Thursday, November 03, 2005


My Golf and my scooter are now back with me, both working delightfully thanks to nothing more than me throwing almost fourteen hundred dollars at their respective problems.

I collected the Golf on Thursday evening. I walked in at the same time as a man wearing a purple business shirt and a matching tie, with the sort of discreet hair gelling that suggests someone who began in sales and found that it worked for him very, very nicely... the sort of very, very nicely that lands one in the red Ferrari I'd noticed the previous day.

To their credit, the chipper Swiss-German mechanics didn't shun me and fall over each other to attend to him. But there was a slight, almost imperceptible difference in attitude. He was driving a car that most mechanics would like to get down on their knees and lick. I was driving an eleven year old Golf. He was a member of the Brotherhood of the Fine Automobile. I am a member of the Society for Small Mass-Produced Volkswagens. You can't blame the mechanics - they're only human.

I picked up the scooter the following evening. I'd phoned earlier that afternoon, asking if it was ready, and the mechanic had given me a bright, "Yes, it's ready for you now!" as if he'd come running out of the garage to answer the phone, having just tightened the last bolt.

I'd been tempted to shout, "Liar! It's been sitting there fixed for the last three days! I saw it from the window of the BUS I was forced to take! You were supposed to call me when it was ready!" But I didn't. Good thing too, as I exhausted all his goodwill when I picked it up, and innocently asked if there was a warranty on the repairs.

The temperature in the room dropped a few degrees. Birds singing in the trees outside fell silent. Then I learnt a few things:

1) He'd been repairing motorcycles for sixteen years.

2) He'd given me a good deal on the repairs to my scooter.

3) He could give me a written warranty IF I REALLY WANTED IT.

None of this information was delivered in a raised voice, but there was a certain tone, a certain posture, certain lack of eye contact, that suggested I had cast aspersions on the very core of his identity.

My inner vituperator wanted to shout, "Oh come on, it's a fair question! I'm parting with my hard-earned cash here! So the scooter's working again; what do you want, flowers and a muffin basket?" Fortunately a wise inner voice (or more likely just mental inertia) counselled against it.


Blogger MC Etcher said...

I know exactly how you feel - we've spent a total of about $2100 dollars on our vehicles lately.

Much better than catching the bus, however.

2:01 AM  

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