Tale Tues: Car Parts and Organ Transplants


“I thought you should see these,” he said, respectfully setting down on the counter two clunky worn-out greasy car parts from my aging minivan.

He presented them as somberly as a surgeon explaining why some beloved relative had needed organ transplants. (That is, if surgeons were to actually present immediate family with their beloved’s old worn-out organs, withered lungs or deflated hearts, in the waiting room.)

Though he wasn’t the actual “surgeon,” just the boss of the garage. There was no grease (blood?) on his hands. He was only the bearer of a mechanic’s bad news.

And my Honda Odyssey is not my beloved. And I didn’t need to see greasy car parts, or hear the nasty details about how as well, some big-long-belt thing had to be entirely replaced.

“Can I have them?” Big Bro asked, his face aglow at the sight of greasy parts.  He likes to “tinker.” He wants me to promise him the old van once it was truly “dead” so he can dismember it. As he takes a hammer to ancient computers on his bedroom “tinker” table:

tinkertable

Back to my ailing Honda Odyssey: I’ve been taking my minivan to this same garage for regular 3,000-mile-oil-change-“wellness” visits since I acquired it a good nine years ago. Just before Big Bro was born. Before I spilled a bottle of clorox, bleaching the back a tie-died white. Before all the Goldfish were ground into the seats’ creases. Before the stickers Little Bro plastered on the windows….

stickers

I reminisce. As if I’m actually attached to this piece of aging machinery whose most recent “transplants” were costing me $2000 plus.

A price tag that I stupidly hadn’t requested before the “surgery.” And the reason Mr. Boss Man probably was handling this all with a certain delicacy; that included the actual proof of the broken parts.

But even if I had asked, so what? Am I going to buy a new car? No.

Mr. Boss wore little round spectacles. If it weren’t for the car-organ parts, he would have struck me as a librarian I was consulting at a reference desk.

Or maybe a cognitive behavioral therapist trying to retrain me how to think: “You’ve hit 100,000 miles. This stuff happens.”

I must have looked near tears.

At the core of cognitive behavioral therapy is the fact that our thoughts control our feelings. So if you’re thinking bad things about your car, then you will feel angry and/or depressed about said car – and about the $2000 you would have preferred to blow on an extravagant weekend-getaway with poolside bars and spider monkeys (thinking Costa Rica).

Mr. Bespectacled Boss was kind and soft spoken. “Honda is a good car. You should get another 100,000 out of it. This is all just a bump in the road.”

By “all” we both knew he meant more than just these recent transplants; the $600 air- conditioning hose replacement last fall due to a pinhole leak (a pin hole). More recently, the $486 replacement of leaking power-steering hose.

I looked at the greasy parts on the counter with great chagrin matched by my son’s enthusiasm (“so cooool” ), and wondered where I’d be now if I’d remained in denial. If I’d never stopped in to have a simple brake light replaced and mentioned casually how creaky the car had become.

“Creaky?” Mr Boss had seemed unduly alarmed.

“Well, hey, don’t we all get a little creaky with age?”

It was a joke that he didn’t get even though we were clearly contemporaries, and he probably remembered as well as I did growing up with actual roll-down car windows.

That somber look transformed his face, a shade pulled down. “Let’s go for a test drive.”

And that’s when he’d made the dire diagnosis: If we didn’t replace these broken organ parts, as well as that belt which could snap on the road, the engine could be ruined.

I do regard Mr. Bespectacled Mechanic Boss as upstanding, as he actually has discouraged me from repairs too pricey evidently even for a price tag – Like fixing the one automatic sliding door that no longer is automatic.  And  the rear air-conditioning if that ever goes…

This most recent rear-air-conditioning conversation came up just yesterday, as I was dropping off the car because the front air-conditioning once again wasn’t working.

Another pinhole. In another hose. As there are evidently five hoses to air-conditioning systems.

I was despairing. “A pinhole? You can’t just patch a tiny pinhole?”

That somber look was gone. Mr. Bespectacled Mechanic Boss Man laughed!  “It’s not like a band-aid fix….”

I wasn’t laughing.

The shade once again came down. Not a chance that it might snap back up and let in the light:  “It’s too much pressure going through the hose for just a patch.”

Whatever. I didn’t need any more surgical details. I needed a vodka martini. Straight-up. With three olives.

So today, while they’re replacing this second air-conditioning pin-hole-pricked hose, Mr. Boss said they might as well replace the front tires which were now quite “bald”….Well, why the heck not? I mean, I can’t drive on bald tires, right?

On a brighter note: My 2003 Odyssey has been recalled! Yes! Something’s wrong with the ignition so the car could actually slide backwards while in park or something… Whatever. Who cares. Because the repair is actually free!

Life does have its bumps in the road. But also its free rewards. Free fixings! As well as car organ parts for tinkering:

carparts

 

 

 


About Sandra

Author;editor of The Woven Tale Press at thewoventalepress.net; mother; weaver
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17 Responses to Tale Tues: Car Parts and Organ Transplants

  1. This is a good one! I, too, am in the repair phase (“middle-age”) of a ’06 Saturn – a model GM doesn’t even make anymore. But it’s dependable and rides well, and I figure that paying the equivalent of a new piece of furniture from time is worth it. A new car would cost a lot and would wipe out savings, or else it would take years to pay off. Furniture doesn’t pose a safety risk if it wears out or breaks down.

  2. Rebecca ~ Raige Creations says:

    Oh Sandra, I can so understand your pain. Just a few weeks ago I went in for an oil change, regular maintenance as we had to pick up our son from college, a 5 1/2 hour drive each way. I wanted to be safe so thought an oil change was a good idea….well an expensive new battery later, the mechanic, whom we also trust, says ‘I don’t want you driving down the road to your house much less 5 hours on those brakes!’ Yes, a complete set of new brakes. I have blocked the cost from my memory because it was quite traumatic to hear. He noticed my panic, and kindly said he could do a fix that would last about a month, but I better be back in a month because if I wait any longer it would be dangerous. Yes, I like my car, but I am mad at her right now, lol. Always happens when you can’t afford it, least expect it, don’t have time for it. Right?

    • Sandra says:

      Oh, been there with the brakes AND the battery, Raige. And it does always come back to safety, especially on the long road trips back and forth to Gramma’s with the boys. You have to get it fixed. Just like we had to pay $3000 to have our basement pumped out each time it flooded before we invested more $$$ in a drywell.

  3. steph says:

    I know it’s not funny having to part with those funds on an aging car, but it is funny reading about it in your capable storytelling hands. I love the “wellness” visits and all the comparisons with surgery and medical issues. That’s good! I love the way you told this Tues tale. Engrossing. I wanted to make myself a vodka martini and enjoy the ride!

  4. Desi says:

    I don’t usually relate to car stories, since I haven’t yet learned how to drive one, but I enjoyed this one quite a lot. Life and wear and time leaves its mark, that’s for sure. Makes me feel like it’s time to head to the spa and get some of my leaky mental hoses replaced!

    • Sandra says:

      lol, we all have those don’t, we those “leaky mental hoses.” And trust me, they only get leakier as you get older:)

  5. Glen says:

    I resemble the bald tires. 😉 Very funny and entertaining Tuesday Tale. I enjoy every one, Sandra.

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks, Glen. And I wanted to read that interview I saw with you on one of the google groups, but something was wrong with the server that day and I couldn’t get there. Do you have the URL?

  6. Anne Belov says:

    Ah, I remember well the day I got the “don’t take it off the island speech” from my mechanic. If it’s any consolation, keeping your really not that old Honda on the road is cheaper than buying a new car. (And let’s not talk about my personal leaky hoses, thank you very much.

  7. Oh man.

    Car stuff just makes my head whirl.

  8. Kathy says:

    I hate vehicle repairs. They always cost a fortune. Very rare when you are treated to a free repair because of a recall.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

    • Sandra says:

      lol, Kathy, lucky me. A recall. And for a day I get a nice clean rental that I can pretend is my own. Let’s just pray that I return it in the same shape.

  9. k~ says:

    You can write about anything Sandra, and you make it interesting in the process. Surgical procedures whether on human organs, or mechanical parts is expensive, exhausting, a little bit scary and a sobering experience for observers. You managed to mingle the two in this car-experience and put here for us to share. That makes you a doctor… or nurse… of words.

    k~

  10. Amy Morgan says:

    There is almost nothing worse than being at the mercy of a mechanic with “your parts” in his hands. Good you have one you trust! Great post Sandra and once again, so entertaining. I hope you smile as much writing them as much as we do reading them.

  11. Julie Palmer says:

    I know the feeling, I have lost my beloved car, i have had for nearly seven years.They are part of the family and will always be. 🙂

  12. I don’t actually drive at the moment but enjoyed reading this.

    Thank you for linking up with The Weekend Blog Hop

    Hope to see you again tomorrow.

    Laura x x x

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