Last November, we had a vehicle accident that left our van totalled. Our four precious children were on board, along with my mother and father. As a result of this unfortunate event, we were in the market for a new van to replace Ole’ Bessy who ended up in the junk yard. Bless her soul. May her scraps rest in peace.
The van we picked, from an un-named dealership (so as to avoid nasty libel and defamation charges in the fall-out of reading this opinion piece), was pretty spiffy. But, there were a few little issues that started popping up after about six months had passed by. The brakes started squeaking and the doors started rattling on the passenger side. So, I took Bessy Junior in for a tune-up in July, as she was still covered under warranty.
Long story short. She got all new brakes in the back (yes, after only six months, her brake pads were completely worn through), and I got the dirty look of disapproval from Ms. Front Desk (as if it were my fault! I am not the only one who drives her…)- a look reminding me to go easy on the brakes. I love it when you end up feeling like a nincompoop inside a place that already feels like you are visiting a foreign land. For that is the aura I get whenever I take my van to this mechanic. Seriously, is this stuff really that important: knowing the model of van that I am driving? Or the kilometres I’ve clocked? Does anybody really care about such incidentals? Not knowing this info somehow equates me with having the brain of a chicken.
Anyhoo. As I was saying, Ms. Front Desk Lady was just wrapping up our session with ‘the look’, when I waved her a cheery adieu and walked on out the door. Hoping against hope that this would be the last visit I would have to make there in the near future. Well, it wasn’t long before the brakes started squeaking. Loudly. Embarrassingly loud. Like when I was pulling out of the school parking lot, or other such times when you don’t really want staff and students gawking at you. So, I figured after having taken her in to a local garage that it was time to ‘fess up to the big guns: the dealership. Bessy Junior needed a little more (free) help from her friends.
And, besides, the doors were still rattling.
Fast forward. It is now a lovely Tuesday morning in October. I am running late for my afternoon workshop when two colleagues graciously drop me off to pick up my van, after having left her at the afore-mentioned, un-named dealership for a tune-up. Before they pull out of the parking lot, my friends remind me that I need to back to work by 1:10 p.m. if I want to be both on time and have my name in for a door prize. I wave then walk ‘the walk of shame’ back inside the dealership to hear the verdict. I feel like shouting, “I’m baaacck!” as I walk up to the service counter.
I check the time. It is 1:05 p.m. Which really means. Plenty of time to talk to the front desk personnel, grab my keys, make a quick dash to the washroom and then drive the seven kilometers to my workshop. And just enough time to slide in under the wire. Easy breezy.
I wait my turn, because of course there is a line-up as well. And when my turn comes, the lady looks at me like she would like to hold me up by the ears. It’s that, “Oh…it’s you again” look. Love it already that I have to be late for work, for this. I sweetly approach the front desk and try to appear docile. What I really want to do is just grab my keys and make a run for it. But instead, she decides to give me the low-down on just exactly what is NOT wrong with my van. Because there is apparently nothing wrong.
I have a full page of notes before me on the nothing that is wrong with my van. There is nothing wrong with my vehicle! So. I meekly accept her opinion of me. For now I know that I am an idiot, along with knowing nothing about vans, cars, motors, vehicles and anything remotely related to an engine. Ms. Front Desk reminds me that there will be no charge. THIS TIME. As if to say, no more free lunch for you.
And I also realize that not only am I stupid, but I am late for work. So, I grab the keys, run out to my perfectly tuned-up, squeak-less van. I jump in. Start ‘er up. And drive thirty feet to the road. And then apply the brakes.
And in that split second before I even pull out of the parking lot, I hear it. That sound.
And as if that was not enough. I pull up to my first stop. And there we have it. Again. SCCCCCRRRRREEEEEECH.