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Tuesday, September 9, 2003

I was chastised at the Saturn dealer today. I was given my comeuppance. It seems I haven't lived up to the awesome responsibilities associated with being a Saturn owner.

Well, I already knew that. Just because I recently learned to pump my own gas doesn't mean I know how to keep a car running. As far as I can tell, it's sheer dumb luck that engines continue to start, and wheels turn, and pistons do whatever pistons do. (Assuming there's actually such a thing as a piston.)

In other words, I've never checked the oil, much less changed it.

It's not that there's anything wrong with my car. My studied negligence hasn't contributed to a general breakdown of systems, as you might expect it would. The problem is that I don't drive it enough.

Okay, that's not exactly the problem. It's a slight misstatement of the problem so as to put myself in a better light. Politicians and reality show contestants do it all the time.

If I'd been driving my car a thousand miles a month, as nature apparently intended, there would be no problem, no chastisement, and no comeuppance. I would have brought the car in for service at the three-month, 3,000-mile mark, and everything would have been taken care of in due time. But I don't drive my car enough.

That's what Jennifer said. "You don't drive a lot, do you?" she asked sweetly (but sternly), just before she explained that even though I was technically due for my nine-month service, I've driven a mere 3,600 miles. I must either drive more, or pay closer attention to the calendar. If I missed the six-month service, I wouldn't be getting everything I was paying for.

She very kindly offered to do the six-month service anyway, because it's more comprehensive than the nine-month service. And next time I come in (which she hopes will be in early December), I get the twelve-month service! I'll just skip over the nine-month service altogether.

That's assuming I actually do bring the car in in December, which I faithfully promised on my honor as a Saturn owner. I don't want to be chastised again, that's for sure. That was enough comeuppance for me.

31 August 2003

In the shade of the old oak.

While I was waiting for my car, I sat in the dealer's lobby and— well, I wrote this entry, in ink (because all I had was a pen) in tiny letters on one of the back pages of my Day-Timer (because I didn't want to ask for a blank piece of paper, even though the small children who were also waiting for their (or possibly their parents') cars to be serviced were given not only paper, but crayons as well).

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The rest of the time I was waiting — in other words, the time I wasn't writing — I was reading. I had a little meeting with myself about what book to take with me. I didn't want to tote the big, heavy hardcover I've been reading at home. In fact, I didn't want anything that would take a lot of concentration, because I knew that commodity would be in short supply in the lobby of a car dealership. So it had to be a paperback book, but not anything that would draw attention, like a romance novel with heaving bosoms on the cover. I settled for a book I'd read (and loved) a couple of years ago, Montana 1948, by Larry Watson. Thin, plain, familiar. Like me (except for the first part).

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Innocence
"Yes, I'm afraid. I'm afraid of terrorists, and I'm afraid of the response to terrorists by a government that thinks controlling every situation and listening in on private conversations and making up new rules as they go along are the only ways to keep us safe."

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