< Piro >
Friday - September 20, 2002
Life is full of high maintenance things. You know, the kinds of things that if you don't deal with them on a regular basis they go from maintenance item to disaster in a hurry. Things like the laundry, the dishes, the litter box (we have three cats), websites, email, Seraphim's extensive jungle of plants (several years ago i killed most of her plants... it's a long story, and it involves freezing weather, a moving truck, and breaking down somewhere in Kentucky.)... well, you get the idea. Maintenance is just part of that thing we call life.
Sometimes we don't really sit and think about the things in our lives that don't require a lot of maintenance. Like the TV. It just works. The microwave, that's another really swell no-maintenance item (well, for most of us). The ceiling paint in your apartment. I mean, it's great, it works, and you don't have to think about it (once again, for most of us, that's the case). The maintenance free items in our lives are the things that rely on day after day and don't even think about. You just know they will be there.
Until, of course, a generally low maintenance items suddenly requires attention.
Some people are very anal about their cars. I know people who wax and wash their cars just about every weekend. I know people who spray expensive cleaning crap on tires to make them all shiny, people who take tooth brushes to the treads. People who change their own oil. People who love, cherish, maintain and baby their cars.
I'm the kind of person that only worries about making sure his car has enough gas in it to get from point A to point B. I try to remember things like getting an oil change every once and a while (every six months or so, if the poor car is lucky). When i purchased the car, i picked the color based on how well it hid dirt (had a black car once - no, it was 'dirty grey' :P)). Two days after i picked it up, i backed into a pole and did about $1000 worth of damage to the car. That was 3 years ago, and i still need to get it fixed. I'm thinking about maybe doing that this year. Maybe.
I'm not so bad that i TOTALLY ignore the car, it's just... well, its not on my list of things to do every week. The nice thing about new cars is that when you turn them on, they pretty much always go, and in fact... they are pretty unremarkable. Just one of those everyday miracles like how Starbucks never seems to run out of coffee beans. Chai, yes, Coffee Beans, never.
Imagine my surprise the other day when i got into my car, started the engine, and was greeted by what could only be called 'an alarming shuddering rattle' coming from the engine compartment. I was quite surprised - the car isn't supposed to sound like that. Undaunted, and not really knowing what else to do, i backed up, and went and did my errand, wondering all the time if my engine was going to blow up. The look on Seraphim's face when i picked her up was such that i realized that it wasn't just me - there was definitely something not quite right about the sounds emanating from under the hood.
After we got home, I did something that reminded Seraphim fondly of one of her favorite 'Dilbert' strips. It's the one where Dilbert checks under the hood of this lady's car and pretends to know whats wrong with it. "All men are frauds." i think the line was. Undaunted, i opened the hood, and looked the engine over as it ran, rattling and grinding away. Of course, i was afraid to touch anything (i've learned that it's ok to touch the little yellow dipstick to check oil, and sometimes that 'windshield washer fluid' thing, but thats the only things under there i feel safe touching). "I can't see anything," i said. Well, duh, like i'd know what was wrong if i saw it. This was really alarming. Something was wrong, and... I couldn't ignore it. I... I had no choice...
I called up the service department and set up to bring my car in the next day.
I had to find a dealership, because the dealership i bought the car from went out of business. When i called, i did feel a little better, because the guy on the other end seemed to know exactly what was wrong - some sort of heat shield had broke its spot welds and was rattling loose. While it was in, i figured i'd get an oil change, get that 30,000 mile check up i should have got 15,000 miles ago, stuff like that. Also, to check things out, let me know if there was anything else wrong, and to check and see what that clunking sound coming from under the car was.
Well, it was a mixed bag of things really. Turns out that the heat shield repair was covered by warranty, and they had to replace the sway bars (also thankfully under warranty). The 30,000 mile tune up stuff wasn't too expensive, and i figured the poor car needed it. I forgot about one thing tho...
I'm hell on brakes. This didn't surprise me, after i was told about it. I've been bad on brakes since i was a teenager.
It seems that by putting things off as much as i have that my bill for this service call is not a small one. I suppose its better to find out about bad breaks this way rather than, say, the hard way. ^^;; But my point is... Daa~aamn. Sometimes those low-maintenance things in your life can sure sneak up and twhock you in the ass if you aren't watching. Damn care is probably laughing its ass off at me. That'll teach me to not pay attention to it.
I'm terrified to bring Seraphim's car in. Maybe we can just park it somewhere and hope it doesn't hurt anyone.
P.S: by calling are you car fanatics out there 'freaks' i meant it as good natured ribbing, so please take it as such. My poor car wishes that it was you and not me who owned it. :P