My job as a pet sitter requires being on the road a lot. Though roading around is usually uneventful, occasionally an event occurs to add spice to my day. Last week, while screaming away from a client's home, my car's oil light flashed on. This was a surprise, as the oil light never asserted itself while the car was actually in motion before. Being concerned, I drove my sickly automobile to Jack the Mechanic. I've been taking my car to Jack the Mechanic for routine oil changes, and other repairs, for years now. Jack's an o.k. guy, but has an annoying habit of calling me "sweet heart" and "my dear" suggesting a general shadiness in the particulars. My car, a mature Toyota Corolla, has a talent for aggravating Jack as it rarely needs major work. Standing before Jack, I could feel his monetary excitement producing a heady atmosphere in his expensively redesigned waiting room.
He said his "boys" would take a look at it right away. While waiting anxiously for the bad news, I read Manly Man Illustrated and Shady Mechanic Monthly magazines. Time ticked by. Finally, Jack entered the room. "Well my dear," he scowled in concern, "you have a leaky seal and a rusty oil pan. I will order you a new pan. The seal can be fixed now." Since Jack's parts are delivered by yak, it was my turn to scowl in concern. "Don't worry about a thing!" he said with flying gusto, "We'll take care of it. The part will be here tomorrow morning." Yeah! RIGHT!
I entered the Twilight Zone of Jack's garage.
The following day, I was informed the part had not arrived as scheduled. A new appointment was made for the next morning. Feeling foolishly optimistic, I drove my car to Jack's for the needed replacement part. The yak had a broken leg. Expressing grave sympathy for the offended yak, I asked when the part might possibly limp to the finish line. The Wednesday of next week was cautiously suggested. No longer feeling optimistic, I drove to a nearby Jiffy Lube to have the oil level checked. The level was fine. Days passed until finally the big day arrived! My pan was HERE! Words cannot express the joy I felt, as I drove into the garage knowing the yak pulled through. It was that special combination of Christmas Day happiness, and that sinking feeling you get when you learn you owe the I.R.S. money.
Joy tinged with psychoneurotic hysteria.
The shiny new oil pan sat in its box waiting for quick installment. Jack pulled it out to show me. The pan looked as expected, though it took so long to arrive, an oil pan wife and lots of little oil pans would not have been surprising. The oil pan did not travel totally alone however. It was accompanied by a skinny box concealing something called a GASKET. Though I had no idea what a gasket was, it was certainly very thin. Perhaps, like a dehydrated sponge, the skinny gasket would expand when exposed to oil. I went home while the "boys" laboriously introduced the pan and gasket to my car. Several hours later, I was told the patient was waiting to be taken home. Though my car is now happy, I can't say so much for my wallet. It's as skinny as the gasket.
I really need to learn how to fix my own car!