What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Tire Rotation

Like women, cars need maintenance. That's a fact that found its place firmly ensconced in the back of my mind when I first took up driving, but it moved to the front like a bad headache when I first had to change the oil. Or rather, had to pay to change the oil. Greasy hands and the smell of a car's underbelly are deemed too pedestrian for starving college students who work at General Mills, so we hire that sort of thing out to uniformed professionals who can afford to eat.

If changing the oil was a headache, tire rotation was Gusii Trepanation. For those of you who are deathly curious, but for some reason don't want to click on the link (get DSL, you dial-up Baby Boomer), a Gusii Trepanation is a surgery designed to relieve cranial stress wherein (and this is where it gets gross) a hole is drilled in the skull. The practice is based on the same ideology as the blood leeches that killed our first president, except that it is still used today.

So maybe tire rotation isn't Gusii Trepanation, but it isn't Office Supplies either.

Please tell me that one doesn't need any explanation. Thank you.

I found myself at my local mechanics shop, watching as my precious wheels were lifted slowly above an oily cement surface and as several young men looking like the bumpkins in a Rodney Atkins music video (minus the Skoal cans) scrambled around like a pitt stop in slow motion. Very slow motion. I sat in the establishment's under-furnished waiting room for just under an hour, occupied only by a game show so stupid it was picked up by the Discovery Channel and some car magazines that depress readers with all the horsepower they don't and never will have.

When an front desk attendant finally mispronounced my name, I got up with a relieved sigh and extended my had to a young man who looked too young to support the hair on his chin but compensated for his youth with a very earnest demeanor. The complimentary tire rotation was complete, but the mechanics had discovered a number of problems with my car in the process of moving the rubber. Apparently my brakes were worn down almost to nothing, my alignment more crooked than Jessica Simpson's pre-surgery nose (my words, not the attendant's) and my shocks were, well, shot. The entire situation could be resolved for the whopping sum of five hundred bucks.

Deep breath. A pain that was almost physical started tingling in my toes, exactly the way Colbie Caillat didn't intend. The car had run so well on the way in. The rotation was supposed to be routine. I hadn't felt anything wrong with the alignment and my shocks had given me no static when I took the hill where Peltier meets the train tracks at eighty. I had the funds, but the money, in my mind, was already spent elsewhere. Why did cars have to be so expensive? First the Saudis and their gas gouging and now mechanic's mania.

"Would you like to take care of this now?"

I turned to Goatee Boy with a tight smile, glancing down at his nametag in the same motion.

"Actually...Tony...I think I'll shop this around. Thanks for the rotation."

I walked out of the building and to my waiting car with all the confidence I didn't have. On my way home I noticed my car had a new rattle, I could feel an alignment error and my brakes were not as responsive as they used to be - all problems I hadn't noticed an hour and a half earlier. Sigh. "Free" tire rotation, indeed.

Or maybe it's all in my head and these problems were there all along and only now has my attention been drawn to it. Maybe the mechanic had altruistically pointed out a flaw in my car that, if unattended, would have been a danger to me or others on the road. But I think not. Something about Tony's goatee shouted "hood tinkerer" and I don't mean that as a compliment.


no mercy said...

this serves you right for the way you drive. and that mechanic actually got you a good deal. in the car world, $500 is nothing. you might want to get used to it.

ADDguitarboblikeschickens said...

good post. I didn't actually read it, but it was good

Amë said...

Like women...


Yeah, but estimates are usually always a $100 lower then the cost really is.

Anonymous said...

Actually, women and cars are alike in another way: they both will cost you. In the woman world, $500is nothing! So get used to that, too.

fastj humor said...

Nice post, and like bob I didint read it.

adrialien said...

Staples. That was easy.

How is it possible to mispronounce "Cody?"

Smart move to shop around. Which mechanic do you use? Lockeford Auto isn't the cheapest, but they're very honest, and in the car world that's hard to find.
And just so no one else can say it, that's hard to find in the woman world, too.

Amë said...

@fast&bob: Are you two like hyperactive, or something? That wasn't too long of a post, and it definately didn't err on the side of boring.

Christopher Yerziklewski said...

Haha! I totally know what you mean. You never know anything it wrong until they say it is. Then it seems to just appear out of nowhere.