M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, January 29, 2003  

Quitcher Bitchin’

Trash’s car is fixed now. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t broken, as it turns out. It had been making this noise like an electric pencil sharpener trying to put a point on a length of iron rebar. You hear a noise like that under your hood, and the primitive reptile part of your brain is going to scream right along with it, telling you you’re driving a time bomb.

I brought it to my dad last spring, and he gave it a listen and assured my primitive reptile brain that it was just a tiny broken part on a spinny thing that a belt runs past. The car could run forever in that condition. Obviously I didn’t let him fix it, because who doesn’t want a car that’ll run forever? Besides, even if it did break, we always had my car.

Of course, last week’s events shook that worldview somewhat, and that reptile brain started seeming less primitive. And one probably shouldn’t ignore primitive reptile brain warnings when the cold is turning pedestrians into ice mummies and leaving them scattered on sidewalks all over town anyway. That’s the kind of situation where the primitive reptile brain really shines, in fact. So, on the theory that a tiny broken part on Trash’s car would be cheaper to fix than a transmission on mine, I brought it in to the dealer. Not only did they want more than Saturn wanted to fix my transmission, they told me that if I didn’t replace that whole section of the engine, it could seize up and leave me stranded on the side of the road to become permafrost while my primitive reptile brain stuck its fingers in its ears and went “neener neener” at me. Could be a week, could be a month, but sooner or later I’d be screwed. And he was right, but not in the way he meant—and then, only of I listened to him. But I wasn’t comfortable blowing it off while my car was still in “forward only” mode. That’s the thing about shady automotive service guys. They speak fluent primitive reptile brain.

I passed the dealer’s advice along to my dad, while my primitive reptile brain asked him why, if the car wasn’t a time bomb, there was an LED display with big red numbers on it. My dad stood by his original diagnosis but allowed that we probably shouldn’t drive it to Iowa. He agreed to take a look at it over this past weekend. He and my mom picked the car up on Friday night, at which time I was still blissfully unaware that sixteen hours later I’d be stranded by the side of the road anyway.

Dad looked at the car again, again assured me that the metallic grinding screaming din under the hood was a mere flaw in aural cosmetics and that those LED numbers were just an ordinary clock. But he’d fix the noise anyway. And he has, at considerably less cost to myself than if I’d paid the dealer a thousand dollars to do it like they recommended.

In fact, the replacement part was about twenty-five dollars.

Considering I got not one but two thousand-dollar auto repair estimates last week, I’m in pretty good shape on the car situation now. I could pay my dad eight hundred dollars for labor and still come out ahead. Especially since he wouldn’t take it.

Okay, no don’t be e-mailing me asking me to get my dad to fix your cars for you. It won’t work. Unless you’re one of my sisters, I guess. I can probably put in a word for you then.

* * *

Thinking back over the last several days, I’m a little concerned about this site’s somewhat negative (dare I say, whiny?) tone as of late. I’ve been doing all this bitching about the house, the cars, the cell phone, blah di blah di blah. I just hope it’s clear that a lot of the complaining is exaggerated for effect. Looking at the triviality of the stuff I go on about, it should be fairly apparent that I have a pretty good life going here. Don’t think that I don’t realize how fortunate I am to have a house, a car, a cell phone, blah di blah di blah. I couldn’t make up this material without them.

If you want to see some complaining that isn't unfounded, go read a blog by an Iraqi political prisoner or something.

posted by M. Giant 2:53 PM 0 comments


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