Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mel was in Over His Head at the Auto Parts Store....

I have a story that needs telling. It happened today, while wandering the city looking for the best price on a fuel pump for my 85 Corvette. Just like John Hemingway had to write The Fisherman and the Sea, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote Evangeline, I offer you, Mel was in Over His Head at the Auto Parts Store, a classic..

Typically, I am in a stage where I have rid myself of all of the women in my life, so I've decided to just throw myself into my work. Then I remembered there was no work. I'd sold the only car I had for sale and until I purchase another, it's pretty quiet around here. I leaped from my bed this morning after a very pleasurable night's sleep and skipped to the shower, as outlined in my new Great habit, a few posts back. http://melsmail.blogspot.com/2009/05/my-new-rather-personal-great-habit.html
So I finish the shower routine and head downstairs and decide to get an early start on my hunt for the fuel pump. I already know I'm heading to Van Buren to get my bargain pump, but realize that I don't know if 2401 West is east or west of our freeway. Here's the really cool part. I grab my cell phone while driving and dial Google 411. This is a service of Google's that offers you free directory assistance service and they connect you with the party you're calling. How cool is that? Here the number for that and again, it's FREE! 1-800-466-4411. If you don't try it you're wrong?

So I ask Google for the number of Penny Pincher Auto Parts and he recites it to me and says, shall I dial it for you? I tell the recording yes and within seconds a real voice answers and I ask my question. I'm driving along and I get off the freeway in "No Man's Land", really! All of the store signs are in Spanish and I'm a minority in this part of town. Guess what. That doesn't bother me in the least. For the first 9 years of my life, I was raised in the ghetto and was a minority in my school being white. I spent the majority of my career in the exact neighborhood that I was currently in and it was fine then, and it's fine now (I kept telling myself) However, this type of neighborhood only goes from bad to worse when the economy spirals downhill. These are the first people to get laid off and who wouldn't steal and rob to feed their family?

I saw the Penny Pincher sign and pulled in there. The first thing I noticed was that the parking lot looked like a wrecking yard. Hoods were up and quite a few people were working on their car and trucks right there. I pulled open the first door I saw and this is the scene presented to me. It's BIG inside and there are a LOT of people standing around. As I catch my bearings, I see a long counter and about 15 clerks working behind that long counter and a big sign that says, "Get in line here". I look at the line and there are a few people ahead of me and a lot of people just standing around. I realize as I stand there, that all of the people in line and standing around look like prison inmates. All had tattoos, most had shaved heads, few had teeth, none were clean with me rethinking my recent shower. There was a hum of conversation and it wasn't English. Spanish was the local language. Now catch the guy in front of me. He's about 6 feet tall, his shaved head has grown out. He has prison issue tattoos of spider webs on his elbows and a 2 year old girl, his daughter, standing in front of him. He turns to look at me and I see that his mouth had about 4 or 5 piercings with what looks like barbed wire through the holes and it was black wire. He nodded a hello. Then I looked at his size and he was over 500 LB. I nodded back. Guess what, 4 people walked in and got in line with him, stepping in front of me and believe me, it was okay. The first guy was the little brother of the others. They were all bigger and had the same haircuts and the same goatees that were about 6 inches long. I made a mental note to trim my beard. I'll bet the 5 of them were 3000 LB. I couldn't breathe because they were stealing all of the air. I was certainly glad when the clerk yelled next and all 3000 LB of them walked away, whew! I was kind of sorry, as I'd only studied about 1/2 of their tattoos.

About a minute later, I heard "next" again and looked back to see if anyone just wanted my turn. I approached the clerk and he greeted me in Spanish. I said, fuel pump for an 85 Corvette. He returned with the item I wanted and without arguing about the sales tax, I just walked to the cashier and paid. Leaving went without incident, except for the truck that had pulled in next to me and was at an angle so I had a hard time getting out. Guess who didn't complain.

From there I headed over to my mechanic's, so I could pick up my mail and listen to Buster for awhile. Then it was time for my iron infusion and left there with fuel pump in tow. I walked in and said I was here to see Becky. The new girl asked me my name and I said it was Madonna. She looked through the book and sadly lifted her head up and said she doesn't see anything for me. Her partner cracked up laughing and said, go right up. For 10 minutes I listened to Becky parrot remarks about our president under her breath. Like, "I wish he'd do half the things he promises". Suddenly I pictured her republican husband saying precisely that, as he peered over his redneck newspaper, with Becky making a mental note to repeat it. When I asked what he promised and hasn't delivered, she replied, "About everything", but couldn't think of anything off hand. I see Becky again on Friday, can't wait.

When I got home, after being literally poisoned at Burger King, I was anxious to install my new fuel pump. After about 20 minutes and 300 turns of the wrenches, I was done, was only bleeding on one knuckle and the job called for 2 and I was ready for the maiden firing of the engine. I turned the key and after about a minute, BINGO. She fired up! That's when I heard the engine knock, a bad one. Like a bad rod bearing, a lower end noise that certainly wasn't there before. This is serious and completely unrelated to the fuel pump and my human slug mechanic won't return my call. I know you're siting at the edge of your seat wondering how this is all going to end, but just be patient. Thanks..

To be continued.......

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