I don't know what it is about Pacific Gardens that makes cars blow up, die,or have nervous breakdowns, but they do, on a frustratingly regular basis.
Now, you'd think with all us environmentalists living here, that wouldn't be such a big deal. We'd all get the bus or ride bicycles or use some other form of green-weenie transportation.
Alas, Nanaimo is almost impossible to get around in without automotive wheels. The transit system here is, as I've noted before, one of the worst in B.C., if not Canada.
Our city rivals San Francisco in its hills, and since much of the road engineering was done in the early days of its history, there are gradients that I'm sure would not be permitted today.
Add to that a rainy climate, a community dominated by widely-separated shopping malls, and a car is an evil necessity.
That can be real problem if your vehicle packs it in, as it did for three different sets of people at Pacific Gardens, including two families with working parents who travel all over the city and the island for their jobs.
But this is the great thing about living here. One of the families put out a call for assistance when their car felt poorly, and had to go their auto mechanic to get fixed.
Then another family's van - purchased only a year ago, after their first one went to car heaven - died. How were they going to get the kids to and from their French immersion school in another part of the city?
After just one e-mail, they each immediately got offers of rides and car keys from their neighbours who were happy to lend their vehicles to help them out.
I'm lucky enough to have a reliable old car that gets me from point A to B, but it's good to know that if it ever conks out, or I decide I shouldn't drive any more, there will be friendly neighbours willing to give me a ride.