Rant Archive (January 1999)

Cars, car dealers, service centers!

Cars are the bane of my existence. The only part about buying and owning a car that’s fun is the part where you dream about what your next car is gonna be. That’s it. As soon as I have the damn thing in my driveway, it serves a perpetual money pit, a constant reminder of how that slimeball salesman took advantage of me (despite a firm resolve not to allow it to happen), and target practice for every bird in the northern hemisphere. I have made several phone calls to Car manufacturers telling them about the trend in guitars toward a vintage look and feel. I don’t know why, but they react badly at my suggestion that they should release “pre-dented” models with the front end already out of alignment. That’s how it will end up anyway. Why not buy it that way and save myself a whole lotta worry and aggravation?

As a car owner, I am right between Mr. “I’m so rich that my needs will be served simply because I’m important” and Mr. “I can fix anything and I keep five cars in my driveway to keep one of them running”. Generally, if something breaks in my car, I’ll try to fix it before I send it to the shop. Or I’ll just decide to leave it broken.

Headlights are an important feature for a musician’s car. We drive at night a lot.

So when they blew out, I went to the parts shop, bought new ones and set about installing them (imagine here the voice-over announcer in the drama series intimating, “……and he was never the same again…..”).

When I discovered the new headlights didn’t work either, I knew I was in trouble. I set about troubleshooting and traced the problem to that little knob on the dashboard that you pull out to turn them on. Don’t be too impressed. I figured it out when I pulled the knob and it came ALL THE WAY out of the dashboard.

I began the process of disassembling the dashboard. I got most of it apart except for one friggin little screw. This screw was neither phillips head nor flathead. I don’t know what kind it is, but it was clear I didn’t have the right tool to get it out. Of course, this screw would allow me access to the dashboard to get the part out. I tried to repress images of running in to the design room at the manufacturers sporting two uzi’s and a Rambo outfit, asking “……Why?…… why did you add that screw? ……WHY?” (of course, as the fantasy plays itself out, the designers attempt to answer but can’t because their heads are separated from their bodies).

Of course, it was inevitable the car had to go to the shop. This over a weird screw, and a part that probably cost $3.00.

Total costs:

Labor: $166.00

Parts: $30.00

Car rental for two days: $89.00

The next time this happens, I am going to institute a new policy: I only take gigs during daylight hours.

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