Scene one:

I am having car trouble…again. Approximately a week ago, I squeezed my weary body into the driver’s seat, placed the key in the ignition, and was welcomed by the sweet sound (and sensation) of my car violently shaking. I then proceeded to do what I usually do when met by car troubles. I tapped my St. Christopher metal fixed on the overhead visor and repeated my mantra “hopes and dreams, hopes and dreams. This car runs on hopes and dreams.” This was not exactly a serene picture of faith and childlike hope, instead probably from the view of a passerby, it appeared to be a slightly disheveled woman, repeatedly tapping her overhead visor, mumbling to herself, with a crazed look in her eye. It was indeed a desperate attempt at begging. Oh and please keep in mind the car is basically vibrating, but definitely leaving me void of any possible pleasure…

Scene two:

My mother has arranged an appointment for my car to be checked at the local small town auto shop. I know the place well, having taken my car there for various ailments throughout the years.  I also remember it well because every time I go there, I end up making a complete idiot out of myself. It is not that I am a woman, or the fact that I always look completely frazzled coupled with the frenzied speech of mania. It is not even my lack of knowledge concerning the basic workings of my vehicle. It is Bob, the head mechanic and the brains of this operation that leaves me tongue-tied.

Scene three:

I pull up to Bob’s shop and park next to the sidewalk. I can see his head bobbing up and down beside the front wheel of a Buick. I am unsure of whether or not he sees me. I decide to politely hunt him down and offer him my keys so I can get going…the two blocks back to my apartment are fairly taxing to walk…So there I am in 40 degree weather donned in my best vestments:  grey leggings purchased from Wal-Mart, and a teal tank top covered by an army green v-neck sweatshirt. Neither of these tops even attempt to cover my ridiculously lacking butt.  I accessorized of course with a maroon  scarf from Spain…and a pair of black Old Navy flip flops. Like I said, only my finest clothes for an outing such as this.

Bob is a man of say 60, husky, with shocks of white hair amidst a bald canvas. He hides his slightly mischievous eyes behind smudged glasses. Bob is usually  sporting a plaid flannel shirt with a pair of dingy, grease stained slacks, which makes sense considering his profession. I make my way towards where I last saw his head.  As I reach the front of the Buick, it seems as though Bob’s head becomes more and more out of reach, almost as if he is hiding from me. How strange. Our interactions in the past have been smooth and unhindered…actually no, not at all. I push my chin up with resolve and basically jump out from behind the tire. Bob realizes at that moment that he has no choice but to acknowledge my presence. Now at this point you may have made the assumption that I have some sort of romantic interest in Bob. This is in fact not the case, but for some reason every time I come into contact with him, I become a blithering idiot. Is it my personal fear of appearing stupid next to my humble white Saturn? Is it my lack of self-confidence? Is it Bob’s sheer awkwardness and multiple attempts at fleeing from my bombardment of endless questions and constant references to my car as “she” and “the old girl?” This remains to be understood.

Scene four:

Today Bob has a large smudge of oil or car sludge smack dab below one eye fading down his left cheek. His eyes look slightly fearful upon my arrival. I proceed to mumble some sentence about who I am and what I am there for. I am always sure Bob has forgotten me since our last parting, but somehow I fear that is not true.  I try to just leave my keys with him and run away, but instead he suggests I pull my car up and he will just take a quick look. I describe the symptoms fairly well as Bob fights vigorously to open the hood of my car. This brings me to a flashback of when I had just been in an accident where I rear-ended none other than an elderly couple driving a brand new car. Literally they had  just driven it off the lot. Anyways I had taken my car to Bob for a once over after the accident with the chief complaint that I could not get my hood open due to some damage. I was panicking because I have to add oil often.  So Bob asked me if I had tried popping the hood. I held my head in shame, let out a sheepish giggle, and replied no. Now here I am snapped back to reality as Bob gives my car another once over. He believes I need a tune up. This is good news, until he quotes the price of said tune up. I am sure it is a reasonable price for any business, but my pocketbook does not agree. I quickly state that I can do this all myself with the help of some trusty man friend. Bob only chuckles and says “you could…” At that moment my trust for Bob’s abilities and my intense need to escape at that moment has me saying a bright “yes” to the tune up.  He does at some point also inquire if my mileage “has gone down” recently. I think for a moment and answer “no not that I have noticed”…then I think again(my first mistake), a little too hard and I  say “you mean like the odometer goes backwards right? I never knew it could do that.” Bob’s face and my immediate realization of the words that had formed a thought, that had actually come out of my mouth was too much. I giggled again, face burning, then rattled off some rapid attempt at a save and listened to Bob tell me that I “didn’t look like a blonde.” Hmmm. I quickly explained that usually I really am not this “stupid.” He just chuckles knowingly. It does not help that I then launch into a detailed question concerning car emblems, Ebay, and junkyards. Bob’s response is to just “print out a paper copy of the Saturn emblem” that I lost in the accident and “glue it” in its rightful place. Yes, indeed I have done it again. Bob makes his third attempt to escape my evasive car inquiries and finally succeeds by “briskly” slipping into the side door of the shop. I whisper the empty words “thank you and I appreciate your help” into the night air. I hang my head in shame and drive the two blocks back to my apartment. Till we meet again Bob, till we meet again…