This has been an emotional time for me. As you may remember, Nordstrom recently discontinued my face cleanser, and then I was having bitter flashbacks to that time when my Magical Perfect Skirt of the Universe had to go and die. I was bereft.
Now this. My dear 10-year-old Toyota Highlander, whom we had lovingly babied with many Benjamin Franklins and a new engine and new brakes, was oozing some sticky, unrecognizable gook, a liquidy concoction that smelled of factories and underground resources. The Husband told me I had an oil leak.
I did what I always do in situations like this: cry. After I fixed up my runny mascara, I went to visit the one person I knew who is very smart about cars. I can ask him any car-ish question, and he will pause, and then spit out an answer, most likely an expensive one. This person’s name is: Our Mechanic.
Our Mechanic mostly deals with The Husband, but The Husband had to go to work so he was entrusting me to remember what to say. We both knew that I was forgetting the technical terminology as The Husband was saying it to me. I was like a spy scrambler filter decoder in reverse, but evilly congealed with my extensive airplane knowledge garnished from my decade of service as a United Airlines flight attendant:
“MOV, tell Our Mechanic that we smell oil burning, and ask him if we should replace the valve cover gaskets because we’re concerned about the possibility of overheating and leaking into the engine,” became “MOV, tell him the hydraulic engine lifter of the wheel flap cover is potentially combusting overheated fuel into the wing of the cracked cylinder turbo ignition carburetor block spinner mechanism and the converter fuselage transmission thingamabob brake system might potentially crack the thrust indicator depressurization and explode while you’re driving.”
This was not the explanation Our Mechanic wanted to hear. “WHAT? Your car is going to explode?”
He just confirmed my worst fears: “Are you saying my car is going to explode?! While I’m driving it?!”
“No, you just said that.”
I could feel my mascara starting to run again, this time from the raw emotions of almost being killed by my own ungrateful car.
“Can you fix it, then? Please?” I pleaded, as I wiped my face with my tear-stained Kleenex.
“MOV, I’ll do my best.” He took the keys gingerly out of my hand and set them delicately on the counter, as if they too might explode.
As I walked out of the shop, I overheard Our Mechanic talking to another employee, presumably about me. “She’s a good customer,” he whispered, and I braced myself for what would surely follow, “but she should use a different face cleanser. That one she’s using leaves ugly black streak marks all over her face.”
(“My Other Vanity”)