When Your Ignition Falls Into Your Dash

We squeezed the bus into a narrow, conventional gas station (as opposed to the truck stops we’ve been frequenting). Maile got out and peered up to make sure we didn’t clip the overhang. I put on the parking break, then filled the tank with $400 worth of diesel. Ouch.

My main concern at that point became our exit route: used cars lined the back of the gas station parking lot but I couldn’t cut the corner too close or the minivan we towed behind would hit the gas pump and blow up the entire city of Orange Park. It’s become interesting to me on this trip, though, how just when we think we have all the potential pitfalls in life identified, something completely random happens. Something we never could have imagined. Something immeasurably random.

Something like the entire ignition falling into the dashboard.

* * * * *

I sat in the driver’s seat holding the bus key in my hand, staring at the new hole in the dash, perfectly round. I would not have felt any more shocked if a rabbit disappeared in there after the ignition (“I’m late, I’m late”).

An empty hole. Where the ignition used to be. My first response (not usually the smartest one) immediately shouted, “Quick, reach in there and grab it!” So I stuck my index finger into the hole. And my finger got stuck.

Maile stood outside the bus, waiting to help me navigate the minefield of used cars and gas pumps. She looked at me impatiently. What was taking me so long? Why hadn’t I started the bus? Laughter crept up on me like the wind, or an inconsequential birthday, and I waved her inside. She opened the bus door.


“The ignition just fell into the dashboard, and now my finger is stuck,” I said, laughter erupting out of me. She looked at me like I may have lost touch with reality.


Just then I gave a mighty pull and yanked my finger out. A thick layer of skin around my knuckle fell down into the dash, joining the ignition. Now what?

* * * * *

I aimed the flashlight down the hole. The ignition and its accompanying wires rested three or four inches below where it should have been. I got on my back below the steering wheel and peered up. I could just about see it. Maile gave me a chopstick and I tried to push the ignition up – she sat poised with tweezers, a Mr. Miyagi, waiting to snag it. Not working.

Eventually I found a few small screws and took them out. That particular piece of dash popped off. The ignition fit right back into its rightful place.

* * * * *




All things to keep in mind when the unexpected take place.

14 Replies to “When Your Ignition Falls Into Your Dash”

  1. I’ve been waiting for this post. Awesome. The journey is awesome, but you sure do hit the unexpected. It’s just like regular life at home when something goes wrong, but when you’re trying to travel somewhere, it’s somehow more intense… at least it seems that way to me.

  2. It is so great that you are able to laugh in that situation. I feel like that makes the situation more of a fun adventure than a potential disaster, even if it might have been one.

    $400 of diesel? Yuck!

    1. I must agree with Jerry’s take, hits the nail on the head! (even the gas price reaction). But Shawn, your writing abilities most certainly seem to be pointing towards humor. I have just recently become privilged to receive your emails, and thereby making you a part of my life. I enjoy hearing from you, and the things that keep happening to you show just how well you are able to cope with life (your wonderful wife must be leading a fun life, as well as a frustrating one, and she most surely loves you without boundaries), and all this certainly give you interesting things to write about. I must confess. I sat here shaking with laughter while reading it, because it was humerous, and because I have had so many daysjust like that – I am sure everyone reading it must have felt the same. This ability you have to convey your thoughts and feelings makes you a great writer. Keep it up. Joyce

  3. One of those situations that “we’ll look back on someday and laugh…but not right now.”
    Great that you were able to laugh about it as it was happening.

    1. just love your blogs, especially the ones that me laugh, when you get past the anger and frustration of the situation, and accept it and the two of you laugh. when can we hear from Malie again? joyce

  4. One of those situations that “we’ll look back on someday and laugh…but not right now.”
    Great that you were able to laugh about it as it was happening.

    Sounds like duct tape is going to be your new best friend on the trip, too.

  5. Well, I’m obviously just catching up (been sick for a few days so I’m home and have the time), but you seem a little behind on the blog there Shawn. March 8th? Get with it. :) And I want pictures of Willy. Inside and out. Details.

      1. I don’t know, that’s what it reads for me. That your last update was March 8. Maybe I got it wrong.

        Now THAT is a bus. You weren’t kidding. Looks like a tour bus. Maybe we can get some video of you all singing Tiny Dancer as you lumber down the road.

        You’re quite welcome. Just posted a review on Amazon. I said nice things.

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