Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The auto mechanic mystery

Despite my ever-present intentions of learning how the hell cars work (and yes, I do have them)--like what oil is for and why it needs to be changed, how to change a tire, and what that embarassing green puddle is that my car leaves wherever it's parked for more than a few hours--they've kind of stayed in the 'intentions' phase without ever moving on to the 'no really' phase or the 'so how the hell do I actually accomplish this' phase. Hopefully, I'll sell my car in a few months and they can languish there forever, but until then, it's going to be a constant battle between my bitterness over the accruing repair bills and my dogged determination to not fix anything else. I've had that determination for awhile, actually, but it turns out that if I need the car to do anything beyond shade the area immediately under it, I have to buy it a new battery. I have to fix a gushing oil leak. I have to get new brake pads (and while, admittedly, those are more for discouraging the car's operations, I have personal experience with what happens when they give out, and doubt I'll be so lucky next time). If I want to drive 2500 miles in it, I need all of the above, plus that new stereo, which I'm totally taking with me when I get rid of the car. Pioneer kicks ass.

However, with every additional car-related expenditure, I have an increasing desire to nod knowingly when the mechanic tells me what's wrong and what needs to be done to fix it. I could make brilliant, insightful suggestions that turn a $500 bill for parts and labor into a $10 trip to the hardware store for a few bolts and some duct tape. In short, I need to become friggin' MacGyver. Because then, when I get a call from the shop telling me that my car won't be ready for another day even when I was told just this morning that it would be done this afternoon, I would know why. Even better than that, I could shoot the messenger with a biting, well-informed bitchfest that makes them sit up and take notice. And rather than hanging up with a "well if you're so smart, why don't you fix it", they would be cowed into doing my bidding and call everyone there to get to work on the car immediately and actually have it done when they said they would.

In the meantime, I'll just keep hanging out here in Park City. I'm not actually inconvenienced by these repairs, because I kind of wanted to spend another day here anyway, but man, the day I am, then I'll really be mad. Plus, with the Onion's always-timely news and information, I've already begun my education on how to care for my car.

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