Tuesday, March 4, 2008

redefining courtesy ...

the first time the battery died on my "courtesy" car, i blamed myself. since the radio didn't automatically turn off with the nova, i figured i must have accidentally left it on when i last parked. i like to cruise around busting out the bass during "talk of the nation" until i fall into a doughey and pliant state of zen known as the neal conan trance. forgetting would be so easy under those circumstances.

this meant walking two miles to the YMCA, then getting picked up by my landlord in his flashy albeit unseasonable pink sebring convertible, and brought back to the not-so-super nova.

the next day, when the battery was dead again, i wondered if i had accidentally hit the radio button when i got out of the car. if my 40 pound backpack or 30 pound purse or 25 pound head had grazed the button. perhaps a passive attempt to conjure neal.

once again, my landlord came zipping up the street in the sebring. this time he mumbled something about wanting to look at the engine, check some wires, but all i took away from this suggesting was the sound of grunting and his paws stained with oil and the mavericks cooing from a boom box in the back seat of his car. i said "nah. i think i've got it covered now."

today when the battery was dead i decided i was driving a bona fide piece of shit. i sat in the drivers' seat, mocked by a no-smoking sign on the dashboard, unable to elicit even a gasp from the engine. courtesy car, my ass. it's the least courteous car i've ever driven -- i don't care what they have stenciled on the door. i could stencil "karen carpenter" onto the small of my back and it doesn't mean i'm going to call a grape dinner and have the voice of an angel.

a college-aged neighbor boy -- probably one i've narked out to the fuzz -- got home just in time to jump it this time. it was a cold and clinical transfer of battery power. all i know about him is that he had just gotten home from class, thought he might know how to jump a car, and had a loaf of white wonder bread in his back seat.

it was the "might" that worried me. i didn't want to still be picking shards of the courtesy car out of my cheek bone next thanksgiving.

he got it started and i took the car immediately back to the auto body shop and traded it in for the gold version of the same car. they didn't seem surprised that it had died three times.

"batteries die," was the response.
"but what about 'courtesy'?" i wanted to ask.

this car has a more streamlined version of the logo and three no smoking signs. the alingment seems a bit off. when the car guy asked if i had filled the gas tank before returning the other car, i reminded him that every time i took the key out of the ignition, the battery zapped dead. i gave him a bit of that "batteries die" action.

i can be courteous, too.


CDP said...

That was hysterical.

Anonymous said...

why is it taking them so long to fix your car??????????????


L Sass said...

So frustrating! Also... I love that you have a "breaking things" label.

christina said...

fannie -- they couldn't get the car in until last monday, and it could be a few more days.

Sornie said...

Maybe that car should be billed as "a terrible inconvenience car".