My Morning With The Queen
UP WITH THE CHICKENS AND THE NEIGHBOR’S INSOMNIAC DOG THIS MORNING. I’ll be taking the Toyota (Barcelona Red) into the dealer for an oil change, tire rotation, and its 30k mile checkup. That sounds a lot like what happens when I go to see my human doctor, except maybe for the tire rotation bit. I do that myself: Shoes in good weather and my boots when it gets cold or rainy.
I don’t suppose that there was any good reason for me to agree to bring the car in at 7:45 AM. That really disrupts my morning routine.
On most days I’m barely into my 2nd cup of coffee and writing time before the Usual Suspects begin to stumble in. Now, with this appointment lurking over me like a hungry hawk over a limping pigeon, I am in here sipping and scribbling at 6:30 AM. My eyes are still shut, which made the drive to St. Arbucks an adventure, and the barista looked at me like I must have slept over in the stockroom to be in there at that hour.
One other ill effect of slouching about at that hour is that my body is independently thinking that something is wrong and I need to go to the bathroom every ten minutes until this aberration passes – so to speak. I hate it when my kidneys think for themselves. At this hour my regulation brain is not plugged in, so why have my kidneys started making decisions? Well, I guess we’re safe in case there are any nearby brush fires.
6:55 and I need to get crackin’. The Toyota Palace is on the other side of town and there is some serious fog this morning. It’s either fog or my cataracts are getting nasty.
I stepped outside – its fog and the cataracts are still visible from the outside looking in.
(Cut to the Toyota Palace.)
It was something of a surprise when the “Service Consultant,” a very pleasant lady, told me that I didn’t need an oil change – the car didn’t need it to be more accurate. That saved me some cash right away and, adding in a $10 dollar discount coupon good on any legal service; I might get out of here with money left to buy enough gas to get home.
While I sat in their luxuriously utilitarian Waiting Area I wasted 15 minutes trying to log into the Web. Chalk it up to the hour that it didn’t occur to me that I needed to first log into their server. A little later in the day and I’m as sharp as Bill Gates, but with such an early start I am more like a Rusty Gate.
By the time I was able to access my morning batch of Spam email I could see her majesty Queen Toyota the First walking my way carrying a clipboard. I could feel my wallet starting to smolder.
“Everything looks great so far – except…”
Here we go. It’s Ramen Noodles for dinner until summer.
“We noticed that there was some corrosion around one of your battery terminals (The cars- not mine.). Would you like us to clean that off?”
(No, I thought I’d wait until next year when the car is out of warranty)
“Yes, please. That would be good, thank you.”
I noticed that she always used phrases like “We noticed,” and “Would you like us…?” I sincerely doubt that she was working in the shop on our car. I’ve seen those folks back there working on cars and most of them look as if they had been dragged through a giant vat of turkey gravy. My guess is that she is using the “Royal We,” as in “We are not amused! Off with their heads!”
I’ve been through this rigamarole before. I bring the car in for a quick oil change and clean the ashtray visit and find that most of my day disappears like a wet Kleenex in flu season. As I sat there I began to regret not bringing a bagel or an MRE Survival Dinner. All they had was a vending machine filled with cookies and chips that expired sometime during the Ford Administration. “No thanks. I can gnaw on my Kindle’s leather cover.” I said a silent prayer and a miracle happened.
Queen Toyota the First came across the floor past the remaining unsold Scions and said the magic words.
“We are finished with your car. Follow me and I’ll check you out.”
While it felt like I was there for the better part of a month I was actually inside ToyotaLand for only 45 minutes.
It was on the way home that I began to worry. Did they really rotate those tires? If I had done it we’d be there until Christmas. Did they rotate the tires, but skip putting the lug nuts back in place?
Am I paranoid or did the car have a little shimmy that wasn’t there earlier? I checked when I got home. Maybe Queen Toyota did do more than handle the paperwork. Hmmm?