Phalange

April 20th 2016

Today I had to get a tyre on my car replaced. The tread had worn down pretty very badly, to the point that there was basically none left, actually. Which is dangerous, so I had to get a new one. The problem is, as a completely practically incapable twenty two year old of the modern age, I have no idea how to get a tyre replaced. I know that I can walk into a garage and say “one tyre please” and that they’ll do it, but I don’t know who or where, or how much it’s supposed to cost me.

Fortunately, my Dad is practical and connected. He pointed me in the right direction of a bloke he knows who has a tyre garage. That seemed like the right place to go so I headed off there. The bloke (because they’re all blokes, and when I say ‘bloke’ I don’t mean ‘man’ I mean ‘bloke’) jacked up my car, took the tyre off and then started talking at me. He explained that my driveshaft and wheel alignment and axle and other words are crooked. And that’s why the tyre is balding so much, because it’s putting extra pressure on one half of it. Or something. And herein lies why I don’t really like mechanics.

Because they’re smarter than me in this specific area. He could say whatever he wanted to, and I’d go “Oh, yeah I see. Drive shaft. Yes. Indeed. Like a penguin. Yes.” (at one point he described a crooked wheel alignment as driving similar to how a penguin walks. I don’t know either, I was lost far before we got to penguins) I mean, I’m a reasonably intelligent person, I understood what words he was saying at me but I didn’t have a clue what any of them meant in the order in which he said them.

And also herein lies why I don’t generally trust mechanics. Because they’re smarter than me.

He could be making all that crap up, for all I know. And he could say “yeah, we’ve got to take your entire left phalange off to reattach this wheel. ” And I’d say “righto, here’s my bank card. My pin is WXYZ, let me know how much it costs.” And mechanics know when they’re talking to someone who has no idea about cars. And I have no idea about cars. To me, a cynic, they’re trying to sell me something. And sell me something that I, possibly, don’t need.

It’s like why my Mum doesn’t trust opticians. “Of course they’ll say you need glasses, because then you have to buy glasses from them.”

To me it’s “Of course they’ll say you need to realign my driveshaft, because then you’ll buy a realigned driveshaft from them.”

But this bloke was an acquaintance of my Dad’s, and thus I had a reasonable level of trust in him. Even still, I said “is it vitally important?” and he said “No.” So I said “No.” And then he put a new tyre on and told me all about the specifications and duration of the tyre and I just nodded along until he asked me to give him £40. And then I gave him £40.

Apparently I need to get my car fully serviced, too. An oil change, a filter change (any ideas what a filter is?) and other such stuff. So I went to a garage owned by bloke 1’s brother.

I walked in and the bloke behind the reception desk (she was a woman, but still a bloke. They’re all blokes, these mechanics) asked what I wanted.

“One service please,” I said.

“9am next Tuesday,” the she-bloke said. “Anything else?”

“Yeah, my car keeps randomly indicating left,” I said. Because my car keeps randomly indicating left.

“Ah, okay that could be because of the….” and then she must’ve started speaking Hebrew or something because I didn’t catch a word of it. “I’ll note it down as something to look at on Tuesday,” she said, returning to English.

And so I left with a sign stuck to the back of my shirt that said “SCAM ME”, because I’m an easy target. I haven’t got a clue and the blokes can sense it. They can smell it, you know, somewhere in-between the aroma of petrol, sweat and oil.

Until tomorrow, there is something wrong with the left phalange.

Jacn

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