Check Engine-Needs Maintenance

SouthernCulture, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

You know those little yellow lights on your dashboard? The ones that tell you it’s time to take the car in to be serviced, get new oil, or some such thing? Yeah, well, I do too-and, I got to know them a whole lot better this past week too. Allow me to explain.

So, the other day, after I started my car, I noticed that it was blinking. Not my entire car actually, just those little yellow lights on the dashboard. “Oh great!” I thought, “damn car’s gone out on me again.” Of course this had to happen on the way out to this place, which, as you can tell by the photo, really is next to the end of the world (actually, it’s a cool place out in Elgin, but that’s another story.) Anyway, I managed to blink my way through my night photography workshop without getting stuck in some oddball hole in the wall joint at 3 am so I thought that, rather then push my suerte (never push your suerte if you know what’s good for you) I would schedule my car for its whatever thousand mile check up.

Thursday rolled around and it was time to take the buggy in for it’s adjustment, oil hook-up, and whatever other odd things they do back in the service bay to keep those little yellow lights from taking over the universe or, at least, you know, leaving you stranded in Calcutta with not so much as a potable glass of water to your name. Anyway, I pulled into the service place about half past seven in the morning and curled up with some coffee, the local paper, and a few “you really need this new car now, even though it costs more money than the GDP of several banana republics combined” brochures that they use to advertise the new cars. (No, I’m really not going to buy myself a new Acura TL, though it did kind of look pretty in the pictures.)

First the nice service attendant came out an informed me that my taillight was out. No biggie, I thought-that’s only about $32, and I’d much rather have a working taillight. Then, he told me that I needed new brakes. Ok, we’re getting expensive here but, still, I’d rather have the car working-especially stopping-rather than not, so I said to go ahead and do it. Finally he told me that I had a nail in my tire and that one of my tires was going to go flat-very quickly-if I did not fix it.

A flat tire? Again? For those of you who don’t remember, I had suffered my first flat tire not too long ago and it really took me by surprise. You see, I’ve been driving since I was about 17 and, over the course of all those years, never, not once, had suffered a flat. Now here I sat in the car dealership, suffering from my second flat this year. It made me wonder what was going on here. I mean, is there a bucket of nails following me around or something? Is there an angry X-boyfriend out to get me with a sharp pointy object that I don’t know about? Geesh. So, fix the flat they did. (I have to admit, as horrible as this second flat is, I’m exceptionally happy that I did not have to endure the humiliation of driving on that little doughnut tire again. Oh that was a horror the likes of which I do not wish to repeat anytime soon.)

So, after they fixed the flat, the taillight, changed the oil, did all of the service, oh and added the new brake pads and the like, they washed the car and it was ready for me to take back into the land of the driving once again. I was on my way.

No sooner than I pulled out of the parking lot did I realize that the car was different-very different. Rather than sluggish and slow, it was its old peppy self again. “Wow,” I thought, “my car really goes.” I pulled up to a light and realized that, not only did it go (like before) but it also stopped better too (new brakes will do that, I guess.) It was like a whole new car and I was loving it. I was all over the drive to work-it really felt rejuvenated, like having a new car again.

I switched on the radio and was surprised to hear that old song called “You Sexy Thing.” You know the one-it goes “I believe in miracles/since you came along/you sexy thing.” Even thought it was encapsulated in one of those oddball disco moments you’d like to forget, or kind of just leave back in the 70’s, my car did feel just a little bit sexy, being back to its old self again. Really. (Ok, you can take my word for it.) It’s white so I started to imagine it bearing some chest hair and maybe striking one of those long forgotten disco poses-you know the ones, arm up, finger pointed, other hand on hips-a la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Anyway, let’s just say I’m sure that’s not a vision the good folks at Acura would like you to embrace, so let’s just say, “I actually did think my car looked kind of sexy-if only for a brief moment-sitting at that light” and leave it at that.

Other than the mechanical hijinks, it’s been a quiet weekend. Next weekend is the British car show-really looking forward to that, as well as the opening of the Infrared Dreaming show out in Johnson City. Hopefully, I’ll see more car sexiness over at the all-British car day and do look for me if you’re headed out that way next weekend, though I’ll probably be on foot, I will be sporting some Canon sexiness (if you could call it that.)

Until next time…



  1. mythopolis
    September 21, 2009 / 11:28 am

    My truck is not too sexy these days. The 'check engine' light has been on now for over two years. That was when my speedometer broke. I haven't bothered to have it fixed. I learned to read the tachometer, which was still working. So I now know that in 4th gear at 2000 rpm I am doing about 40 mph. 2500 rpm in 5th puts me between 55-60 mph. I figured it out by having my son drive behind me and telling me my speed by cell phone as I went through the gears. Works pretty good.

  2. Carol
    September 21, 2009 / 2:37 pm

    Oh dear, that sounds like a mess.

    I have to have a working vehicle. I hate being stranded and I don't want to stress over "it might break down." That's how I feel when the little yellow light comes on. Oye! Get me to a shop right away.

  3. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers
    September 22, 2009 / 10:18 am

    Oh, I'm so pleased you didn't push your suerte! What a wonderful expression – It will henceforth be part of my personal lexicon. Muchas gracias, amiga. Hasta luego.

  4. Carol
    September 22, 2009 / 8:16 pm

    Thanks, Postcards!

    I guess living so near Mexico does have it's advantages.

    We also tend to say "party-amos" a lot and then there's the old favorite "seguro que hell yes!"

    I won't even get into the "making guacamole" stuff because, well, that's just weird. :~)

  5. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers
    September 22, 2009 / 9:58 pm

    Me encanta guacamole y hablo el Spanglish well – at least I think I would si tuviera la oportunidad usarlo. You don't get much call for it aquí en inglaterra. But starting an actual WORD off in English and finishing it in Spanish, that sounds like more than my brain could cope with, so I'll have to leave that to you Texan party animals – or pachangueros – which happens to be one of my favourite Spanish words. Another is aceituna – don't ask, I don't know why!

  6. Carol
    September 22, 2009 / 10:26 pm

    Well "making guacamole" doesn't actually have anything to do with the tasty green stuff-it's sort of slang for…how else can I put it…."knocking boots" perhaps? (I've also heard it called "making good menudo" but we prefer the guac variant for some reason.)

    I think you folks in England would call that "a shag" but not entirely sure about that one as I'm not up on my…well, I guess it would be English…slang.

    I once survived for almost an entire month in Mexico without so much as a phrase book. To this day, I still don't know how I did it.

    When I went to England, the only words I had trouble with were the monetary references-stuff like a nickel, quarter, etc. as folks there tend to say "a fourth" rather than a quarter.

  7. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers
    September 23, 2009 / 7:54 am

    OKAAAY… So starting that last comment with an affirmation of how much I love guacamole possibly could have been taken the wrong way…! Yes, 'shag' is one possible English slang word. Another is 'bang' and this is why US group The Bangles didn't go with their original choice of name (The Bangs).
    We never use 'fourth' instead of 'quarter' in England, and we always refer to portions of a £ (Pound) by exactly how many pennies. So we say 50 pence rather than 1/2 a pound. 'Half a pound' or 'quarter of a pound' refers to weight rather than money. Next time you're planning a trip to the UK I'll see if I can find an online American / English translater for you that Dan used when I recently said something completely incomprehensible to him!

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