Friday, February 8, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear

I am a lucky person. I have a really good mechanic. We drive old cars, because this mechanic has been able to fix every car problem that we've ever had, so those cars just keep running and running and running. He is just the best mechanic ever. I could sing his praises all day long. He is such an excellent mechanic that I did the only reasonable thing. I married him.
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In the old days, a funny noise from the car would cause my heart to leap in fear. Now that I'm married to my mechanic, I just casually walk in the house, and I say, "Hey, the car is making a weird noise." Bless his heart, he gets this excited look in his eyes, and out the door he goes. Not only is he a really good mechanic, but he also loves to do this kind of stuff.
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I realize that I am a darned lucky woman, so I'm really generous about sharing Tim with all the woman I know that were not so wise as to marry their mechanics. He does not mind this, and has become sort of a surrogate husband to many women. I'm fairly open minded about all of this as well. It's one of the more worldly benefits of going to our church.
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I'd like to say that I've learned loads about engines and all things car through the years. That would be a lie. I'm very useful helping to bleed the brakes. I can fetch tools. I'm good at holding screw drivers 'right there', and the guys at Car-go Auto know who I am as soon as I walk in the door clutching the latest parts list from Tim. They have given up asking me questions, because my answer is always, "I don't know. Better call up to the house and see if you can get Tim." I am always amiable in my ignorance, and I think they appreciate that. I remember trying to soothe a woman who had just been presented with a diagnosis/estimate on her car. Her mechanic was assuming that she was stupid because she was a woman, she ranted. She had already figured out the problem, and it was the altimeter. I decided, right then and there, that I would always freely admit my ignorance to save people the necessity of pointing it out to me.
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There is one hard and fast mechanical rule that I have learned. I will share (Get a pencil and paper, you might want to make yourself a flow chart), As previously reported, if I hear the car making a funny noise, I point this out to Tim at the earliest opportunity. Almost invariably, I will get one of two answers. He will either say, "That noise? Oh, that's nothing" or he will say, "I don't know. Drive it. It will either get worse, or it won't". He's always right. It's either nothing, or it gets worse, or it doesn't.
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I have discovered, however, that I am not qualified to utter those words. I made the mistake of doing that once. I heard a noise, one that sounded, to my sadly untrained ear, minor. Telling myself confidently, "Drive it. It will either get worse, or it won't", I turned up the radio and continued about my business. I pulled into the driveway a few hours later. Before I could even shut off the engine, our front door flew open, and Tim came charging down the steps with a very angry look on his face. "Can't you hear that?" he scolded. "You need to tell me when you hear things like that." You might find yourself tempted to think that this was some huge horrible grinding noise that any moron would have gotten nervous about, something so obvious that the aforementioned moron would have become alarmed and immediately sought the assistance of a highly trained professional. It wasn't though. It was just a quiet, odd little noise, and it did not set off any alarms with this moron at all.
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Like the parent of any teenager, I've had plenty of bizarre conversations in my life, but the ensuing conversation this day went immediately to the top of the charts. Tim: "When you hear a noise like that, you need to let me know right away." Me (exasperated): "Tim, I don't get it. How do you tell a 'that's nothing' noise from a 'drive it and it either get worse or it won't' noise? And how do you tell when a 'drive it and it will either get worse or it won't' noise has crossed over, becoming a 'red alert, danger, danger, man the lifeboats because the Titanic's going down' noise?"
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He just fixed me with a look that said something to the effect of "You are soooooo lucky that you married your mechanic..." The compromise here was that I report every single noise I hear. It's a fairly good plan. The only flaw to it would be during the months of 'Zepp-tember' and 'Rock-tober' when my radio tends to be a little louder than usual.
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Just to let you know, I'm starting to think that there is maybe just the slightest bit of hope for me. A while back, I got into my friend's car. She pulled out, and I said, "Gees, Jean, how long has your car been making that noise?" and she said, "Oh, you hear it too?" I certainly could. If I'd have heard my own car making that noise, I'd have stopped what I was doing and hightailed right off to my mechanic. Jean had been hearing this noise for some time, and been assured that it was nothing by her mechanic, who is, coincidently, not her husband. She was embarrassed to take it back and ask him again. "Jean", I said, "You might want to stop over and let my mechanic take a look at it." She did. Tim discovered her wheel bearings were shot.
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Jean's car got fixed and yet another happy and relieved woman left our house, singing Tim's praises. Really, it doesn't bother me at all, because I know that I'm special. I know that I'm Tim's best and favorite customer, with no reason for jealousy. The other women pay for their parts. I'm the only one allowed to barter.

3 comments:

PaintedPromise said...

Barter! i love it!

me and Randy have a deal... if it breathes, eats and poops, it's my responsibility. if it has wheels, a motor or both, it's his responsibility. even the wheels and/or motors that are in our lives BECAUSE of the things that eat, breathe and poop. that includes the horse trailers, the feeding golf cart, and even my poop wheelbarrow which went flat about every 2 days. we finally spend the money for a no-flat tire...

debby said...

Which goes to prove MY point...if it poops, it's bound to complicate my life. That being said, I seem to accumulate things that poop anyway.

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

I am so impressed with your smarts in marrying your mechanic. My mother always rues the fact that she married a cattleman who is not remotely mechanical - its a LONG way to the shop to get it fixed when its broke out here! (about 50km) It must save you SO much stress. Love your stories.