This has been a pretty magical week, my friends. And by "magical" I mean to say it's been about as pleasant as being gangbanged by a flock of velociraptors. I experienced a couple of losses this week. One intimate friendship ended due to dishonesty and betrayal, and another ended when he chose to take his own life. I am hurting right now, and to be honest, I feel about as funny as Tommy Lee Jones on NyQuil. So, for today, I am doing what any green-blooded Oregonian would do: I am recycling. This is a post I wrote last year that (surprisingly enough) won a Voices of the Year award at BlogHer 2012 for Humor. I say surprisingly enough because when I wrote it I seriously thought "Who in hell wants to read about some dipshit getting her oil changed?" Apparently someone did. . .or maybe the whole BlogHer organization is in Cahoots with the oil cartel. Either way, yay me! So, enjoy. And thanks to all of you for your patience and support while I lick my wounds. I love you mad hard.
OMG, Free Beef!
Some of you may recall my brief foray into the majestic world of mass transit a few weeks ago.*
*Perhaps because I was yapping away about it like a Chihuahua under a strobe light.
As you may recollect, I am not a fan of any mode of transit that involves me being elbow to tits with the unwashed masses. I like my privacy, I like my space, I like my car. Actually, no. . .I don’t like my car, I love my car. I love my car like Warren Jeffs loves underage girls: passionately, inappropriately, and generally followed by whispered, heartfelt apologies to the innocent thing that I am ultimately going to destroy.
Cars are weird when you really think about it. Picture yourself back in “Little House In The Prairie” times.*
*I do this a lot. I have weird Amish fantasies.
Now, imagine you’re strolling back from Oleson’s Mercantile where you just traded a chicken for some penny candy and some dude rolls up in a buggy to tell you that one day your children’s children will voluntarily place themselves in a flammable metal box and propel themselves forward at 85 miles per hour while playing Death Race 2000 with similar flammable, metal boxes being navigated by individuals with a collective IQ that hovers around room temperature. You’d think that boy had gotten hold of some bad sarsaparilla and shuttle him off to Doc Baker’s for a good blood-letting. Cars make no sense on a logical level and even less on a self-preservation level, but they have come to be so much more than a mode of transportation. They define our status, determine the course of our existence, and one tiny flaw or imperfect can cripple us emotionally and financially.
A few weeks back my ride was grinding like a Kardashian on a stripper pole every time I hit the brakes on an incline. Never one to actually acknowledge a possible automotive Armageddon, I judiciously ignored it until my friend rode with me one day and shrieked “Jesus Christ, Jen! Take tomorrow off and get this damned thing fixed before you fucking KILL me!”*
*My friends are rad as shit.
So I took it to the dealership, had it checked out, was told the problem was fixed and tra-la-la. I was on my merry way. Well, suffice to say, all was not well in Auto World. Car problems and I go together like 45 year old virgins and Star Trek conventions. Where one goes, the other is sure to follow. So when my car began making the noise again, I took it to my homeboys at Les Schwab.
They seriously greet you like this. I swear to God.
For those of you not from the Great Northwest, Les Schwab is the bomb-dot-com for all things automotive. They don’t require an appointment, they come running out to greet you like you’ve just returned from a tour in ‘Nam, they have complimentary popcorn and espresso, and every year they give away a shit ton of free beef if you spend over $500. Free. Beef. There is so much majesty in those two words that I am in overwhelming awe. Oh, Les Schwab. . .you had me at rump roast.
Now a lot of you may wonder why I didn’t try to diagnose this little issue on my own. I am, after all, a woman of the new millennium; I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan,and. . .whatever. I am not, however, particularly, handy, productive, mechanically inclined, or willing to get my hands dirty for something unpleasant that I can pay someone else to do.*
*As I am of the firm belief that any problem can be resolved by throwing an unholy amount of money at it.
To be honest, I never really learned anything about cars because I never really gave a rat’s ass. My dad is ridiculously brilliant and like most men with Asperger Syndrome knows a truly unholy amount of shit about a limited number of things. In my father’s case: math and cars. So, like a typical asshole teenager, I rebelled by refusing to learn a damned thing about either one which may explain why today I can neither pump my own gas nor balance my checkbook. My dad has the patience of a saint, I tell you. And my equally brilliant mom in her infinite wisdom raised me with the mantra of “money is a renewable resource so why do it yourself if you can pay someone to do it for you?” Armed with said skill set, you may now understand why I couldn’t start a campfire to save my sorry ass but if there’s a Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale I am your go-to gal.*
*I would get smacked like a dime-store hooker on “Survivor”, y’all.
Besides, how important are brakes really? I mean, they’re more of a polite gesture than an actual vital necessity. Sure, it’s courteous to tap them as you find yourself careening toward a phalanx of hipsters on their retro Schwinn fixies, but it’s akin to throwing your arm in front of someone to keep them from flying ass over teakettle through your windshield in a head-on collision. It’s probably not going to work, but hey! You can say that you tried.
So, after I checked in my car the mechanic came out to talk to me and I shit you not this guy had to have been about ten days older than God. He looked like a Muppet that had been accidentally washed on hot and had a head that bore a disturbing resemblance to a knotty garlic clove. I felt oddly discomfited at the thought of having a mechanic who was old enough to remember when their weren’t any cars, but Les Schwab has never steered me wrong (pun fully intended) before so I listened to what Methuselah had to say.
METHUSELAH: So, what year is your Ford?
ME: Umm, well, it was after I got divorced, but before I had my bangs cut. God, that was SO not a good look for me. Umm, Charlie Sheen was still on “Two and a Half Men” and Amy Winehouse was alive so. . .umm. . .
METHUSELAH: You know the year is written on your registration, right?
ME: Oh! Yeah! OK (rummaging through purse) it’s here somewhere. Or maybe it’s in the glove compartment. Let me run out and. . .
METHUSELAH: That’s OK, let’s just say 2009. So, what do you have in it?
ME: Umm, not much. Some library books, a couple of Taco Bell wrappers. Ooh! And this ADORABLE skirt I got at H&M for 40% off!
METHUSELAH:. . .
METHUSELAH: I meant the engine. A V-6? V-10?
ME: The other one.
METHUSELAH: Which one?
At this point Grandpa went deadeye for a second like the shark eating Robert Shaw’s nether regions in “Jaws”. Rather than thrill him any further with my automotive acumen, I copped a squat with my free popcorn and shopped on shodazzle.com on my iPhone.
Thirty minutes later the mechanic came out to tell me my rear brakes were “metal on metal” and it was only a matter of time before I plummeted down an incline into a busload of crippled children thus creating a firestorm of apocalyptic proportions. OK, good to know. Fortunately, they were able to fix them before any serious damage was done (“Whoot! Whoot!”). Unfortunately, when they told me the price of said repair, I came unhinged faster than a tater cellar door in a Tennessee twister. Ho. Ly. Shit. Now, keep in mind that I am a Republican which means that I believe very strongly in the following two tenets:
1) I want bad guys to get their asses kicked like a prison yard narc, and
2) I like money.
So hearing that a large portion of my income was now basically being rammed into the ass end of my car made my blackened heart bleed just a little, I cannot lie. So, I reached out to hug my short people, rubbing their backs firmly*
*I had to figure out which one had the tenderest kidney to sell on craigslist
and handed my credit card to the mechanic. At least now I have brakes that work, which is nice. And on a positive note, I shelled out more than enough to earn a veritable plethora of beef products.
Mmmm. . .meaty. . .
Let’s just hope they grill well with the gub’ment cheese we’ll be eating for the rest of the year.