Act I: The Adventure begins
I was driving back to school on the highway. It was a Monday afternoon, and it was an easy ride. Nothing special, apart from an insignificant drizzle. When suddenly, the windshield wipers decided to start an arm wrestling competition with me as their captive audience. They bulged up, held the tension, and then CRACK. The right arm had won this round and went on its way, while a defeated left arm lay still on the windshield.
To be honest, I wouldn’t care much about the affairs of windshield wipers, if it hadn’t been for that seemingly innocent drizzle. The raindrops were small, but the light from the cars was catching. And as it got darker, the catches glared in your face.
I admit I was getting nervous. But no need to panic. Germany is full of rest stops. However, lo and behold, this stretch of road was suspiciously void of such sights. Of all places in the country, when you needed a stop… this went on forever. (Someone more objective might have only counted 3 minutes, but I was the one driving, so that wouldn’t matter!) Finally, a parking lot, a no-name place. No gas station, no diner, not many lights, just a few cars.
I got out and took a look at the scene. The screw seemed to be a bit loose. All it should need was a wrench. But where would I get one the right size – out here?
I looked around. Cars, a guy smoking a cigarette, a truck… and blinking orange lights?
The lights belonged to a construction truck further up. They gleamed promise to me. I walked up to the construction workers and asked if they happened to have a wrench I could borrow. To my joy, they did! Some people think angels have wings, but in that moment I felt like angels should be depicted in bright orange constructor uniforms. I was able to tighten the screw and get the wiper to work again. Relieved, I thanked them for the wrench and drove on. I thought that was done.
Accept it wasn’t. The wiper didn’t hold up for more than 5min. Not tight enough, I guessed. A shroud of dissapointment came and went before my eyes. But I kept going, praying that the rain would be generously absent. And it was, thank God! I got home to my appartment.
Act II: The obligatory Low Point
On Tuesday, I went up to the janitor’s workshop.
I told him of what happened so far and had him take a look at it for me. One look from him, and my hopes for an immediate repair were displaced: “You can tighten it all you want, the base is cracked.”
I saw it now, too. Blatantly obvious. How could I have missed that?
He said I would need a new part and recommended a shop three villages up. “But don’t go before 2:30PM, they take a long lunch break.” Work hours are more relaxed in villages.When the time came I had my coat and everything ready. But when I was about to walk out the door: Snow. White soft powder… I might be able to take risks, but driving blind was not one of them. Involuntary suspense.
Act III: The Wednesday Final
Next morning at 9AM, I went to search for that shop. The janitor’s directions had been dead simple: when you come into the village, it’s on your right.
But which end of the village? I drove all the way through and found no shop. I wound up the industrial area and still nothing. Asking for directions would be a good idea… I pulled out my phone. I briefly contemplated my stupidity in matters of navigation and followed Google’s voice. It gave you detailed descriptions in real time, showing you where you were the whole way. But even still, it took a few tries. And a dead end and an imbiss parking lot later, I finally found it. And surprise, it was exactly where the janitor had said it would be.
In my defense, it was a hole-in-the-wall place. And the sign wasn’t that easily visible. But I digress.
I asked for the spare part of the windshield wiper. The lady gave it to me. And I drove back three villages to mount the part. But when I opened the box, I realized that I had bought the wrong part. So I went back in the car, three villages up, back to the shop to get the right part. The lady probably thought I was kidding, but she searched her computer inventory – only to tell me that she had no access to this part. I would need to go to the next Mercedes dealer. Because of course I would.
So I got in the car again and drove up another two villages to the “big city” Dillenburg. It’s not actually big, but compared to the rest of these towns it is. They even have a tiny cinema and a McDonalds. And a Mercedes dealer.
By now it was 11AM. Hopefully, the dealers would have the part. And true, they had access. But it wasn’t in stock. They would have to order it. I would have to come back at 4PM.
So, back in the car. Back five villages. Then, a few hours later, back in the car again, back to the Mercedes dealer in Dillenburg.
And finally, the hunt for the missing windshield wiper arm was complete! It was my pride and honor to hold the part in my hands. The journey to get here had lead up to this. This whole time had felt like an epic journey. Or like an action comedy, and I had been the dumb main character who got caught up in a wild goose chase.
I now had the privilege to take it home and attach it in the freezing cold. This was the last stretch of the third act: A 15-minute repair seemed like an hour, at the end of which I could no longer feel my fingers. But this battle, too, was eventually won. And as I went inside, I slowly became aware of my surroundings: It was 5PM. And my hands hurt. And my eyes were heavy. But I was happy. All that work had paid off. And the journey had been hilarious. And as I sat down with a cup of hot tea, I thought of how this would make a good story, someday.