Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now I work in the ghetto

Last weekend the “Service Engine Soon” light came on in my car. I wasn’t too worried about it because my car hasn’t made any funny noises or had smoke pouring from its hood, so figured it was just something small. Today I decided to get the light cleared off and get the read out from the electronics in the car because (1) the light bothers me, I hate having it stare me in the face as if warning me of impending doom that perhaps one day on the highway it’ll blow up and I’ll lose control and die. I know this won’t happen but this is what I think because I am crazy and want to be prepared for the worst case scenario. (2) I want it cleared just in case something major does go wrong with my car and I need to know but then again I’d probably notice that without the light because then I would have a hole in my engine or a burn through the hood of my car and really I’ve heard those stupid lights just short out anyway and stay on forever so what’s the point? I mean would the light really come on if the tire on my car fell off? I digress…………..I look up the nearest Pep Boys to my work because that’s the only real auto store I’ve seen in this area but on the way there I spot a AutoZone. So I pull into the parking lot and ask if they can do the read out and the guy said they aren’t allowed to do it anymore. “WHAT?!?! Are you serious?” “Yeah, they were getting on our backs for doing it so now we’re not allowed to.” Who? Who was getting on your back? Your boss? Car dealerships? because that’s the device they use to lure you back in and spend 300% more than you need to on parts that don’t really need to be replaced. I ask the clerk if there was a mechanic close by that could clear the light for me. A girl at the counter sends me to a place around the corner and says they can help. I drive up the street and don’t see anything that resembles a car mechanic shop. I turn around and come back and spot the garage with only 2 car ports. I follow the “parking’ signs to around back and park my car. I walk through the office door and there is no one in sight. I yell, “Hello?” still nothing. I begin to wander through the office and find two guys in the lounge eating. “Do you work here?” “Yeah……do you have a problem with your car?” “Well yeah…….my service light is on and I want to get it cleared.” “Oh, well we’re eating right now………….so……..” WTH??? You’re telling me you’re going to turn away a potential customer because you’re stuffing your face full of burrito? Somehow that doesn’t really seem like a good business model. The guy stands up says something in Spanish to the guy standing in the garage and then asks me to pull my car up front. I pull it up front, open the door and this guy with slicked back hair and a cigarette asks for my keys. He turns the car on and then leans in to try and find the connection point under the dash. Mean while I’m watching as the smoke from his cig is wafting into my car. REALLY?!? This guy is actually going to continue to hold his cig while trying to service my car mean while polluting the air inside my cab where I will have to sit in afterwards and smell the stench of smoke? But it gets better he then actually puts the cig back in his mouth and smokes in my car while checking the device. I’m in such shock I’m not really sure what to do. Should I just grab the cig out of his hand and throw it on the ground and lecture him about the effects of 2nd smoke and lung cancer? I was also trying to remember the Spanish phrase for No Smoking, thinking if I yelled it at him he might get the idea. Luckily the device finished reading and so then he walks back to the work bench where stacks of books are shoved under the cart and he pulls out the one for my car. Apparently using modern technology isn’t a process they use at this garage. He locates the code in the book then takes it to the original guy I spoke with who apparently is the only one that speaks English and tells me it’s (1) of three things but none that would prevent me from driving. I just won’t pass my smog test. He tells me that in order to narrow it down he’d have to have the car for at least 2hrs and seeing that they were already put out about being interrupted during lunch I get back in my car and drive off only to realize the light is still on. GREAT! Now I have to find another dealership and go through the same process. Maybe this time I’ll go after the lunch hour so I won’t inconvenience anyone and post a No Smoking sign in my car window just in case they don’t realize it’s rude.

Today's nature lesson this cuttle fish frequently walks the street of San Fransisco. Last seen at a Lady Gaga tribute show wearing the bubble dress.

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