THE TIME THE AUTO MECHANIC WOULDN’T TAKE MY MONEY

by Steve Clem on August 8, 2011

I detest taking my car into the mechanic.

Almost as much as I detest going to the doctor or dentist.

Ultimately, that fear usually bites me in the ass…delaying the visit makes things worse.

I’ve had my share of fun incidents with cars.

There was the time the engine on my Chevy Celebrity blew up on I-80, 60 miles from my home at the time in Iowa City.

My then wife was out of town, and I had no way to get home other than riding along with the tow truck. Yes, I used a 60 mile tow as my personal taxi.

Or the time my engine blew up on my Saturn. Or the other time my engine blew up on my Saturn.

So, this weekend, when my engine started to sputter, and surge up and down in RPMs, with a check engine light on, I was positive that the auto mechanic would be telling me my Saturn had cancer.

So much so that I was already shopping for used cars that fit my budget, planning to bring a new car home with me to the Tundra from my hometown of Sioux City.

Alas, I was wrong. As I approached the mechanic working on my car, I was prepared for the bad news.

“Well your engine is in incredible shape,” he said.

Wait, what?

“Yeah, and I have it running pretty good at the moment. You could probably take it home with you to Minnesota and get it fixed up there, since that’s your hometown.”

I cringed.

“That’s not my hometown. I just live there. This is my hometown,” I told him.

I told him I was a little bit nervous, since he said that once my engine got cold, it would probably act up again.

“Well I can’t get the part here for 4 days minimum. I bet they have it up in the Twin Cities. Plus then you’ll be in your hometown where you know people.”

I cringed again.

“That’s NOT my hometown. I live there. I grew up here. THIS is my hometown,” I reiterated.

I explained to him that this week at work was really crucial for me, and that I couldn’t afford to have my car go out on me once I got up here.

“Well don’t you have another car up there that you can use?” (THANK GOD he didn’t end the question with “in your hometown.”)

“No, no, I’m a single dad. No other car. That’s all I’ve got,” I told him.

“Well, Steve, if it was me, I’d drive it up to Minneapolis and get it fixed up there.”

After a few dizzying moments of having my car doctor telling me to go home and find a different remedy, I put my foot down.

“No, go ahead and order the parts and I’ll come back down to pick the car up when you’re done.”

He shrugged, and agreed…but only after I told him that I didn’t want to risk having the car go out on my drive back to Minnesota with my boys in the car.

“Oh you have kids, well, yeah, I guess I wouldn’t risk that either.”

But he was okay with letting me get stranded in the middle of nowhere?

And so, in the end, we were in agreement. It was much better for me to get my car fixed in my hometown.

*Facepalm*

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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