It had been dumping buckets of rain through the night, and now there was a river in the street in front of my house. Lily was taking Judah to a playdate with his two friends from school, Gus and Peter. A short while after she left, Lily called and told me the car died. Luckily she took my VW Golf instead of her VW Passat, because the Passat has the baby car seat in it while the Golf only has the kid seat. I quickly bundled up the little bundle of joy (that would be Blaise) and drove out into the rain.
The Golf was on the side of Manhattan Beach Blvd in Manhattan Beach. Lily waved at me as I drove by. I made a legal California U-turn and pulled up behind the Golf. Judah and Lily climbed into the Passat while I tried to see if the Golf would go. By my astonishment, the Golf started. I pushed down on the gas pedal and the car died. I turned the key and the car started again. This time I decided to just let the car move forward in idle mode, and off we went. At around 3 mph.
I turned the corner into some business park and looked for a place to park so that the AAA tow truck could get the car. Apparently the business park didn't want any random broken-down cars around, because not only were there NO PARKING signs everywhere, but a security cop lady drove up to me and said "You can't park around here." I told her that I understood that, but the car was about to die. She seemed resigned to the fact that the car would be towed soon enough anyway, so she drove off. About 10 seconds later the AAA guy showed up and checked out the car.
In my novice mechanic mind, I had pegged the thing as a blown spark plug, a distributor problem. The AAA guy asked "Did you drive the car through a puddle?" I told him that I wasn't the one driving the car when it died. He told me there was a good reputable mechanic in the area that he'd take the car to. But I wanted to try this little Swiss repair shop that was walking distance from my house, so asked him to tow it there instead. He hooked up the towing contraption and off we went.
As I drove the Passat following the tow truck and the Golf, I asked Lily "Soooo... did you happen to drive the car through any big puddles?" She said "Well, I did drive through this big one to make Judah laugh." Case solved. Judah really enjoyed watching daddy's car getting towed. We soon arrived at the Swiss repair shop, and they told me they'd call me when they had a diagnosis.
Late that afternoon I called the Swiss repair shop because it seemed too close to closing time for comfort. I figured they didn't get my number correctly. The mechanic told me they were still trying to sort it out, and they'd call me. About an hour later they called me and told me "I don't know what to tell you sir, but there's nothing wrong with the car. It runs fine." Wahoo! I walked over, picked up the car, and drove it home without repairing anything. Somebody up there must like me.