I came from, among MANY other things, a car family. Before I could talk, I was whisked to the Chicago Auto Show (a yearly tradition in Casa de la Sausage), and one of my earliest memories is of stealing a Sharpee Marker and decorating the inside of my uncle’s painstakingly restored 1969 Stingray with my finest doodles. It’s a wonder I made it past my first birthday.
To me, there’s nothing more intoxicating than getting out on the open road, shifting seamlessly from fourth to fifth gear and just going. Seeing where the road takes me. Letting my mind crawl alongside the wheels while I roam the roads, my skull cavity blissfully empty and my heart filled with the happiness that only wandering can bring me.
I don’t often get the chance to do that anymore, because my minivan, although practical, doesn’t evoke the same sort of wanderlust that my cherry red sports car does. The gears don’t scream as I red line right before I shift from first to second, the engine doesn’t lurch comfortingly with every shift, and when it comes to gripping the road like a glove, well, the minivan always feels like it’s one toke over the line (sweet Jesus).
Yeah, I’m a wanderer.
I’ve always meant to take a class on car maintenance. I know they offer one at the community college nearby and I’ve always thought that I should know how my car works. Especially since I got ripped off. What, ME bitter?
It’s happened a couple of times, where I’ve been taken for a ride (heh) because I simply didn’t know any better and each time it’s made me Furious George later on.
The first time, I nearly bought a rear-wheel drive sports car to be driven in the Midwest all year round. The car weighed all of 4 pounds, and when I asked the salesman about it, he’s all, “Oh, you’ll be FINE in the winter!! It’s FRONT WHEEL DRIVE.” When I asked my friend’s father about it, he’s all, “I NEVER drive that car in the winter! It’s totally rear-wheel drive.”
When I called to chew out the salesperson to his manager for being a lying douchebag, the manager said, “Well, that’s YOUR fault for not knowing.” That’s a safety issue. And I was lied to. Way to be an upstanding citizen!
The next several times, it was all done at a major oil changing place. I’m sure it’s happened to most of us.
Oil Change Person: “There’s something wrong with xxhasfigbfsdKfg.”
Aunt Becky: “Huh?”
Oil Change Monkey: “I SAID there’s something wrong with wntuifdhsvfdosG.”
Aunt Becky: “..uh, okay.”
Oil Change Guy: “You need this fixed NOW.”
Aunt Becky: “Why?”
Oil Change Dickhead: “If you don’t, your car will EXPLODE and you will DIE!!!!!!!!!”
Aunt Becky: “Holy crap.”
Oil Change Jerk: “Pretty much if you don’t get this done, you’re an idiot and you’re killing yourself and hundreds of innocent children.”
Aunt Becky: “Wow. When you put it that way…”
Oil Change Manipulator: “Give me your credit card now.”
Aunt Becky: “..fine.”
Oil Change Guy: “That will be $4,000.”
Aunt Becky: “WHAT!?!!”
Oil Change Shyster: “Saving the world isn’t cheap, sucker.”
Because I do not want this to happen to any of my Pranksters, I have teamed up with Ford to do a Q and A with Cristina Rodriguez where I can ask her all about Car Maintenance. It’s going to be on Blog Talk Radio, which is pretty much going to win me an Oscar or something.
Ford wanted me to ask YOU (which is the part where YOU become celebrities) what you want to know about car maintenance or repair so that I can ask their expert. Or, if you have no specific questions, just, you know, talk about cars and stuff in the comments. I can totally pull an interview out of stuff you talk about. The more stuff you say, the better.
So pull up a seat next to Your Aunt Becky, I’ll pour you a nice glass of vodka (only if you’re not driving), and tell me what’s on your mind.