|Prisma Visions Tarot - James Eads; runes|
"It's probably your coolant! Go park it and let it cool down before you open the hood - otherwise it might explode in your face."
Oh my god. I thanked him and drove the very short distance to my office parking lot. I was afraid it might catch fire. I was incredibly worried as this is a fairly new car and shouldn't be having any major issues. I did in fact open the hood (no explosions) and the smoke was lightly lifting up from the engine block. It was strange because my car is very good about letting me know when even the slightest issue arises - a need for an oil change, a headlamp being out, a need to refill any of the essential fluids. Not a single warning light or sound had gone off when the car was smoking: no "check engine" light - even the temperature gauge was normal. It drove fine - nothing out of the ordinary. So I entered my workplace with my nerves off the chart. As I was explaining what had happened to a few of my team members, someone from the math department peered over the low-wall and started to ask me questions about it. He eventually came over and sat nearby and gave me some very helpful information about car mechanisms and behaviors. Another math teacher showed up and both of them offered to come look at my car for me (3 of Cups). I was grateful. They looked at the engine, checked the lines and fluid levels, made sure that the fans were working correctly. They ran the car and put the air conditioning on full blast to see if it would start to smoke again, or show any signs of overheating. They were both stumped. They said that based on what they were seeing there was no reason that the car should have behaved that way, and try as they might to get it to reproduce the smokiness, it wasn't happening. They finally suggested that it might have been an electrical glitch which would be worth taking to the dealership to review, but they thought that I'd get home okay.
They were right. I've driven my car several times since that terrible moment in the drive-thru, and it has been completely normal. Talk about mystery. Now of course I will be getting it examined, but I decided to look online and found some very intriguing information: there were many accounts of other owners of my same car make/model/year who had not only had experiences of their car suddenly smoking, but it had occurred in a restaurant drive-thru! It was starting to feel like the Twilight Zone. Interestingly, in all of these cases the people said that they brought it to the dealer for assessment, and no matter what the mechanics tried, they couldn't find a thing wrong with the cars. So on one hand I was slightly comforted by that, but on the other hand it was pretty disconcerting.
At one point during all of this I thought: wouldn't hagalaz, or the Tower, have made more sense??? But in the end my car was fine. It didn't break down, I wasn't forced to call a tow truck. And based on what I read about others' accounts, it seems that there is indeed some mystery at play - not particularly pleasant mystery, but not a show-stopper either. Hey, maybe my car was telling me never to consider fast food again ;-)