Ugly Volvo Wednesdays!


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

Chapter 43— If Only It Was Just the Blinker Fluid

We managed to get the car started—thanks to my dad’s charm as a mediator, and the power of his battery booster. I didn’t want to take any chances, I drove straight to my mechanic, and my dad followed me just in case there were any subsequent stalls. The drive to the garage was so uneventful, I was beginning to wonder if maybe there was some fluke, and I had over reacted. This second guessing was further enhanced by my beautiful black car’s flawless starting seventy-five times in a row.

All the guys in the garage had gathered around. I must have still looked a little shaken because I found myself being doted on. One mechanic made me a cup of hot chocolate, another mechanic slipped some rum in there, yet a third mechanic saw the splash of rum and insisted he share his hot lunch (it was a hardy Swedish meatball sub-melt—loaded). I was assured that things would be okay, and that it was probably nothing. Without my mechanic to offer any kind of concise translation, however, I was unconvinced.

I decided to leave the car with them overnight, and I called my boyfriend to come pick me up. My dad graciously invited himself to stay at the shop awhile and ‘help’ with the diagnosis so he encouraged me to go on without him. My dad was a good dad, and diehard devote. As we left the shop I heard him theorize about how perhaps the problem rested with corrosion that is typical of cars that are shipped from Sweden. Bless my dad for his creative revisionism and bless the good men at the shop who tried their best to explain to him that his beloved imports were now assembled on North American soil.

When I told one of my buddies from work about my car, he asked sarcastically, “What? Run out of blinker fluid again?” He was something of a sceptic when it came to garages and consequently, did all of his own mechanical work. He refused to drive any car less than ten years old because he felt quite strongly that many of the new electronic aspects of cars were part of a larger conspiracy on behalf of the vehicle and repair industry to gauge the consumer. He was convinced the shop I took my car to were run by the kind of guys who sell “blinker fluid” and other non-existent parts or services to the naïve, and/or female car owners.

I was hoping for a little more compassion, so I had no witty comeback in the queue. Therefore my response was a powerful combination of the word “No!” and my best pouty face. It was a good thing I dusted off that pouty face, because it turns out that I would need it again later when I was informed of the latest demands of my high maintenance car. I asked my mechanic how the problems he listed missed his notice during my recent “preventative maintenance” appointment. I asked him sulkily why my meticulous maintenance of this car did not prevent this. I was in a petulant mood and was desperate to get all the huffy out of my system before I drove my car. My mechanic was calm and soothing as he explained the random nature of dysfunction when it comes to the particular problems in this particular situation. I was only slightly mollified. Thankfully I could fully mollify myself with the warm and fuzzy knowledge that I finally had a decent comeback for my jaded colleague: “If only it was just the blinker fluid! I need a new ignition sensor module–I think that’s what it’s called–and possibly either a new fuel pump sensor, or a new oh-two sensor”.

His response shifted from sceptical to befuddled, “O-2 as in oxygen sensor? Really? That seems a little odd given the problems you described…hmmmm—let me think on it and I will get back to you on that!”

He could think all he wanted to, I really wasn’t overly concerned with whether or not he concurred with the diagnosis. I was in withdrawal—I missed my beautiful black girl, and I wanted her fixed ASAP, so I could drive her again soon. My desperation to drive her was so intense I hardly batted an eye when they quoted to me the price of repairs. My boyfriend, on the other hand, wobbled a little. I am not sure if it was the price, or the foreboding and cryptic remarks one of the mechanics made about my turbo. Either way, he was wise enough to withhold any kind of comment that might have been construed as not supportive.

Later, when I had abated my need for Swedish-brand speed, I looked at the bill and wept. I felt so very cheated and betrayed: how could my beautiful black car do this to me? What did I do to upset her this time, and just when things were going so well. I realized then, somewhat bitterly, that the only light at the end of the tunnel was a speeding train, and that reprieve I thought I had was no more substantial than my dream of paying off my car within the first five years of ownership.


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