Tuesday, September 22, 2009

With Apologies to John Prine

With my daughter and I currently sharing a car as a result of a theft, I get a chance to learn new things, or to re-learn old things (I'm not sure which), as another driver's perspective offers an informed contrast to my own notions.

Two years ago or so, the wind shear noise from the rolled up front windows (actually all the windows are electric, so I'm not sure what the phrase should be, 'zipped up' or 'zoomed up' how about 'powered up'? Now I feel like a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger) was so pronounced that as part of the routine maintenance for the Subaru Forester at whatever mileage it was at, I had the garage see what could be done to quiet the hubbub three feet from my ears.

Their solution, and it seemed to work, was to swap out mirror housings, at my expense of course which was only fair. The vehicle warranty covers reasonable wear and tear not all the minutiae damage that Mr. Persnickety Ears can come up with. Some months ago, it seemed to me, at somewhat elevated speeds (and since you might be connected to the public safety/law enforcement community, let's leave those speeds this side of specified, okay?) that the noise was coming back. Actually, it was back and had even accomplished a mail forwarding request through the USPS, I just didn't want to believe it.

Being my father's son, I had a solution that did not involve anything mechanical--turn up the volume on the CD player and the Sirius Radio receiver. (Should you ever be in need of an acoustic baffle, I'd suggest almost anything by Dropkick Murphys, whose anger, velocity, virtuosity and sheer exuberance make me feel like I'm doing a hundred miles an hour even when I'm parked in the garage.) As time has gone on and other rattles and noises have been added to the not quite celestial choir, I've been turning the volume up to eleven and beyond.

Michelle, who was behind the wheel for part of the day on Sunday as she ran errands with her Mom, has far keener hearing than her metal-headed father and her years of music instruction and concert performance has made her far more sensitive to road noises. Luckily she has her mother's sense of how things are put together which means far fewer invocations of 'sinister force' as a cause for breakdowns and far more often a 'let's roll up our sleeves and see what the matter is' approach.

She shared with me that much of the noise was caused by a split seal on a 1/32" long piece of rubber gasket that separates the driver's side window from the car frame (Foresters like many (maybe all?) Subarus, have NO door frames that window glass slides up into. I don't know why) and she speculated a piece of black gasket tape, to close the gap would do the trick in terms of dampening.

We've often been told as she grew up by a variety of music teachers that she has a wonderful sense of pitch (I almost said perfect pitch but I'm not sure how that would work) and it seems that it may have opened up another career path for her should she decide that concert musician isn't the life she wishes, service manager at a car dealership. It's now so quiet in the Forester I can hear myself think. Sadly, the silence is deafening.
-bill kenny

No comments: