Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I've got to wonder about the things I can get used to sometimes.

Dan headed out for D.C. today, giving me access to his car while the car I normally drive is in the shop, thus (barring some major long-term work on my car) saving us the cost of a rental car for the period of time he will be away. Yes, I am married to a man who would squeeze pennies to a bloody pulp to get more value from them, if he could. It is because of that consideration that I have been driving this car in the state that it is in for the past few weeks, just so we don't have to incur that rental car expense. The "check engine" light hasn't been on, but the other problems this car has had have had me worried:
  • driver's side power window doesn't work at all
  • the struts on the rear driver's side of the car are probably near gone
  • the brakes are soft
  • the emergency brake is difficult to set
  • the car has been making a sound that, on its good days, sounds like bicycle wheels with playing cards stuck between its spokes, and, on its bad days, sounds like the drumming intro to a certain hard rock classic amplified to make it ten times louder. I kept waiting for Eddie Van Halen and Co. to jump out of the trunk and accompany me into places like, say, my synagogue or the little guy's school.
I walked into our mechanic's shop with this laundry list of our car's ills and ended up chatting with Dan and the receptionist about all of this stuff, and about how long we've waited to bring the car in. Part of me felt a tad embarrassed at waiting this long, irrationally wishing I could have somehow lessened the noises and the malfunctions in a manner similar to tidying up one's house some before a cleaning lady comes - but I also felt embarrassed at how loud the car must have sounded at times. "I'm surprised more people on the street weren't giving this car the eye as it passed by, because it sounded so loud to me," I mentioned as the receptionist wrote all the bad stuff down on a form.

"I was in a grocery store parking lot last night," Dan said, "and I counted at least three or four other cars making similar noises that nobody batted an eye at."

The receptionist chuckled. "So many people bring their cars in and when we ask them about repairs resulting from the cars hitting potholes, most of them say they don't remember hitting a pothole. I think the conditions of the streets here are so bad, they are probably used to it by now and don't consider it an abnormal occurrence that could contribute to putting their car in the shop."

Certainly is amazing what sorts of things we can all get used to.

And it is certainly worth reexamining what some of us might accept as the norm from time to time, because it seems to me if this city were a car, it'd be up on blocks all the time and one of the signs that we might be rednecks would apply to it: we'd have to mow the grass growing up around it to find it (#83).

Update, 1:03 PM: Speaking of reexamination, any city that allows this kind of thing to happen in a section that is supposed to be its economic bread and butter is asking for trouble. Perhaps Hizzoner the Walking Id wants the city to become a center for these sorts of studies? (yes, I know there are no accompanying pictures with the captions at the bottom of the article, but just reading those captions ought to spur the imagination).

Bayou St John David at Moldy City has some details that explain why Trashanova, aka Sidney Torres, appeared in a commercial during the Super Bowl urging businesses and residential properties with five units or more to start paying for their own trash pickup. Good thing the place we own is a four-plex.

Anudder update, 6:46 PM: "The ludicracy of our system" (thanks for the heads-up, Mr Folse)
Somebody, please tell me if "ludicracy" is really a word. I think she must have meant to say "lunacy", or "ludicrousness". I want to kick myself for being hung up on this point of vocabulary, but something in me doesn't want that to obscure her point any more than it already has been. Irrational feelings have just ruled my day today...


Clay said...

Hey, if you ever get in a real bind and need a hand, I'd be happy to help out. No mechanic, but I know a thing or two about cars.

Leigh C. said...

Turns out we've got brake problems out the wazoo: looks like the brakes more or less came off in the rear or just fell apart and are still somehow attached to the car, the drum on the front left wheel is bad, and there's a crack in a valve on the brakes. Plus, there's a broken strut mount on the left rear wheel.

This ain't gonna be cheap...but then again, getting a new car would be even more expensive.

Clay said...

I'd be very surprised if you had drum brakes on the front wheels. They're more likely to be disk. Crack in what valve?

Who is this mechanic? Do you trust them? Sounds fishy.