“That was fast. Did you fly here?”
This is the comment that greets me every single time I walk into our auto mechanic’s shop, despite the fact that Eric, our “car guy,” knows full well that I live right around the corner.
But we have to have the obligatory exchange: “Did you fly here?” “No, dude, I live right around the corner.” “But that was so fast! I just hung up the phone.” “Well, I live RIGHT around the corner.” (Hint: that’s why you’re our car guy. It’s not your prices or your expertise; it’s your proximity to my front door. It’s also not, by the way, your weirdly bleached hair.)
He looks up my info on his computer.
“Oh! You live right around the corner!”
I can never just pick up my car when it’s ready. Eric loves cars and he loves to talk. This is a horrible combination for someone like me, who isn’t so much into talking and really only appreciates the volume control of the stereo. When Eric calls to give me the news (what’s wrong, how much), he is incapable of sticking to the boring details. He’s determined to educate me, one part at a time, about all things automotive.
So, today. The phone call.
“At 60,000 miles, you should get your timing belt changed.”
“Do you know what a timing belt is?”
“Errrr . . . ”
A lengthy lecture on the timing belt ensues, during which I answer a few e-mails, shave my legs, write an opera, and eat 4 pieces of toast.
“And THAT is what a timing belt does!”
“Great! Thank you.”
I guess I should be flattered that he thinks my womanly brain is large enough to store all this information. I really just could not care less. Does the car run? Fine. Does it make a funny noise? Turn up the music. Is the “Check Engine” light on? Wait a few days; it’ll go off.
I didn’t get married just so I could learn all about cars. That’s what Dave is for. HE knows what a timing belt is, how it works, and why we don’t need to spend $535 on one just now. After I listen to Eric, I call Dave to relay some of the terms I remember: fuel flush hose recalibrate diagnostics shaft. He takes over and finalizes everything, presumably without the timing belt lecture.
So, today, when I go to pick up my car (and, no, I didn’t FLY there), I am starving. To death. That toast? A mere drop in the ocean that is my stomach. I’d been waiting to hear that the car was ready before preparing my evening meal because I KNEW Eric would call as soon as I took my first bite and start ranting about coolant sealing hose treads.
So I am hungry and I want my damn car. But Eric brings up the dreaded timing belt.
“Are you glad I explained all that to you?”
“YES! It was so helpful.”
“So, if I were to give you a quiz on timing belts—”
“Oho! Don’t do that, please!”
I’ve paid and signed. Gimme the key. GIMME THE KEY! But no. He reaches for a horrifyingly dull-looking car catalog. It’s very thick and drab and dirty. It’s title?
Yes, my children, it’s the story of freaking timing belts.
Eric knows I’m lying about understanding the timing belt lecture. He tells me that once I see a picture of the timing belt, I’ll know everything I need to know. I don’t tell him I already know everything I need to know on the subject of timing belts, which is nothing.
Oh, my god. Can this be happening? I’m looking at pictures of belts and gears while Eric—so nice, so helpful, so blonde—is going on and on about, UGH! I don’t even know anymore. It’s some kind of horrible nightmare. My car is RIGHT THERE! I can see it! I’m tempted to tell him to mail me my key and just run home.
Finally, but only after he tracks down the picture of my car’s timing belt and shows me EXACTLY how it works, I am given my key and allowed to go. As I leave, I hear him say to the woman who just came in.
“That was fast. Did you fly here?”
I throw her a sympathetic look and make a run for my car, where I crank the stereo for the 15-second ride home.