THE CAR THING
Part of the ‘Shit My Wife Says’ Series
“I’m going to Cessnock today to service your car and get that recall thing sorted.”
“That’s the fuel pump that is shit and they’re going to replace it with a less shit one so my car doesn’t catch fire, yes?”
“I believe that to be the case.”
“When will you back?”
“An impossible question to answer.”
I drive the wife’s Toyota to Cessnock. The Toyota dealer advises me all is in readiness for the service and the fuel pump replacement.
“It should be about two hours,” he tells me.
I begin to wander the streets. It’s 8am, so the pub is not open. I go and get a coffee and some breakfast. Then I walk some more. And then some more. I spend some time looking at the forsaken and forlorn waiting their turn outside the Magistrate’s Court. I wonder at the quality of their legal advice when I see most of them wearing Newcastle Knights gear or Size 22 yoga pants under an equally vast Metallica T-shirt.
“These fuckers are all going to jail,” I say to my wife when she calls me to see how it’s all going.
“What are you doing in the courthouse?” she asks. “You couldn’t possibly have committed a crime, been charged, and hauled before a judge in less than an hour. Could you?”
“I’m just killing time,” I tell her.
“See anyone you know?” she asks.
“I’m not looking too closely.”
I hang up and the dealer calls and tells me the car is ready. I pick it up and start driving home. Twenty kays down the road, I get a warning light advising me the engine needs maintenance and I am to go to my nearest dealer. I do a U-turn and call the dealer and advise him I am returning the car because it wants me to.
I then call my wife.
“What the fuck?” she says.
“I don’t know,” I reply. “I think maybe they forgot to reset something. It drives alright. There are no flames.”
I arrive at the dealer and hand over the keys. There are some nervous glances because it is obvious I am not the smiling Buddha of Happy Thoughts.
I start to walk again, but since the pub is open, I do not have far to go.
I order a beer. Then another, and then some lunch. Then I order a soft drink. Then another. Two hours go buy. My wife calls me.
“What’s going on?”
“In terms of my bladder, quite a lot. I have been to the toilet four times in the last hour because I have drunk a lot of liquid.”
“Where’s the car?”
“When will it be ready?”
“I am going to find out now.”
I go back to the dealer. It has been four hours. The car is still sitting in the workshop.
I present myself at the service counter.
“Can I help you?” the man asks.
“Only if you can fix the car you failed to fix this morning, or you know someone who can.”
He immediately realises who I am and which car I am talking about. He excuses himself and trots out the back. He returns and tells me the car is now being test-driven and it will be five minutes, and then I will be on my way.
“What was the issue?” I ask. I ask only so that I know what to tell my wife when she asks.
“When they replaced the fuel pump, they didn’t seat it properly and it leaked.”
I stare at him in stony silence.
“Um, I think your next service is free,” he says.
I pace. In front of the service counter. For 40 minutes. Eventually, the mechanic returns, tells me he drove it for 20km, no warning lights have come on, and it is “perfect”.
“Thank you,” I say, because my mother taught me manners. “I hope it stays that way.”
“So do I,” the mechanic declares.
I begin my journey home. Twenty kays from home, the same warning appears. I keep driving and call the dealer.
“It’s me again,” I say. “The warning light has come back on.”
“Shit,” the service manager says. “What do you want to do?”
“I’ll tell you what I don’t want to do,” I say. “I don’t want to drive back to Cessnock, and spend the rest of the day wandering around the streets or drinking soft drinks in the pub while you don’t fix my wife’s car again.”
“Can you take it to Singleton Toyota?”
“I can,” I say. “Will they fix it immediately?”
“Probably not,” the service manager says.
“This is on you,” I tell him.
“I will call you straight back,” he swears.
I call my wife and tell her what’s going on.
“What the actual fuck?” she says.
“You need to stop asking me questions I cannot answer,” I reply.
“Don’t hit anyone,” she implores me.
“I’m not going to hit anyone,” I assure her.
“What are you doing now?”
“Not hitting anyone and driving and waiting for the service manager to call me back. And you always said I could not multi-task. Oh, that must be the service manager now.”
I hang up on my wife and answer the call.
“I am sending one of my staff out to your place with a courtesy car. We will pick yours up and return it when the issue is sorted.”
“Good on you,” I say.
I then call my wife and tell her what’s going on.
“Does this mean we’re going to drive through paddocks and rivers tonight in the courtesy car?” she asks.
“Why do you ask?”
“Because that’s what happens whenever you get a courtesy car.”
“Get out of my head, you evil sorceress, you.”
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