have a pretty good car, meaning it does not have much mechanical
trouble. But even first-rate cars need the oil changed, the
fluids checked, the tire pressures equalized, and the brakes
checked for wear. I think that is called "routine
maintenance" in mechanical language.
So, I called the other day and made an
appointment to take it in for service. When it comes to cars, I
seemed to be blessed with an uncanny ability to have things go
amiss. As usual, disaster was but a day away, only I did not
know this yet. Naively, I dropped off my car at the dealership
in the morning thinking I would give them the whole day to work
on it and I would pick it up on my way home.
At noon I received a call at the office: "I
just wanted to let you know that we are running behind
schedule," said the service person.
I threw the telephone across the room! "No,
not again!" I groaned.
Thatís what I wanted to do at any rate. What I
actually did was say, "Okay, thank you for calling". I
figured they still had five hours and surely that was enough
time for routine maintenance.
At 3 p.m., I received another call. "I
donít think we can get to your car today," said the voice
at the other end, "I hate to have to ask you to bring it
"If you hate to ask me to bring it back,
then FIX IT!" I shrieked, slamming down the receiver, and
kicking the trash can across my cubical.
Well, thatís what I wanted say. What I really
said was, "The oil -- can you just change the oil and
filter? It is 2,000 miles past due!"
"Okay, we will change the oil", he
agreed, as I wept tears of grateful joy.
"Iíll be there at 5 oíclock," I
At five I showed up at the car dealership,
hoping for the best. The invoice showed that they had actually
changed the oil. I did a little celebration dance in the middle
of the service department floor like a football player who has
just scored a touchdown.
Well, thatís what I felt like doing. What I
really did was pay the bill and ask for the keys.
They couldnít find the keys.
"YOU DONíT HAVE THE KEYS?" I
controlled myself nicely.
They checked the little hooks where the keys
should be. They looked in the car. They disappeared into the
back to check with mysterious, unseen mechanics and technicians.
I went in the little room with the plastic
furniture and burned coffee and waited, and waited, and waited.
I had wrenched my back about week before and it was killing me.
I wanted to go home.
"For heavenís sake, people! Iím a sick
old woman. Find my keys!"
An hour later, the guy came in, "Iím
sorry, but we just canít find your keys".
"Do I need to call someone to bring my
"That might be a good idea."
"YOU IDIOTS! Not only did you NOT fix my
car, you LOST my keys! How DUMB can you be"? I beat him
over the head with my walking cane and kicked his lifeless body
to a pulp. That would teach him a lesson.
Thatís what I FELT like doing. Instead, I
called someone to bring my extra set of keys and waited another
thirty minutes until they got there.
On the way home, a warning message on the
dashboard flashed, "Oil life remaining 30%". They
didnít change the oil? I couldnít believe it! I did a
U-turn, drove back to the dealership, and crashed my car through
the showroom window, laughing hysterically!
Yes, thatís only what I FELT like doing.
Instead I just drove home. A few days later when I could almost
control my anger, I went back and talked to the service manager.
My keys had still not been found.
"We will make a new key and get a new
remote entry for you," she said.
"Darn right you will! You are lucky Iím
not making you change the ignition and door locks! I should sue
Okay, okay, that is only what I felt like
saying. Why worry about it? Surely nothing else will go wrong, I
thought, as I got back in my car.
That was when my seat belt buckle jammed.