Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Thursday, June 16, 2005

Consumer Reports

I've been inspecting trinkets, levers, valves and fluids for months. My car is such a source of financial prolapse that I obsess over every clink, clank, and gurgle.

It doesn't help, really. The contraption still kicks, pops, and shudders into stillness at inopportune moments, draining my bank account and my will to live.

This morning, I pulled into the Gun World parking lot on Irving Park Road when my temperature gauge approached the orange tick. (Yes, orange. Red is so extreme, so Dodge opted for the safety color instead of the danger color. I try to stay aware of all the sly psychological manipulations thrown at me by modern society.)

Another overheat. I always carry one jug of antifreeze and two of water for this very emergency. The auto shops can locate no leak, the radiator appears to function normally, and the thermostat registers input without interruption.

In short, the disappearing fluid is a mystery and nobody can help me. So I remain vigilant.

As I killed the ignition and called work to announce my imminent tardiness, another red Intrepid pulled into the gun shop. The exact same car, almost. Smoke and steam billowed violently from beneath his hood, and he craned his head out the window to gain a view of the pavement before him. He'd waited far longer to pull over than I. I don't wait for explosions and ruptures before I halt to address my problems.

What a pair we made. People honked, people gawked, people chuckled. I waved back, proud to know that I was participating in a unique event in the annals of bitter humor.

I learned that his is a 96. Mine's a 95. Same body style, same color, same problem, same place, same time. He just had his transmission done recently, too. I know what you're thinking: "Sell the fucking thing! Get another car!" Not so fast. I still owe money on it. I know, I know. I'll buy foreign next time.

I hate cars. I wish public transportation extended to the suburbs.

For about three weeks a new disease has spread across the garish promotional landscape: the employee discount ploy. Instead of cash back, zero APR, no money down for six months, or ten year powertrain warranties, the new gimmick is the employee discount.

"You pay what Suzuki employees pay and not a penny more!"

"Get a Landrover today and we'll cut you in on the deal we offer to our own employees!"

"Get the Toyota employee discount and pay less for a 2005 model Toyota than ever before!"

Okay, fuck you. You liars. I've heard this sales pitch hop from company to company like crabs in a brothel, and I know why. Here's what you're telling me: "Don't just buy our product, join our family. You'll not only pay less, but you'll share the rates of exclusive insiders. We care about you. A lot."

When the time comes for me to get a car, I'm going to stride into a dealership and ask for a better rate than the employees receive. I'm going to ask for a family discount.

"If I was your son, how much would I pay?"

"Excuse me?"

"Well, your daughter Jennifer told me that you're paying half of Christopher's payment each month on his 2005 Pontiac G6."

"Um...I... How do you know Jennifer?"

"I met her at Couchhouse last week. She's an animal. We're very close, Bob. Listen, I want a G6. It's a hell of a sexy car. Thing is, I've got nothing up front and my income is little shaky, know what I mean? So, uh, I'm figuring, you know, you could help me out here and there."

"Kid, get out of here. You probably think you're real funny, a real joker, right? Go away and stay the hell away from my Jenny."

"She's pregnant, Bob."
11:13 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


June 16, 2005 12:39 PM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

You should have gone into gun world, bought a bazooka and blown that car away. Damn things...

So you really are in a "family way" with the auto dealer. Clever. Very clever...

June 16, 2005 1:37 PM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

Isn't "Bob" the name of all car salesmen? Or Phil. Or Larry.

Funny stuff again. Sorry about your car. I like the shotgun suggestion - don't firearms fix most any situation?

June 16, 2005 1:43 PM, Blogger Anonysis said...

Are they going to invite you to company barbeques after that?
You should demand an invite to those next. Tailgate party!

June 16, 2005 1:50 PM, Blogger Windjammer said...

I was just thinking about getting a job at a dealership so I could drive a different car every week, with the dealer plates and all.

June 16, 2005 3:24 PM, Anonymous sarcastrix said...

I'm sorry. I have bad news for you. I can diagnose your car troubles from here. It's very simple: your car is female. She just threw a hissy fit. She has done the car-equivalent of bursting into spontaneous tears in order to get you to comply with her unspecified whims. If you threaten to sell her, she will behave beautifully for one week, but only if you really believe it when you say it.

I've been there, Steve. I KNOW.

June 16, 2005 8:19 PM, Blogger Lostinspace said...

hey. i just spent like 8 hours at the stupid auto place today. it started off as an oil change, and then $1200 later, everything else with my stupid car. i am still annoyed, what a waste of my fucking time. all this just to say that we both had a crappy car day.

June 17, 2005 3:12 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

"Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash. You've been busted, you've lost your qualifications as section leader three times, put in hack twice by me, with a history of high speed passes over five air control towers, and one admiral's daughter!"

June 17, 2005 9:14 AM, Blogger Floyd said...

Way too impregnate for the benefit of the car-poor.

Rock on.

June 17, 2005 9:27 AM, Blogger Chicken said...

Does white smoke come out of the tail pipe when you drive? You may have a leak inside the engine block which would cause white steamy smoke to come out of the tail pipe. I'm sure your mechanic thought of this but I thought I'd ask.

October 02, 2005 2:22 PM, Blogger Ayoye said...

Recycling is good, if you are looking to sell your old items go to one of thesetele announcetele announce it's better for all of us to recycle what we don't use anymore. read why on my blog, if you don't like this idea, maybe someone else will.

October 03, 2005 7:27 PM, Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Having discovered your blog through the blooger toolbar, I hope you don't mind saying that I have a ebooks site/blog. It pretty much covers ebooks related stuff. Check it out if you have time.


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