other words, terminate the old fuel pump…”terminate with extreme prejudice.”

So I left my car there for fixin’ and drove back in a loaner Subaru Forester. The replacement continues the manufacturer’s hyperactive tendency toward feature creep—this one has a push button ignition that takes some getting used to. The radio has a mind of its own. To turn it off, it’s not enough to press the on-off button. You have to open the driver’s side door.

The dealership, meanwhile, surprised me by seeming quite pandemic-ready. Everyone had face masks. I was instructed to wait outside until there were fewer customers waiting inside. There was plenty of social distancing complete with boxes marked on the floor indicating just where customers should stand. They ensured me that the loaner had been disinfected and that my car will be disinfected before they return it. I needn’t pick up my car until tomorrow—it was a one-and-a-half hour drive over to Riverhead—at which time I can return the loaner. 

But I can’t keep the loaner beyond 48 hours and must return it with the same amount of gasoline it had when I took possession. Hey, will the budget brand Coastal gas be OK? You bet.

On the way back home, I stopped at the Water Mill farm stand we have regularly visited over the years. They had plenty of everything—I got four ears of corn plus some sugar-snap peas. The weeks have coasted past so quickly that I hardly expected to see summer produce there. Again, both customers and workers had face masks. And there was lots of Plexiglas dividing cashiers from customers. The Plexiglas makers must be raking in the dough.

Tonight’s dinner: leftover chicken paprikash, pasta, and a lettuce, cucumber, and radish salad.

Entertainment: We’ve had severe troubles connecting to the Internet over the past few days, probably due to the large number of people out here, jamming up the Wi-Fi space. We finally watched the last few minutes of season three of Broadchurch on Sunday night. We’ll have to see how it goes tonight—there may be nothing doing.