August 27, 2010

Fact Is Better: Comedy of (Vehicular) Errors

I have the worst car luck of anyone you’ll ever meet.  Ever.  In the past seven years, I’ve had five cars. They've all died pretty tragic deaths, too.

This car is no exception. I know her backseat passenger-side suspension is shot. I know she has a severely leaky transmission problem. And a severely leaky anti-freeze problem. And a severely leaky oil problem. And she was caught in a flash-flood about a year ago and now every time it rains, she smells like sewage and the carpets stay wet for weeks.

Character. She’s a car with character.

I went in for a routine oil change neglecting to mention to them the smoke billowing from the engine on occasion, the constant perfume of burning, and the giant oil puddles I’ve been leaving all over town.

Which didn’t matter, because when my uncle (who’s my mechanic) came out with that sarcastic smirk on his face, I knew he knew. And that I was in for an earful.

Uncle Mechanic: “You smelling oil by any chance?”
Me: *nodding my head matter-of-factly* “Yes. Yes, I am.”
Uncle Mechanic: “That’s because oil has leaked all over your engine. Now, blah blah, blah-blah-blahblah. Blah-blah . . .” (*sometimes, when he speaks to me in car talk, I don’t understand what he’s saying*) “ . . . blah blah blah blah. Blah, blow up, blah blah. Blah . . .”
Me: “Whooooooa. Hold up. Did you just say my car was going to blow up?”
Uncle Mechanic: “I said it could catch on fire. Because of the blah-blah-blah. Blah. Blah blah.”
Me: “Wait, let’s go back to this ‘car blowing up' bit.  How will I know if it’s on fire?”
Uncle Mechanic: “People pointing and screaming ‘Your car’s on fire!’ is usually a good indicator.”
Me: “What’s the likely hood of the car actually blowing up? In your professional opinion, how long do I left with that car?”
Uncle Mechanic: “Six months.”
Me: “Is that six months including the blowing-up scenario?”
Uncle Mechanic: “One month with the blowing-up scenario.”
Me: “Interesting. Now, is there a proper way to exit my vehicle should it catch on fire?”
Uncle Mechanic: “Jump out and run like hell.”
Me: “Interesting. Now, what’s the likely hood of me dying in this scenario? In your professional opinion, what are the chances I’ll die?”
Uncle Mechanic: *snickering* “Steff, c’mon! Don’t make me do this.”
Me: “Is there, like, an 85% chance I’ll live?”
Uncle Mechanic: *looks at me and raises his eyebrows*
Me: “Ooh, ouch. Okay.  How about 80%? Is there a 80% chance I’ll live?”
Uncle Mechanic: *still doesn’t answer me, but just grimaces*
Me: “75%?!”
Uncle Mechanic: *no answer*
Me: “60%?”
Uncle Mechanic: “You’re pushing it.”
Me: “Okay, we’ll say 70% chance. Hey, that’s pretty good! The odds are in my favor.”
*the other mechanics in the shop start laughing*
Me: “Hey, listen, this isn’t the first time he’s told me a car was going to blow up.”
Uncle Mechanic: “So, are you gonna fix the car or not?”
Me: “How much to fix it? In your professional opinion, how much money is this going to take? $400?”
Uncle Mechanic: *guffaws*
Me: *grimaces* “Five hundred? Six hundred?! Okay, we’ll say it’s more money than Steff is comfortable with talking about out loud. Now, in your professional opinion should I just get a new car?”
Uncle Mechanic: “Yes.”
Me: “Well, that settles that then.”
Uncle Mechanic: “So, are you fixing it, or . . .”
Me: “Hell no, I’m not fixing it. I’ll see how long I can drive her until she blows up. It’ll be like a game.”
Uncle Mechanic: *stares at me like I have two heads before rolling his eyes and going back to work*

Looks like your pal, Steff, is going car shopping.

Six cars in seven years? Yeah, it was time for a new ride anyway.


True story.

Further proof fact is better (and more expensive) than fiction.