Car Maintenance is not for the Weak

If you don’t know the difference between a peep toe pump and a stiletto, I don’t hold it against you. I feel deeply sorry for you and I question your ability to navigate through life, but I don’t take advantage of your ignorance. Can you say the same car maintenance boy?

A word to wives: The next time you feel frustrated your husband doesn’t do anything, take a deep breath. Because if tomorrow he were gone, you would indeed find out that even though you do the lions share and he expects a marching band and a parade for everything he accomplishes, he does in fact do a whole bunch of shit you don’t realize. Like car maintenance.

I love cars. I love their style, their speed, their delicious smelling leather interiors and wood trim. They are amongst the sexiest things on earth. But along with every car should come someone to take care of it. And that someone should not be me. Now that The Norwegian has been gone over a year, I don’t get as many breaks. It really is not Oldest Chicken’s responsibility to take my car in to the shop; although if he were a good son, just saying. He’s taken it a number of times in the past year. On Saturday, I knew it was my turn.

I add it to my new skill list. Stuff that was The Norwegian’s purview. Things like grass, navigating Ace Hardware, garages, spiders and driving at night. For the record, not happy about any of these but they must be done and as I would rather have shoes and dresses than a man servant, they fall to me.

It’s not that I have never taken a car in for service. I have. Didn’t like it. Never went back. A discovery made Saturday is that very little has changed. According to the 17-year-old behind the counter eight hundred things on my car need fixing, right now. All I want is an oil change and to know why my tire pressure light is on. Seems simple enough, no? The tire pressure light, it seems to me, is on because there is a problem with my tire pressure. Wouldn’t that involve adding air and a possible rotation? Oil change is an oil change–the little oil lamp is blazing on the dash so I know it’s time.

“Linda?” the barely pubescent young one calls from behind his glass enclosure. I’m sorry–you appear to be younger than my youngest chicken. Do you not have a mother or have you chosen to ignore her admonitions regarding calling an elder, well slightly elder but still hot, by her first name. “Linda?” he calls again and looks around the waiting room oblivious to the fact that I am alone. I look under my row of chairs wondering if there are customers hiding amongst us. “Yes?” I say.

“Okay, here’s what I see.” First off, you see nothing little man. I see through the window that the guy actually working on my car just handed you a piece of paper. You see nothing. I am old–I see everything, including your bad manners and your droopy drawers. You, evidently, have no intention of attending the prom this year do you?

The list includes a new air filter, a battery as mine is functioning at a dangerous five percent, coolant, various flushes and an engine wash. After each one, I say a polite no thank you. I do renig on the air filter as it actually is pretty gross. Although who knows if it was really mine or the one he pulls out for silly girls to make them gasp and buy a new one. At the third go around, I put my hand out, with a no, thanks, I just want the oil change and tire rotation. Nothing else thank you.

“What about…?” Hand up again, in front of my face, and a stern, “No,” as if admonishing a naughty puppy. Almost two hundred dollars later I leave, knowing I’ve been ripped off on some level in addition to my dignity. I think of all the things I know that Little Hip Hop does not and all the things I would not try to up charge or frighten him into buying. For instance…

Oh wait. He has one more. I need a special cleaning of my front headlights as they have a film from me washing them too much. This time I laugh aloud. Really? We both smile. He knows it’s time to quit. He realizes he’s hustled me to my limit and no doubt he’s made some commission cash–although I can’t be positive on what. The truth is, he may know how to hustle a widow out of car maintenance money. But I have a whole list of crap I know just from being old and I promise every car maintenance boy I won’t use your lack of knowledge to take advantage. I may not pass on my pearls of wisdom however. Shall we review?

I know that if car maintenance boy pulled up his pants, high school girls might notice the shape of his backside and be appreciative. Strike one car maintenance boy. I know that if he acted like he wanted to help a poor old widow fix her car instead of acting like she is a fool, he may have hustled even more money from her pocket. Strike two. I also know that even though this was a job of The Norwegian, I should be able to go in and be given the benefit of the doubt. I have no pride. I’ll tell you I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ll ask you straight out what an air filter is and whether I really
need one at all.

If the shoe were on the other foot, on what item would I needlessly up charge car maintenance boy? Certainly not a belt. That I would throw in for free so the next girl doesn’t have to look at his boxers and hairless ass. Just sayin.


3 thoughts on “Car Maintenance is not for the Weak”

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