The chipmunks had struck again. I’d brought the car to the auto shop because the “Check engine” light had lit up. I hoped it would be a quick and easy fix because I had plans for the day, and in the past the solutions had sometimes been as simple as resetting the computer, or opening the hood and dropping it again so that whatever the rodents had knocked out of whack could be knocked back into whack. Not this time. The guy held out a rectangular plastic thingamabob, or perhaps it was a doohickey–I’m not up on my technical terms–with a tangle of cut wires sticking out of one end, like dreadlocks.
“We’re gonna have to put this up on the lift,” the car mechanic told me. He said some other things that I completely missed because I was so focused on how much he resembled J.K. Simmons, but that’s another story. He gave me a price quote that made my heart skip a beat and then a timeline that made it go into full arrhythmia. Time is money and there was no way I’d have enough to bribe him to make my problem go away in the next half hour. It looked like I was going to spend my day sitting at the auto repair place watching hours of the Guys Sitting At A Desk Talking About Football channel while reading last month’s Elegant Guys magazine (“the hyper-inflated whiskey and cliff-diving polo issue!”).
Then I heard one of the other mechanics talking to another customer and since neither of them resembled a character actor I could think of I was able to focus on their actual conversation.
“I can drive you up there and drop you off,” the mechanic said. “No problem.”
“There” was the nearby big-box store, although “nearby” is relative. Four miles might be reasonable walking distance if I weren’t concerned about time, and anyway the most direct route even hoofing it, or going on foot since I didn’t have any hooves handy, was the major heavily-trafficked road with almost no shoulder and the interstate entry and exit ramps that made pedestrianism slightly daunting.
On the bright side the big-box store’s parking lot was the terminus of a major bus line–and the closest stop. I asked if I could ride-share and was told to hop in.
Half an hour later I was on my way to the first of my errands, after I bribed a bus driver with the price of an all-day pass.