So I have been a bit absent because Center of the Universe here is having traumatic, anxiety-inducing car problems. I have a Saturn Vue that the Kid and I call Little Red. We love Little Red, especially when Little Red is up and running.
Today Little Red is the car equivalent of a human with stage four cancer, arrhythmia, and ulcerative gastrointestinalIdon’tknowwhatthefuck.
Not good at all.
Two weeks ago after a jaunty evening at the Greek Festival, bellies full of spanakopita and sludgy Greek coffee, the Kid, Heather, and I were driving home when Heather said ominously:
“Your car doesn’t sound right.”
A wave of denial oozed from my mouth like oil from a crankshaft.
(I don’t know what the hell a crankshaft is, but that’s a hell of a simile, don’t you think?)
“No no no. It’s fine. My car always sounds a little high-pitched.”
Little Red barely made it up my Dr. Seuss driveway.
I let her rest up on Sunday and petted her and talked nicely about all those juicy oil changes I provided and that I never forced her to go off-roading. I was really hoping my words would break through her automotive delirium.
After I dropped off the Kid at school Monday morning Little Red hobbled to my office. I parked her gently in a spot the tow truck could access easily and I waved goodbye as the truck eased Little Red on its hospital guerney of a flat bed.
And the suckage began.
No one ever has said the word TRANSMISSION in any way positive or fun.
Oh my god. I just got my transmission done today! Isn’t it gorgeous? Don’t you just love it??
Hey, Frank! That’s a beautiful new transmission. It really suits you!
“Thanks Phil. I couldn’t pass it up. It was a steal!”
None of those words have ever appeared anywhere in the universe until this very moment while I am in the throes of gut-wrenching car trouble and need to be snarkily sarcastic. I listened to a mechanic say these words:
“The transmission is shot. It will cost between $3500 and $5000 to fix it.”
Worst case scenario. As dark as I am sometimes, I really wasn’t figuring on the worst case scenario. I actually prayed to God to not let it be the WORST CASE SCENARIO. I felt kind of bad about that because I didn’t think it was right to pray for things.
I sought spiritual advice from JCo.
“Red, I pray for parking spaces. I think it’s ok to pray for your car repair.”
So I am sure God listened, but he wasn’t having any of it.
One transmission. Totally fucked.
But I am not without hope (yes I am without hope) and not without friends (I have amazing friends.) I have mooched a few rides here and there as I contemplate my next move regarding owning a car. My next door neighbor Arthur has taken on my plight like a new hobby. First he generously let me drive his Lexus for a few days and he went on a transmission quest like an old fat knight looking for the Holy Grail. He talked to my mechanic on my behalf, talked $600 off the quote (drop in the proverbial bucket), tried to con a rebuilt transmission wholesale from his mechanic, and did the math regarding the value of my car (on the low end) versus the repair (on the high end).
So as I was lying on my couch last night trying to beat THIS GUY to the street…
(He’s made a couple of appearances during the last few days. He said he was just stopping by for a shit, shower, and a shave, but then overstayed his welcome. I have spoken harsh words to him that I have no room in my life for this shit so maybe he will listen this time.)
…and Arthur showed up with facts and figures. Not one bit of it was good news.
Doesn’t anyone want to cheer me up this week??
I tried to weasel the Toyota that just sits in his driveway. He says it looks better to thieves to have multiple cars parked at his house.
“Yeah that really worked for you when they broke in your back window. Nothing was touched out front. Why don’t you get a dog statue to put out back. Thieves will run from that.”
“I’ll give you the Toyota if you have sex with me.”
“Seriously? You went there? I wouldn’t have sex with you if you parked a fucking Rolls Royce on my doorstep.”
“Well thought I’d ask. I need my other car back tomorrow night. I have a date.”
“Get out of town! Good for you. You can have sex with her. How old is she?”
Now I got pissed because Arthur is 73.
“41?? You’re dating someone younger than me? What the hell am I supposed to do? Date some 80 year old geezer!!”
“Well, I sure don’t want to lie in bed naked with some old woman beside me.”
“Oh like you are some prize to be naked with?”
Mind you I am talking this way to the man who is searching for a new transmission and loaning me his Lexus.
“I am not going out with some wrinkled old lady.”
So now I am dealing with the realization that I have a shot transmission and no hope of dating someone born, let’s say, in the mid to late 1960s.
I am so fucked from one end of life to the other.
“Well, here’s your keys.”
“Oh no you drive it tomorrow. Just get it to me by 6:00 so I can pick up my date.”
“Is she pretty?”
Damn. I just extended the conversation, but I was fuming a little.
“She is beautiful. I asked her if she was half white.”
I just stared at him. “You didn’t?”
“I did. I thought she might be half and half.”
“And that was how you asked her?”
“Sure, what’s wrong with that?”
“I don’t even know how your mind works sometimes.”
“It works just fine. Better than your car.”
“Touche my old horny friend. Touche.”