Ugly Volvo Wednesdays!

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

Chapter 44—All I Want For Christmas Is a New Turbo…

My mechanic felt particularly bad about the timing of the recent repairs so, in addition to my bill I also got not one, but two, loaves of complimentary Voertbroed. He also threw in a tiny jar of fancy mustard, and some pickled herring. I guess he wanted me to really experience what being left with a bad taste in my mouth was truly like. That pickled herring was as close to tasting ass as I ever want to get: there is not enough mustard in the world to drown out that calibre of putrid nastiness. It took a whole loaf of the Voertbroed to cleanse my palate.   The Swedes may have mastered the car, but they still had a ways to go in terms of palatable festive foods.

Despite the financial trauma of recent repairs, I still managed to make every effort to enjoy the lead up to the Holiday season. Driving in the snow was still fun for me, and now that my car resumed its no-fail-not start regimen, life was good once again. In addition to all the other TLC I gave my beautiful black car, I had also started allowing for a longer “warm up idle” and “cool down idle” during the colder months.

It was during one of these cool down idles when we noticed the new “that doesn’t sound good” sounds. It wasn’t really a clunk, nor a pinging. The best way to describe the sound was to call it a “grunting” sound.   That was how I described it to my mechanic before I held my cell phone up to my car for him to hear for himself. He agreed that it was more of a grunt sound than anything. He also said something about his predictions regarding the turbo having come to pass. My mechanic is not just a translator—he is also a poet and a psychic.

Bright, cold and early the next day I made my way to the shop with my grunting car. It was a difficult drive because it was just so cold that every little thing seemed to creak, groan, and grunt. My car seemed to take forever to warm up. My fingers and toes were numb. I kept sitting alternately on my hands because, thankfully, the seat warmers were working well. My teeth were chattering, and my hands and toes all felt as if they had been hit several times by a sledge hammer by the time I got to the garage. I was in excruciating discomfort and crying shamelessly.

Again, the technicians and mechanics in the shop seemed to drop what they were doing to rally around me. I got another mug of hot chocolate (sans rum), and was propped up beside one of the shop heaters. They set the shop heater on “Hawaii-Tan” and let me defrost while they inspected my car. By the time the sensation comfortably returned to my extremities, they had the latest prognosis: the turbo was cracked and leaking oil into the antifreeze. The oil contaminated antifreeze gummed up the coolant system, and consequently impeded the heating/cooling system. Total repairs would include replacing the turbo, water pump, related hoses and belts. As an added bonus, I would receive countless radiator flushes, and new coolant.

When my mechanic asked if I had any questions, I lamely inquired if Santa was in the habit of bringing new turbos to good little boys and girls old enough to own and drive their own cars. My mechanic’s eyes got unusually bright as he shrugged his shoulders. In an uncharacteristic move, my mechanic let me drive home one of the most prestigious cars on their “for sale list”. Perhaps Santa didn’t really leave new turbos under the tree, but at least I had the privilege of driving a vintage Jaguar around town over Christmas, and while my car was in for repairs. I was learning, shamefully, that a little pity—properly cultivated—could go a long way. Properly speaking, I should have felt just a little dirty, or shameful driving away in the lot’s best Jag’, but it is damn near impossible to feel anything but fan-fucking-awesome when you are behind the wheel of a Jaguar.

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