Ugly Volvo Wednesdays!

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Crazy B*tch (Memoirs of a Lemon Lover In Recovery)

Chapter 41—I Know My Mechanic’s Number By Heart—Is That Bad?

In this day and age where phones have more “memory” than many of the computers we used in while in high school, it is not uncommon for one to utilize the speed dial function (or app) on his/her phone. I was not one of those people. I was blessed with (in addition to insanity) a talent for remembering numbers. I memorized my mechanics numbers (home, work, and cell) approximately one week after my three and a half year anniversary with my car.

Sometimes, while at work, I would get a message to call my mechanic. The secretary taking the message would seem a little perplexed when I finished the number she read aloud. That’s the thing about genius: it inspires envy sometimes. My mechanic did not seem to envy my genius, his wife, however, was nonplussed. I could hear the resigned tone in her voice whenever she called her husband to the phone. When I expressed concerns about her feeling suspicious or jealous he just laughed and said, “Well, that would be a refreshing change!” Again, having never had the experience of taking my car to a shop, I just assumed that there were many people like me, who called their mechanics at home, on the cell, and sometimes even at work.

On days when my repairs were set to exceed the shop hours, my mechanic would swing by my house with one of the character cars they used as courtesy cars, and pick up my car. Later in the evening, I would swing by his place, settle accounts, and drive my car home. He had the most relaxed family ever. Before long, his daughters would let me in, and resume their school work, the dog would rush to the door without a bark and lick me within an inch of my life. Their family dog was a beautiful Rottweiler, who allegedly was trained to be some kind of vicious guard dog. According to my mechanic, the dog would bark and growl at just about anyone who landed on the doorstep. Apparently, most people were terrified of the dog, and consequently, they would often restrain the dog whenever anyone visited. At first, I was pretty sure my mechanic was exaggerating, but then I saw the dog bark and growl incessantly the mechanic’s visiting (and aged) mom. A very loud five minutes passed before the dog could be placated and quieted. My mechanic seemed a little baffled by the mutual affinity shared with his dog. I never really understood either, after all, it was pretty strange that dog treated me like a member of the family. I became known to my mechanic and his family as the “Rotty-Whisperer”.

One day, I was out with one of my friends on a shopping expedition. It was one of those rare occasions where I had money that wasn’t earmarked for car repairs. I was set to celebrate by buying new shoes. As we were slinging on the sling-backs, my friend was telling me about this weird noise her car was making. She seemed really concerned, so I whipped out my phone and dialled my mechanic. My friend sat and witnessed our familiar and witty rapport with a confounded and blatant awe. I remember wondering absently, what she was staring at, but I kept quizzing my mechanic on the possible source of that sound. When I got off the phone she scrunched up her face and asked me incredulously, “Did I just see you dial your mechanic’s number from memory?” Not only did I confirm her observation, I also boasted my ability to do the same with both his home and cell numbers.

She argued that while my talent might seem impressive, the fact that the numbers belonged to my car mechanic was just kind of weird. Weird? Me? What madness! Why wouldn’t I know the guy’s numbers, he was, after all, my trusted mechanic? She argued that I might be the only person she knew who did that. I agreed, mostly because many people relied heavily on speed dial and the art of knowing numbers by rote was something of a dying hobby. I looked at my friend in utter disbelief when she claimed that she didn’t even know her mechanic’s name let alone any of his phone numbers. She argued vehemently that her way was the normal way. She overtly hinted that “nice”, “normal”, (sane), girls did not have that kind of strangely familiar and regular contact with their mechanics. In that moment I started to become seriously concerned that my friend might be having a stroke. Was she serious? Did she really think it was wise that she not know her mechanic’s name, let alone his contact info? I couldn’t imagine a world where I couldn’t phone or drop by my mechanic’s house. Seriously, what kind of parallel universe was my friend living in?

My friend found my familiarity with my mechanic so creepy that she flat out refused to hear any of the information he gave me about her car.  She said something about how the info made her feel “creeped out” and “kind of dirty”.  Her whole shift in attitude put a real damper on our shopping adventure.  I totally lost my shoe shopping mojo thanks to her tightly wrapped ways.   I decided to leave her to her crazy imagination and spend my spare money on some nice new seat covers for my car.  After all, ergonomics is every bit as important as fuel economy, and safety.

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