something like this happens: after four days of freaking out about my car not starting; three calls to AAA; three strangers solicited to help push my car up a hill so that I could jump it by rolling it down; various discussions with Jam Guy, my sister-in-law, and the AAA technicians about whether it's the starter or ignition switch or battery; one call to Jam Guy dissolved in tears because after getting the car jumped to drive it to the mechanic's I found that the mechanic's lot was blocked off by the Adams Avenue Roots and Folk Street Festival; and several rides bummed from considerate friends--I brought the car to my super-honest, super-amazing mechanic shop, and was called today with a diagnosis.
Basically, the clutch pedal has to be floored in order for the car to start. This I knew. What I didn't know is that my driver's side carpet was bunched up underneath the clutch pedal, preventing it from being fully depressed. All my worries about the engine bits, and as it turns out it was all about some rumply linens. My bad housekeeping will keep biting me in the ass, even in my car.