The Car Man Cometh

(from 2006) I was just sitting in my office yesterday, alphabetizing final exams and final papers as foreplay to grading.

There was a gentle knock on my office door.

He opened the door before I could respond, then stood in the doorway as though I'd been expecting him.

Of course, I hadn't, but I pride myself on world-class bluffing skills, so I said *Hi.*

He was handsome, stern and kind at the same time.

I remembered him well but knew better than to show my delight.

Instead of standing up to offer a handshake or a hug, I leaned back in my chair and smiled. This always makes me feel more powerful, but it goes against my nature -- which is FAR closer to a spastic cocker spaniel than a regal but disdainful cat.

He closed the door behind him conspiratorially, and leaned a shoulder against the wall.

What's the story about your car?

I love the accent that lilts his words, making them sound more like poetry or music than plain conversational English.

Oh, my car. (Damn!!!! He wants to talk about my CAR?? Well, I am a married woman.)

Um. So you've been reading my blog? (He nodded)

OK. Well, see, I had a little accident wayyyy back in September , and needed new tires and rims, but I never got new hubcaps.

So I have this car that is reliable and great but it has no hubcaps, and one of the doors doesn't work, and it doesn't play CDs.

And I really need to vaccumm it....

Yes. What's the story? You haven't taken care of cars as long as I've known you. And now all this "good car," "bad car" stuff....

That's not true! I. I mean, I... well. I....

You're right. I don't.

I looked up at him with my puppy dog eyes, admitting failure, hoping to be scolded, praised, hugged and maybe taken for a loooooooong walk without a leash.

I wilted a little bit in the chair.

My invisble cocker spaniel tail kept wagged quickly, betraying my delight at his attention.

Well. Maybe I don't take care of my cars because I'm hoping someone will do it for me.

He laughed, but still didn't sit down.

And since he didn't ask another question, I babbled on with my confession, hoping for a treat, scratch behind the ears, SOMETHING.

Umm, my spedometer and odometer kinda don't work, so I know I probably need an oil change but really I can't tell if I've gone 3,000 miles...

He nodded, not excusing me, but showing his understanding.

Wal-Mart has oil changes for $14.95. And a nice waiting room where you could grade exams while you wait.

Do they have hubcaps too?

He laughed, told me to behave myself, and slipped out as quickly as he arrived.

Sigh.

He forgot to ask for my car keys. Does he seriously think I'll do it myself?

Maybe I will go to WalMart for the dreaded oil change.

It would be something to write about.

And I could pick up some doggie treats -- like diet coke, cabernet, and stuff to make a carrot cake -- while I'm waiting.