The afternoon started out well enough. I had only two things to do. Pick up the car, and get ready for writers' group. Not a bad life. I strolled over to the garage, VISA in hand, chanting the mantra: the more it costs, the more cash back. I don't recommend that as a spending approach, but it works on big ticket involuntaries. I slid the card across the counter and took the hit. $340.70. OK.
I pulled out of the driveway, letting myself forget for the moment that the cooler car is not technically mine. Its zippy little 4-cylinder-self roared appropriately for the sudden grade leading up to High Street. I'd need only a little brake to stop for the light.
The technician would later say, when I pulled back into the yard having left only minutes before, "feel a little soft?" in reference to the brake pedal.
But "a little soft" is not how it felt, when my foot, with 17 years of braking under its belt, found none of the resistance it expected, not until the very last moment before, had it hit the floor having not taken hold, it would have been too late. Soft is not the way it felt. Hollow would be a better word. Or whatever it's called when for a time, everything is gone, everything on the inside and everything on the outside, and what you're thankful for later is that it doesn't last long enough that you have time to think about how this will be the last red light you see, or, of course, all the much worse things that are about to happen and not.
The brakes are OK now. There was air in the system, which apparently keeps the whole business from operating properly. So when you get the brakes worked on, please make sure you take your ride around the parking lot a time or two before you put it on the road.