Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Henry's Lube Job

I read that high power careers require at least two people, one to have the career and the other to get the groceries (or hire and manage the person who does) and clean the pool (or at least be home for the pool cleaner) and hook up the phone lines (or standby between 9 and 4 waiting for the schmuck who does) and to get the oil changed.  Despite lacking "high power", Huck doesn't have time to do this crap. And what else am I doing but standing around looking like a dirty hamper for time-sucking banality.

Blue celebrates Mardi Gras
Since the Honda dealership can never seem to find my name in their computer (I was once eventually found in "corporate accounts" BECAUSE that was the Only way they could put my name in correctly BECAUSE the computer program deosn't recognize spaces in last names BECAUSE computer programmers are a bunch of crap-heads names Johnson and Johnson who haven't left their mother's basement in 12 years and have no idea there are O'Murphys and Van Cracks BECAUSE we have yet to revolt and slaughter them all BECAUSE we are weak and we continue to let them make us feel small.)  and because I have to make an Appointment and because when I arrive no one knows I'm supposed to be there because, again, no one can find my name in the computer.

So this time, I decided to try the new place near our grocery store (I'd tell you the name, but experience tells me that would just result in a lot of comments from their marketers on my blog).  As I drove up, I almost noticed the flashing yellow lights in the warning center of my brain: Something Is Not Right Here.  And these signals came in the form of Natty Gan hats, tweed cutie pies which I myself own.  "Oh Geez," I said to Blue, "They make them wear demeaning costumes."  But when the grease monkey jogged to my car and handed me a menu, I realized that the hats were actually really HOT!  And I almost asked him if he could perform my lube job by turning around and dipping a la Hefner's bunnies (Listen, I just finished his bio and all this trivia is still floating around my cranium).  No bunny tails, however.

Bummer #1)  that wasn't the guy who serviced my car, he was just the hostesser
Bummer #2) I was informed that at this special establishment, I would be sitting in my car while they worked on it.  Meaning: no sharing a small enclosure with strangers as we take turns attempting to cajole the broken soda fountain to give up the goods.  Meaning: no jogging through wind and cold to a holding tank that stinks of car farts and contains leering strangers.  The bummer is sitting in my car.

He handed me a newspaper and I was good to go.  Until 20 minutes later.  I  was still sitting in my car and I was still waiting my turn.  But Oh!  Turns out that was the good time.

I drive over the pit.  And here is this screen right next to me with four live-action boys-in-hats views.  I can see one bending over the hood and two below, all butt-shots that aren't entirely ready for their close-up, and I realize that this is the oil change of choice for paranoids and undiscriminating gay men.  Here I have the opportunity to monitor their every move and pretend I'm making sure they do it right or just stare at their jumper-clad hinies.  But I don't know what it is they do anyway and I can't see any meaningful details in the grainy butt-cams.  What I do get, however is an earful of eavesdropped "office" politics.  Let's just say the acrostic for TEAM here was, roughly, "Bite Me."

The other problem is that I can feel them working on the car. Beneath me.  Beneath my butt.  And this probably never occured to the man who dreamed up this plan, but the whole operation had a very gynecological exam feel to it and I actually squirmed and tightened.

Well, you say, at least you brought a good book to read.  Fabulous, actually.  Peter Sagal's hilarious and smart "The Book of Vice."  Unfortunately (and here is where this business idea finally makes sense) I was interrupted every 30 seconds with "courtesy offers" and up-sales. I'd stupidly rolled right in to this trap.  I was literally a captive audience and this grease-monkey-cum-wiper-shark kept interrupting the chapter on consumption to encourage new this and new that and flushing 8 different fluids and changing 12 types of filters.

As all trapped animals, I became snarly and started baring my teeth.  And when I said no to another intervention, he says, "Oh, you had that done at your periodical, mandatory 120k money flush?" (I'm paraphrasing).

I don't do those. Because this is how it goes: I bring the car in, even though it works fine.  I am inconvenienced all over town and several hours later, they give it back and it's still just fine but my bank account has a $600 gushing gash in it.  And then three months later, I'm at an oil hange and they suggest I need all my fluids rearranged again.  And I say, "That's impossible! I just had the 80k!"  And they say, "Oh, but we don't do that at the 80k."  "Then what the Hell do you do at the 80k for $600?"  I hiss.  So now, if it's dirty it gets changed and if it's not, we drive on by.

After a while, every time this capped kid opens his mouth, I just yell "NO."  Nancy Reagan would be so proud.  And once I got the rhythm down, I just yelled "NO" through my window every 30 seconds.

By the time we left, my butt was numb.  I'd been sitting in my car for over an hour.  Worse than Seattle rush hour.  I'm kidding, at least I moved 10 feet.  But for all that time, we could have been in Ritzville by now.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent description of how we (and by "we", I mean "women") get ripped off by car people. I've never experienced the stay-in-the-car oil change, however. I'd rather sit in the little dirty lobby and drink bad coffee. I, like you, have learned to say no to all the add-ons I'm told I must have or dire things will happen. A year ago I was charged $400 for a job that my son told me he could have done for $40. So now I ask him to diagnose a potential problem before I do anything. If he says it's OK, then I assume it's OK. Otherwise, routine oil changes only. I hate this reliance on a male point of view, but the truth is, he knows and loves all things mechanical and I don't. Simple fact. Don't want to learn, either.



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