I find myself in a particular frame of mind that lends itself to once more impart to the teeming masses glorious tales of wit and wisdom as envisaged by this oft dimwitted yet persistent scribe. I have embarked on the creation, in earnest, of my next tome for which I am assured fame and fortune. As soon that is, as I find an agent/editor/publisher who is likewise oft dimwitted. My previous three volumes of wit and wisdom languish in my head, heart, and hard drive(s). I have taken some steps in that elusive path to success, and will carry on to boldly go where oft dimwitted writers go…back to work after my vacation is over.
I am in the fourth day of a 36 day vacation, and have adored every minute. I have tactical and strategic goals for the next month. A weekend with some fellow travelers on the journey of recovery, a visit with my darling Deifiúr and Captain Domesticado for the occasion of my attainment of yet another year on the voyage which brings me closer to the Great Reward, many meetings, and the sovereignty over my alarm clock and when to set it (or not). And there is the writing.
Grand campaigns aside, today I found my self back in that irksome and precarious place where we must all exist. The real world, that is. I left my Sanctum after a full thirty six hours in deep contemplation (mostly in front of the object of my most fervent fondness as accessed by a monstrously problematical remote control) and attempted to go out to do battle with humankind. In less haughty words, I was going to a meeting and Wal-Mart.
Annoyingly enough, my method of conveyance, manufactured and produced by a recently bankrupt automotive giant, almost did not start. I fumbled with the ignition and got it started with just a minute amount of expletives. I went to my meeting while charting my actions afterwards, which seemed to suggest a set of jumper cables, and a trip to the pawn shop.
The trip to the pawn shop comes in part due to it being the day prior to the coffers being opened where I will be, once more, compensated for my efforts to edify and enlighten the troubled young men the God of my understanding has left in my charge, and the woeful fact that I am yet to learn fiscal responsibility.
Well, the jumper cables were, indeed, necessary as was a trip to replace the battery. A friend gave me the jump, and handed he what we both thought would be needed to replace said part. He has an aversion to pawn shops which I wish to attain as a part of my character and psyche. A humorous side to the pawn shop dilemma is the fact that in all the years I attempted to destroy myself with drugs and alcohol, I never set foot in the land of the 23.5% loan interest rate. Now that I am not only gainfully employed, and compensated at the highest rate of any employment in this broke fool’s life, I find myself on a first name basis with the folk’s at my friendly neighborhood pawn shop.
Again, I digress. (I wonder if digression is a treatable disease.) I remembered that on the way to Wal-Mart there is an old fashioned mom-and-pop garage that specializes in batteries. My friend follows me to ensure that I would regain uninhibited mobility. I went into the office to begin the repair process, and found an elderly lady playing solitaire on a computer. She had the look of one’s grandmother with a husky gravelly voice. I inquired as to the price a replacement battery might be and she promptly replies “$38.18”
“Installed?” I said.
“Of course. You think it would do you any good sitting in your trunk?” This last statement came with an impish grin. I turned to my friend who bid me farewell. I asked it was a new battery and was informed that it had a blemish on it but it was as sound as any I might find at “One of them robber places.” She told me that she had been selling them for 44 years and saw no reason to change. She told me about a six month warranty and also told me to bring it back if I had any trouble and they would replace it if necessary. She took me outside and told a guy to go and get me a battery. She then replaced him on a small tool where he had torn into the wiring of a truck similar to mine, and proceeded to wade into the quagmire of wires and fuses.
Once settling the bill, I perambulated to my truck in grateful amazement. I ventured on to Wal-Mart and, purely out of inquisitiveness priced a battery. Tax, Title, and License their batteries were twice the price with a warranty that had about a five thousand word small print section that essentially stated that after six months battery replacement would be on a increasing price adjustment. This coming from a company whose founder drove a 1967 pickup truck produced by the same recently bankrupt giant automaker until the day he died. The same man who was the richest person in America and possibly the world for a long time.
I remember driving cars that were produced in the 1960’s and 1970’s, even a few from the 1950’s. They were simple affairs. One knew where to find things under the hood. An oil change or a tune up cost a six pack of beer and parts if you caught one of your buddies just right. The local garage was some body’s father or uncle or cousin who employed kids that you took shop class with. Computers were something scientist used to diagram the universe. Warranties meant that if it messed up on you, you brought it back and they fixed it…free of charge.
Today you bring a vehicle to a shop and they have to hook it up to a computer to diagnose what was faulty. If it needs to be repaired, they have this huge book that tells them how long it should take them to repair the problem and that is the minimum you pay, plus parts. If it takes 10 minutes and the book say three hours…there goes the object of my most fervent fondness as accessed by a monstrously problematical remote control.
Fortunately my lamentation aside, there are still mom-and-pop localities that allow this oft dimwitted, wordy (maybe to a fault), writer to use as fodder for your enjoyment. I hope.