Friday, October 28, 2011

Adventures With My Car PART II

I needed a mechanic to look at my car. I needed some sort of peace of mind letting me know that my car was not likely to spin out of control again. I got lucky and managed minimal damage the first time, but it wasn't something I was willing to gamble on again.

My car is kind of old, so going to the mechanic is nothing new to me. The place I took it to in Albuquerque was pretty reliable. As an added bonus, it was within walking distance from my place. I absolutely loathe having to wait while my car gets serviced. I feel like it's a waste of my time. I'd much rather drop it off and waste time in the comfort in my own home.

I found a place nearby that got good reviews online. As an added bonus, it was only 0.7 miles away. My plan was to drop off my car and walk home. I even brought a banana with me so that I could have a snack during the walk home.

When I turned into the garage's parking lot, it was empty except for one truck. There didn't seem to be anyone around, but the garage door was open. I parked and went inside, but the office was empty too. A man appeared, seemingly coming from behind the building. He asked me what I had wanted and through talking to him, I got the impression that he wasn't all that interested in helping me out. He spoke to me like I was some idiot brother-in-law who knew nothing about cars who was hounding him to look at some imagined problem, and not some potential customer ready to throw down a few hundred dollars. Finally, he told me that he'd take a look at it, and he told me to drive it into the garage.

I hesitated because I don't think I've ever driven a car, literally, into a mechanic's garage, but sure enough, he was guiding me onto the lift. I got out, he lifted the car a bit and checked the tires out. I was watching him from outside of the garage, but he waved me in.

I felt pretty uncomfortable being next to my car as it running while on the lift. First, and irrationally, I was still not convinced that my car was not trying to kill me. What was keeping it from falling on me and finishing the job? Secondly, am I even supposed to be in the garage like that? That seems like some insurance problems would arise if I were to somehow injure myself — or if my car fell on me.

I could barely understand him. Between the accent, his low-talking and the fact that he was competing with talk radio blasting throughout the garage, I could only pick up the general ideas he was trying to share with me.

Basically, the rear tires needed to be replaced. He suggested that I get new tires for the front and put the front tires in the back. He also suggested that I go across the street to the tire shop to do that.

I was taken aback by the fact that a business telling me to go elsewhere. If he had said, "I don't really do tires, but go across the street. They'll give you a good deal," I'd appreciate it. No, he was just telling me to go across the street.

I figured he put ten minutes or so into looking at my car, I felt weird just leaving without offering anything. When I asked him if I owed him anything for his time, he replied, "How about that banana?"

So, I paid a guy one banana to look at my car. The barter system seems to be very much alive in this town.

After getting new tires, I learned I still needed to get the exhaust fixed. Apparently, my off-roading did more damage than originally thought.

So, I have new tires, but I still need work done on my car. I was worried about going to a mechanic who would snow me into getting things I didn't need, and here I went to two places that didn't do enough.

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