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CRITIC AT LARGE

You Know The Rules: The Car's Going To Fail

July 08, 1986|CHARLES CHAMPLIN | Times Arts Editor

SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA — The rules of the road include the following:

--All cars fail, the only question is when.

--There is no good time for a car to break down, but some times are worse than others.

--The unfamiliar noise under the hood does not go away, even if you pretend you don't hear it.

--Those little red lights on the dashboard mean something.

--They are called idiot lights, accurately.

--Most cars break down after everything is closed.

--Most cars break down in thinly populated areas.

--Presuming you find a telephone, the average wait for road service is infinity, less time off for good behavior.

--Your car's dealership went out of business two months ago and it is now a video store.

--There are no rental cars for miles because of (1) the festival, (2) the holiday, (3) the convention, (4) all of the above.

--The repairs will not take more than a week--if the parts can be located in the continental United States.

--This is unlikely.

--The train doesn't stop and the bus line quit running through town two years ago, or was it three?

--There is nothing like a cheap motel to help you appreciate anew the joys of home.

--The drugstore is closed.

--Nobody's phone answers.

--You not only don't have a change of socks, you haven't even got a comb.

--Travel is an adventure.

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