My brother (a mechanic) used to like to tell this story:
He’s working at his shop, minding his own business, when he sees my mom’s car pull in. “Mom,” he says, “what are you doing here?”
“Son,” says she, “when I was pulling out of my driveway to run some errands I noticed the teeniest, tiniest drop of oil on the cement. I need you to stop what you’re doing and replace all my belts and hoses and gaskets. In fact, why don’t you replace the whole engine just to make sure we get the leak fixed.”
Just at that moment, I pull up in my car. My brother notices that smoke is billowing out from under the hood of my car.
“Sis! You shouldn’t have driven that car to me to fix, you should have just called 911!”
“What are you talking about? I’m just here to pick mom up.”
“Trista, your car is on fire! How long has your car been on fire?”
“Oh gee, I don’t know. It is? I mean, it’s been smoking when I drive it for a couple of weeks now, but as soon as I get on the freeway, the smoke all disappears. I figured it was just an idling problem.”
He exaggerates, but not as much as you’d like to think.
I am a terrible car owner, but I am a fabulous driver. I once drove all the way to Oregon (taking little scenic byways through the mountains) on 3 cylinders and 2 flat tires. I am amazing.
No, really, I am. I’ll prove it to you.
This one time my tire was flat. So, instead of calling my brother, I thought I’d prove how dykie I could be and put my donut on myself. So I find the jack (a feat in itself) AND the lug wrench (yet another miracle) and totally scuff my shoes up taking the icky, dirty flat tire off and putting the little donut on. Then I put the car down and washed my hands and felt so damn proud of myself. Now, I knew that all those wussies who stop at crosswalks for children and old ladies say that you shouldn’t drive over 40 MPH on a donut, and that really you should just drive immediately to get a new big tire. But I was in a rush to get to work, and besides, I had done such an amazing job that I was certain that nothing bad could happen to me. So I decided to take the freeway. And, I don’t take the freeway going the minimum speed limit. That’s just dangerous. No, I was doing a nice 80 mph. Had the music up, was singing along. Suddenly, my car started shaking. And making a terrible noise. So, I’m not an idiot, I took my foot off the accelerator. This was at a section of the freeway that was under some construction and the lane to the right of me was supposed to merge and there was this car that WOULD NOT get out of my blind spot. So my car’s shaking harder and now it’s starting to fishtail and that car in my right blind spot starts trying to merge into my lane and I’m trying to slow down and pull off the road without slamming on my breaks cause that would just make it worse when suddenly my car tips and thuds and gets a bit harder to control (but I kept it in control the whole time) and I see MY DONUT go racing down the freeway without me. Yup, I was slowing down and pulling over in a construction zone with only 3 wheels. I pulled the car to a stop in a nice parking job parallel to a cement barricade and stared at my hands for a few moments.
Then I called my brother.
And I promised I’d take better care of my cars from then on.
So this time when my car started acting funny I only waited a month or so before calling him up. And this time, all I needed was a transmission flush and my oil changed and all my spark plugs replaced (again, I was only driving on 3 cylinders) and 3 of my tires inflated. That’s pretty good, for me.
And I got to hear those words which when I don’t hear at least once a year I feel like I’ve lost my touch, “There is no fucking way you drove this car in here, I don’t even see how it could possibly run at all in this condition.”
Everyone should be thanking the heavens above that I am mostly using mass transit now.