April 30, 2008


I’m sitting at an auto service center. It’s one of the few of such establishments that I trust. I’ll walk into a downright filthy diner and slurp down some chow but I won’t think of bringing my vehicle to a garage that doesn’t meet my personal gold standards. These guys are good. I trust them.

I’ve just handed the keys to my Acura over to a service man who I have to admit is quite woofy (I tend to notice these things). It’s time for an oil change, tire rotation and yearly inspection (for the car, not for me). It’s difficult for me to hand the keys to my beloved vehicle over to another person regardless how much I trust them; I’ve only let a handful of people drive my car and Earl is the only one that has been trusted to repeat the experience. I’d let my sister drive my car again. She has the same zest I have behind the wheel.

Some folks find it surprising how much I love my car. On the flip side I don’t understand how someone could not love their car. I do not get the whole “it’s only a car” mentality. My car is an extension of my body when I’m behind the wheel. It’s not a car, it’s a friend. We’ve had good times together.

One of these days I’ll get around to changing my own oil and doing my own maintenance again. It’s an exercise that I enjoy. Earl and I were only a month or two into our relationship when I drove my Hyundai into the garage and changed the plugs and wires, changed the oil and did other maintenance while he watched. I don’t think he expected that from me. I was fortunate growing up; one of my best friends was the youngest of an auto mechanic that owned a junk yard. Like his father, he could get an engine started while it was still sitting on the floor of the garage. The inhalation of exhaust fumes probably kept me away from the drugs. That could explain a lot. We spent hours and hours rebuilding the engine in his ’69 Dodge pickup. He also helped out when my Dad and I moved the engine from my ’74 Chevy Vega to my ’76 Pontiac Astre.

Now that’s a car for a young driver: a 1974 Chevy Vega. It reached 55 in no less than five minutes, wouldn’t start unless you had your seat belt on and you could see and hear the rust do it’s work on the top side of the fenders.

I still loved it though.