A Trip to the Mechanic

Where I work, we get an hour lunch. It's rather a luxury considering I've been used to having 30 minute lunches or no lunch at all sometimes at other jobs or in other positions. So with my hour lunch, myself and my friends Eric and Erik usually have plenty of time for driving around, eating, and sometimes hitting the bookstore for computer manual skimming. Today, Erik parted from us to go straight to the bookstore, and Eric and I were off to get a part for his car quickly, get some food, and meet at SuperCrown.

     . . . SO WRONG

     First stop: the parts shop. The part in question: Sparc Control Module. To me, this sounded like a keyboard, although I'm informed it has something to do with a car and not Sparc workstations, despite it being a computer. Pulling up to the garage, we made a slightly illegal park and got out of the car. Eric had called the mechanic the day before and arranged to come pickup the part. As we turned to look at the garage.. we were greeted happily by a sign that read: "Shop Closed; today only". I could only wonder if this was some sort of a cruel joke played on me by the universe in general as we walked to the dealership in front.

     We were greeted by someone who was immediately slimey, as it turned out: a car salesman. He sort of rubbed his hands a little when we walked up. Eric announced that the shop was closed and that he wanted to know if he could get a Sparc Control Module. The salesman was quick to rattle off the address of the Crysler parts shop about 2 miles away as soon as he heard that we didn't want to sell our souls for a sporty new bug, or whatever was high priced. And so, we got back into the car..

     Eric's car has a fairly humorous problem to it. Sometimes, like when driving by investors or cops, the car will make this horrid grating sound that tends to scare the living daylights out of people. I find this incredibly funny because I like to watch people crossing the street in front of the car jump in the air then speed up to get across the street faster. As we came to the turn near the dealership as we were leaving, the car decided to put on a little show for the old women in front of us. They were quick to get out of the crosswalk so we could be on our way.

     Five minutes later we pulled into the Crysler garage's parking lot. The first thing I noticed was the woman passed out under a tree. There was only one tree in the parking lot, and this woman had passed out beneath it. I wasn't sure at first if she was a bum or not, I think that she was waiting to have her car repaired and had decided to take a small nap. She looked quite comfortable though, so I thought nothing of it. We walked into the garage and stood at the second window at the desk. There was a man buying parts at the first window, so Eric and I approached the man at the second window.

     As soon as we walked up, the man looked at us, turned around like he was looking for something, faced us again quickly and then walked away very determined. Now wait a second, I thought. Did that man just walk away from us for no reason? I looked at Eric and he shrugged. I guess we would be waiting in line after the man buying parts after all.

     Time passed, the man buying parts was not very intelligent. That was apparent after looking at him for more than 5 seconds. He was also oblivious to all things except the metal rod he held in his hand and the fan belt or whatever part was beneath it. We talked blatantly about him wasting our time and he heard nothing. Then I was struck by his stupidity:

     "Well, you could get the <name of car part> and it would actually cost you less... unfortunately you'll need that piece you're holdin in yer hand, which'll run ya bout three times as much." The car guy said.

     "Ohh.. okay, and what about my <insert problem with dumb guy's car here>?" The dumb guy replied, thoroughly amused still, with his metal rod and hose device he had just been handed.

     The car guy went on to say something incomprehensible to the non-mechanic ear, and the dumb guy glazed over. Then the price hit him, and he uttered:

     "Well, I don't wanna buy it but what is it?"

     KRIST! could you possibly waste any more of our time!? All this time I had been standing here and the car guys ignored us, passing back and forth in the car book maze behind the counter. That, coupled with the various loud mechanic-type noises, was starting to get to me. The dumb guy plodded on through his list of problems and continued to drool over a new non-descript part that was laid in front of him. As the car guy explained to him what each part would do and so forth, the phone on the desk in front of me rang. It continued to ring for about 3 minutes, until whomever was calling decided to hang up. As soon as the ringing stopped, the car guy looked up at us and said:

     "Was that phone just ringing?"

     I nodded, wondering how the rinigng had slipped past him, since the phone in front of him was on the same line and had also been ringing. I dismissed it to the background noise, and we waited on. Finally, a car guy approached the desk and Eric stepped up to address him.

     "Hi, I'm looking for a Sparc control module". Eric said.

     "What for a car?" was the brilliant response.

     Eric told him the make and model and the man behind the counter was quickly off to fetch a large book of part prices. He thumbed through it for about a minute or so before saying that he only had the Illegal version and the version for an Automatic Transmission. The illegal version, he informed us, would help the car run much better, improving overall performance, as well as fix the problem he had been having. This was of course, in conflict with California State law about emissions, meaning not Enviro-Friendly. The Automatic version would sort of fix the problem, would make the car legal and would ultimately make the car lose power and/or skip when shifting.

     I won't tell you which part he got because of any bizarre legal issues that may come up, but I will say that the illegal one was a lot cheaper. At any rate, we were closing in on that luxurious hour lunch mark and it was time to head back to work. If you'll notice, we missed lunch in the middle of this ordeal and also did not make it to the book store for some good manual reading. So, we returned to our job, pulling into the parking lot a large group of happy investors was greeted with the horrible awful screeching grinding sound of Eric's car. A fitting end to such a productive lunch hour.