In the past 2 weeks we have gotten to know the men of S&S Tire, Brannon Crossing. S&S is situated behind our house in a way that it's close to drive to but really too far to walk. So, when we brought it in for new tires (apparently, one is not encouraged to drive 80,000 miles on the same tires. It makes one vulnerable to very bad accidents at very high speeds), they found that it also needed a new tire rod, front brakes and rotors. Thinking I was only getting 4 new tires, I only had a paperback and the men of S&S Tire to keep me company. We discussed the finals of the NCAA, why it was snowing in April, and where to shop for the best deal on bath towels. At the end of it all, my credit card was panting heavily and we were all a little closer (although not quite close enough for me to ask the manager why he didn't have any eyebrows).
Last night as I was headed back to the house via the liquor store (but only for wine, it had not yet been a tequila kind of week), Neal called to say that he heard a "rubbing noise" whenever he applied the brakes. Pretending I was my father, I asked all sorts of seemingly pertinent questions; "does it get louder when you apply them?", "Does the car shake when you apply the brakes?", "Are any of the gauges moving?" "Are you still driving with both feet?" (And actually, Neal does drive with both feet which is the number one reason why he will not be allowed to teach our children how to drive. Plus he is a last-minute-braker). With every question, he just got more irritated so I directed him to just drive straight to S&S Tire. Twenty minutes later he called to say they were keeping the car and can I come get him. From the end of the street, I could hear my credit card moaning in the kitchen.
What's the damage? New rear calipers and brakes. So, now if one of us rear-ends someone it really is because he (or maybe she, but probably not) was not focused on the task at hand. Colonel Ketchup should be stopping on a DIME. But the bigger issue here is our decision to keep the car, which we made when we spent a sickening amount of money to put a new roof on last spring (FYI: it's a convertible. It's not like a llama camped out on it all night and we've been driving around with some sort of strange roof dent). And that brings me around to the first time I tried to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I still have my copy and the cover is bent or torn on every edge. Ironically, I've only made it to chapter 5. Something about the incessant talk of motorcycle parts and how that all relates to Buddha just bores me to tears. But the main idea is that most people belong to one of two schools of thought: 1) Every time something breaks, you buy a new one or pay someone an exhorbant amount of money to fix it or 2) you become all zen-and-one-with-the-nature-of-the-cycle-of-life by enjoying the moments (or hours or DAYS) you must spend keeping things running smoothly. At least, I think that's the premise of the book. The last attempt I made at reading it was in college, when I was supposed to studying for a Chemistry exam.
ANYWAY...because we continue to have the "To sell or not to sell..that IS the question" discussion, I think we will have to decide if we can continue to be zen about our monthly S&S Tire visits and the associated $120/hour labor rate or if it is finally time to part ways with the Colonel. After all, pretty much everything is cranky at the age of 13. It's usually not until the age of 25 or 30 that everything mellows back out. And that my friends, is a very long time from now. (If you're playing the John McCain game at home: DRINK!)
And in honor of not junking my car and springing for an Escalade: HAPPY EARTH DAY. Plant a tree or hug a llama.