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If there’s one thing I hate in this world, it’s cancer. If there are two things I hate, it’s cancer and meatloaf. If there are three things I hate, it’s cancer, meatloaf, and car maintenance. I will continue to do my best to avoid the first two items on that list but am guaranteed to spend the rest of my days coping with the fact that car maintenance is a necessary evil that I simply cannot ignore. I mean, I could ignore it, but that would likely result in more pain and suffering.
Many moons ago, before I went off on the adventure that was attending college out of state, ten hours from home, my dad took me out into his shop and forced me to learn how to do various car maintenance tasks in order to “prepare” me for living on my own. I bitched and moaned through the entire lesson, grimacing at the grime on my hands. After all was said and done, I had changed out a tire, both tail lights, the cabin A/C filter, and the oil. Though this was all a noble effort on behalf of my father, I think he forgot that there are plenty of reputable establishments that would perform the worst of those same tasks for me at a nominal cost. As if I would ever change my own oil. Seriously.
I’m well-known within my group of friends for running out of gas. Yes, I know how absurd this is. I also routinely drive my car over the suggested oil change limit. Like, pretty far over. These seemingly menial tasks just bother the hell out of me. I think it’s more of a matter of inconvenience. Time is money, neither of which I want to spend at the Shell station or the Jiffy Lube.
For one, gas stations are nasty. I am genuinely grossed-out at having to grab the handle of a gas pump. It seems that it is a matter of science that it is always blistering hot when I need to fill up my car. It could be in the dead of winter, but as soon as I pull up to the pump, it suddenly turns to 107 degrees. Upon turning off the engine, I have to suffer through at least 8 minutes of no A/C. This also kills whatever jam session I was having, and disconnects my phone from the Bluetooth. To top it all off, I then have to avoid the leering eyes of the creepy dude that is inevitably on the other side of the pump as me. Don’t even get me started on gas prices. Might as well just throw my money straight into the commode.
As much as I hate the gas thing, that is small potatoes compared to the oil change. There are few things worse than taking two hours out of my Saturday, driving my car to the shop, and sitting in a weird-smelling lobby while making miserable small-talk with the dude behind the desk and sipping shitty coffee. There is usually either a screaming child or inconsiderate individual having a very personal phone conversation on speaker in there somewhere, too. After I fight my way out of those trenches, to make matters worse, I have to pay real money for this whole experience. My hard-earned dollars, gone, just so my car won’t explode and die, or do whatever it is that cars do when you don’t change the oil.
Recently, I was returning home after a particularly long road trip. It was around 10:00 at night when I heard that awful ding sound, followed shortly thereafter by a glowing orange symbol on the dash. My back-right tire was low. I was only 15 minutes from home, so I checked the PSI and determined that I would probably be fine to make it back without issue. The temperature had dropped around 20 degrees, so I thought perhaps the weather was the culprit for this sudden fluctuation in tire pressure. As I’m sure you’ve already deduced, I was incorrect.
I got home that evening, unpacked the car, and hit the sack, my back-right tire a “tomorrow’s me” type of problem. That next morning, I woke up late for work. I threw on my business attire: pencil skirt, heels, and all, and threw open the front door. It was raining cats and dogs. Amazing.
I broke the NFL record for the 40-yard dash, and made it to the driver’s seat without getting completely soaked. I turned the car on as I attempted to dry my rain-covered door with a Taco Bell napkin I retrieved from the console. In an instant, I was reminded of the previous night’s tire situation. That damn orange symbol was glowing right into my stupid face. What had formerly been a mild concern was now headed full-steam in the direction of a flat. I got back out of my car, into the rain, dressed in my work clothes, and took a quick look at the tire. Not good, Bob. I climbed back into the front seat, hair now matted onto my forehead with rainwater, and weighed my options.
My roommate’s parents live one neighborhood over, so I called up her dad to see if I could run by and have him look at it. By the time I got to their house, it was clear that a quick air-up in the garage was unlikely to do the trick, this time. He aired me up just enough to get me to the Firestone across town, and I called my place of employment in order to explain my predicament. There’s nothing quite like disappointing your boss first thing in the morning.
The good fellas of Firestone immediately informed me that this tire had a leak. But luckily for me, this was a special leak. A leak that couldn’t be repaired. Turns out, I needed a whole new tire. I was already extremely tardy to work at this point and explained as much to my angels in mechanic’s clothes. Those fine gentlemen threw my spare on free of charge and I headed north, riding at a cool 55 mph on this donut of a wheel.
Two days later, I had to take off an entire afternoon in order to go back over to the shop to replace this godforsaken tire. $200 and an hour-and-a-half later, I had a new wheel, a new air filter, an oil change, and a piss-poor mood. I can think of many other things I would rather spend two Bennies on than a new tire. Shoes, for example. Though technically I guess a tire is a new shoe for your car. Whatever.
Put simply: I hate getting gas. I hate washing my car. I hate buying new tires. I hate getting it aligned. I hate getting the oil changed. Honestly, what even is a tune-up? Thank heavens my city just got hit with a wave of those newfangled Bird scooters. Guess I’ll just buy myself a brain bucket and hit the streets in style. Anything to avoid billion-degree burnt coffee and Sweet-N-Low in a tiny Styrofoam cup. .