I hate when my car texts me. Well, sorta texts me. The bright dash screen flashed: Please shut of vehicle and check coolant levels. Oh oh.
After I shut off my car I pondered my options:
1. Do nothing and act innocent when the car blows up.
2. Tell my husband the car told me to tell him to check the coolant levels.
3. Ignore the message and drive to our local mechanicâ€™s shop. Then ask him, nicely, to check the coolant levels. Please. Please. Please.
As my first line of defense I selected option two. My husband opened the hood, looked at the translucent tank of coolant fluid, shrugged his shoulders and said, â€œLooks okay to me.â€ I started the car and read, â€œPlease shut of vehicle and check coolant levels.â€ What? We did that! We checked, honest. The message continued to flash and I half expected it to get all mom-like on me. â€œGAIL GATES, get your butt in gear and shut OFF the car. Check the coolant levels. How many times do I have to tell you?â€
It became apparent that option three was in order with the possibility of option one occurring in route. As it turned out, my most kind mechanic noted a leak where the doo-hicky connects to the radiator. He said heâ€™d order the part and once it arrived I could leave my car for the day. He also assured me that it was unlikely the car would blow up. Not impossible, but unlikely. Okaaaaaaay.
I left the car for repair on Friday morning. That afternoon the garage called and said two crucial â€œOâ€ rings were missing, and they didnâ€™t have the size needed. The owner was making a ninety-mile round trip to get them, but from a timing issue I wouldnâ€™t get my car back until the following Monday. They did have a courtesy vehicle available as long as I returned it with a full tank of gas. I had things going on over the weekend that required a vehicle, so I happily accepted their offer.
Itâ€™s weird driving someone elseâ€™s car. Stuff isnâ€™t where it is supposed to be, and Iâ€™m never sure if I should change the radio stations. However, after listening to a song that insisted, â€œMy woman thinks my tractor is sexy,â€ I did indeed change the radio station.
The first time I topped off the gas tankâ€”as it turned out the car had a mighty and frequent thirstâ€”I realized too late that I had no clue where the gas tank was located. Sheepishly I made adjustments by driving in circles around the gas station until I was on the correct side. I tried to play it off as intentional, however, I saw people smirking. They knew as surely as if I had the bumper sticker that reads, â€œLoose nut behind the steering wheel.â€ As bad as that was, the most embarrassing moment was still to come.
I was headed to the Twin Cities and decided to get a Diet Coke for my sipping pleasure. I pulled into the drive-through of a local fast food place and faced down the speaker. Suddenly I realized I couldnâ€™t find the button that opened the car window. People, in cars they knew how to operate, were lining up behind me as I looked all over the door panel. â€œWhere the heck is it?â€ I puzzled. Eventually (and eventually felt like hours) I noted that way down below the door handle, near my knee, was a crank. What? I havenâ€™t seen a window crank in years. My eyes cut to the dash to see if I had an eight-track player too. Nope.
With amusement I muscled open the windowâ€”all those tedious little circles. The pain, the pain!â€”placed my order, paid, and drove on.
As I made my way down the freeway I realized how fast technology and expectations change. A window crank still exists? Amazing in a world where it has become too much effort to do much of anything without a remote or some wireless device.
On Monday I picked up my car and nearly hugged it. I missed my baby, and not because it has windows that go up and down with the press of a button. I missed her because she fits me, knows me, and yes, even texts me when she needs something. Now if I could only get her to warn me when that â€œneedâ€ equates to a $700 do-hicky that attaches to the radiator.