Thursday, January 12, 2012

D Is For Drive

It was time for my 5,000 mile complimentary service maintenance on my car. So, today I drove through a torrential rainstorm and fog to get to my appointment, arriving ten minutes late because I drove 25 miles an hour through the streets and byways. The people behind me were most unhappy, but who cares? I know a dangerous mud-puddle when I see one.

The car dealership is highly customer-service conscious. I went to the lounge and waited with three others, eating the cholesterol-laden dinner I brought in with me and trying to de-stress from the monsoon drive. There was gourmet coffee waiting, a big screen TV and cushy chairs. One of the salesmen , a very nice man indeed, showed up with extra napkins (was I being messy?) just to be nice.  I was probably being messy
"I thought you could use some of these. Enjoy your dinner."  And he didn't "ma'am" me. I so hate the  ma'am. Mucho points. A few minutes later he brought back little wet towelettes for me to wash my hands with! Wait. Did I accidentally check into the Hilton? 

I looked around. Nope. The desk sign said PARTS, not Hotel California. Wonder if he has any, just no, I won't ask.

Parts. Parts! Service! I forgot to tell them something. I went to the PARTS window. This is never a good idea in my world. Never.

"I would like to talk to my mechanic, please. I need to tell him something."

I realize that this is a bit like asking to have a word of prayer with your surgeon AFTER he's cut open your internal cuticles, but still, it was necessary. A few minutes later another nicely groomed but greasy man came to my rescue.
"I forgot to tell you that the car is making a sound."
"What kind of sound?"
"Well, it sounds sort of like vrooommmm vrooom vrom but it never gets all the way to vrroooooooooooooom."
Blank stares.

"You know, like it never changes gears. I keep waiting for it to change gears but I swear it never does. SOMEtimes it does, when I'm on the big highway, but usually through slow-poke town it just makes that noise."
"And what kind of noise did you say it made?"

"You know.....don't you? That noise a car makes JUST BEFORE it's about to change into 2nd gear, but then it doesn't. Like hhhhhmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMmmmmm!!!!"   (You hear that, too, don't you Bloggy People?) Sort of anti-climatic and disappointing (I left that description out) He wasn't getting it. I decided to try the old process of elimination approach. Perhaps his learning style was not aural, but more verbal. Brilliant!

"It's not a tick-tick-tick-tick sound or a knock knock sound  (trying to remember all the sounds that Goober would make at Wally's Filling Station on the Andy Griffith show) or a put-put-puttter sound. It's steady. And loud. And worrisome.  It makes a crescendo. I think my car is going to blow up."
Don't they know ANYthing about music?

How could he not understand this? I am very good at making noises, in fact, I have a degree in it. I can even make the noise in another language if you'd like. The other guy looked at him and said, "I think she means the transmission."

"Yes! That is exactly what I mean. The transmission!"

"Your car is only six months old. It's probably not the transmission, but we'll check it out."

"And another thing, Mr. Nice Man. It doesn't drink any oil. None. Nada. Not a drop. I keep taking it to the service station. ('cause there's this NNNNNOISE) They do the dipstick thing and always say the same thing. That I don't need oil and everything is fine. How can I drive 5,000 miles and not need any oil? That is not it?"

"Oh, yes, ma'am" (curse of the ma'am!) New cars use new technology with synthetic oil. You won't need oil for another 5,000 miles."

I looked at him like the mere child that he was and sent him on his way to find out what was making the John Cage symphony in my car.

Meanwhile, I cornered the lucky salesman again, discussing installation of a remote entry and Viper alarm system. "Do you want to be able to start and warm up your car from your Smartphone?" he asked. "Heck no. Why would I want to do that? I don't want my Smartphone and all the people in it to know where my car is."

That settles that. "I would like remote control access using a FOB remote control like normal if you don't mind, please."
Using my Smartphone to start my car would be like using my toothbrush to make the coffee.

Enter mechanic with the news.

"I'm afraid to ask, but what is wrong with my car?"


"But but but...there HAS to be. What about the noise??! It made it all the way here."

"We drove it. We didn't hear any noise.  Tires are rotated, computer systems are perfect, everything is balanced and ready to go."

It was like when you go to the doctor and all your symptoms go away as soon as you get there. I was miffed. He walked me to the garage. I started to open the door to the betraying-little-thing sitting there silently smirking at me when I just had to ask one more time. "No noise? But. How? It's loud and ...steady..and hummmmmmming and...LOUD! Like it's in 2nd gear all the time!"

Then light dawned.
"Ummmm...are you putting the car into drive?

"Well, of course I'm putting the car into drive. How could it drive if I didn't tell it to drive?"

 "Show me," he said.

Ah ha! He was a tactile learner. I should have known.

"Are you having trouble getting the cruise control to set?"
"Why, yes, yes I am!"

Are you ready for this? I was putting the car in OVERdrive, Bloggy People. THIRD gear. Not second, not first, not fifth. THIRD. I never heard the transmission change because it wasn't changing.

"See the "3" beside the odometer?"
"That is third gear. You want to always see the D there. D is for......"

"DRIVE!" I chimed in using my best coloratura accent. "D is for Drive!"

Who knew???! I was so happy to learn that D is for drive and that my car is not going to blow up and I had been over-driving the poor tired thing all this time with just a slight shift to the left instead of the right vowing to take a long hard look at the actual manual when I get home and wondering why it's more difficult to work the CD player than the gear shift even if I AM doing it wrong and actually quite delighted that he didn't ma'am me not once.

But still. He doesn't know a THING about music.

I told you there was a noise.


Red Shoes said...

Hahaha!! This is great... I was thinking, when I read the 'varooom' part and you said you weren't hearing it change gears that you had it in a lower gear...

So that's great that the car is in wonderful shape!!!



Karen Jo said...

I had to grin while reading this. I don't know a thing about cars, but I have had the same situation pop up with other things.

skywind said...

hahahhh.....very funny. great! :)

Mimi Lenox said...

Red - I knew the men would figure this out before I got to the end. That was really sexist of me to say...wasn't it?

Mimi Lenox said...

Karen Jo - Ha! I know NOTHING about cars. Oh, you figured that out..

Mimi Lenox said...

Skywind - I'm sure they are laughing still...but probably not in a funny ha ha way!

Akelamalu said...

It's always something simple that make you feel stupid isn't it? :#

Red Shoes said...

Mimi... No, of course not! I'm just surprised that the mechanic didn't think of it earlier!!



The Gal Herself said...

So ultimately, it's a happy story. A funny story. For that I am grateful, as not all your car stories have been happy or funny.

Travis Cody said...

I was going to laugh, but I had a rental this past week while my Liberty was in the shop. It was a Dodge Caliber. The gear shift was a bit funky and it was easy to miss Drive and slide down into Low.

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