austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

The first day I got me a fuel pump and the next day I got me an engine and a trunk

And in miscellaneous bits of business: my car reached its 95,000-mile service call. That's mostly interesting in that now, I believe, it's had more regular service calls in Michigan than it had in New Jersey. Consider that it was in New Jersey only from mid-2010 through mid-2012 and in Michigan from mid-2012 through today and you see how much less driving I do these days.

The only thing exceptional about this was that I needed a brake job. Which is annoying about about reasonable for how long I've had the car and how many miles have been on it and how every time I get the car up to the legal 70 miles per hour I decide at some later time to make it stop. This would be an expensive one, as they needed new pads and (ultimately) to replace the rotors and to replace one of the sets of brake calipers.

Where this went horrifically wrong is that I mentioned this to my father, in the hopes of getting a little sympathy for having an unexpected several-hundred-dollars repair bill dropped in my lap. No such luck. My father was seized with the idea that the dealers were playing me for a sap. He wanted to know what kind of place would just need to replace one of the calipers, for example, when they're ordinarily replaced in pairs. With the idea that the dealers might be ripping me off in his head I couldn't dissuade him, not even by pointing out that when I said ``one of the calipers'' I meant ``one pair of calipers'' or even ``you know, I kind of stopped listening to the repair guy after he started talking about the brakes because I really don't care what they're doing and they could replace every single word with Star Trek: The Next Generation technobabble except I could tell where the technobabble doesn't make sense''. But also deep down my father believes the only place to get an honest car repair is one of two shops he knows, both near the Raritan River in New Jersey, where we do not live and have not lived in a long while.

So besides the hassle of the car repairs --- which took several days, because they had to get something or other delivered --- I had to spend several days photographing and e-mailing everything the dealers printed out and sending them to my father, who'd tell me what to look for in an honest, or more honest, repair place. And he finally, ultimately, allowed that it was possible I was merely paying too much and not getting a completely fraudulent brake job. I, ultimately, have learned not to let my father know I'm unhappy with the need for unexpected car repairs. Really looking forward to the 100,000-mile service and probably inevitable replacement of the serpentine belt.

Trivia: Herbert Hoover's European relief program, with about $100 million from the United States and $62 million from Britain, opened offices in 32 countries by 1919. Source: Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World, Margaret Macmillan.

Currently Reading: Handwriting In America: A Cultural History, Tamara Plakins Thornton.


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