Update: this morning I decided to drive to the gym and work on the off chance that my mechanic (which is like a block from my office) could see the car today. Well, I’m happy to report your thoughts and prayers worked :P The light has gone away on its own! For now...
I think I have an idea of what happened. The car had already gotten the engine power reduced malfunction like 6 months ago and it returned some sort of VANOS code. They checked for crimped vacuum hoses but didn’t find any. I’m guessing the same error state ocurred but slightly worse so it threw more of a fit. So this is a repair that’s definitely coming up but I think it’s not too bad (should be under $500 all in I think, even with SF’s $190/hour rate). For now, I’ll let it soldier on.
Not much else to add... I was popping over to a friend’s when I got a “soft” CEL (half engine sign, power reduced, etc.). I turned it off and back on and it went away, but a block later I got the same, along with the “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” illuminated.
Car drives just fine, I can’t detect any symptoms (drove softly after so who knows). Keep me in your prayers I guess.