Jack’s weekly guest blog is about his mistress – aka his little red sports car
For those who don’t know, I own a bright red 1962 MGB. Back in Scotland I was her second owner, and thanks to the largesse of a friend who was her third and wanted her to settle with me in our golden years, I am her fourth. And MidGe, as we call her, is now an American citizen.
I took MidGe to our friendly local–as in 3 minutes walk, and about the same time driving–repair shop for her annual safety inspection. This is always a laugh, as cars over 25 years old only have to conform to the regulations in place when they were new; the list of ‘things to be checked’ is more than twenty items, but the process goes fairly quickly: emission control? She doesn’t have any. Reverse lights? Nope. And so on.
Hovering around was a young guy in the classic garb of a car mechanic: baseball cap and dungarees of a uniform dark blue-grey (pretty much the color of 20w/30 motor oil, in fact – funny that!) He watched as MidGe was put through her paces, then ambled over and said, “lemeesrtatarrgharaghafirya.”
I said “Sure!” but thought What?!
It turns out that one of my rear lights was out. Baseball cap lad was clearly happy about this, as he’d been stroking MidGe in an affectionate way and sending her approving glances. It was obvious he couldn’t wait to get his hands on her.
He and his associate began to wrestle with the lamp fitting, which was attached to the over-rider by two small nuts and bolts, which in turn was attached to the rear bumper by a ginormous nut and bolt. Getting the bulb required all these to be dismantled.
Baseball cap lad looked positively radiant.
By the time they reached MidGe’s innards, I’d been there an hour, and the bookstore was due to open in 5 minutes. I explained to the young man that I would need to come back for the car later.
“Dyaaalnidanyilchyinge?” he said.
I blinked, stupefied.
“An ayil chainge,” he repeated, with hand gestures.
“Oh – an oil change – great, yes please.”
I set off and had walked a few yards when a thought struck me, so I called back, “Change the plugs as well.”
“The spaaaaaark plugs,” I enunciated.
“Oh, seur. Whadabawt waayirs?”
I could only stare.
“Whaayirs!” Exasperated, he gave up on hand gestures and put his fists on his hips.
Clueless, I responded, “Those too, yes, thanks.”
I got poor MidGe back six hours later, looking offended; I’m sure baseball cap lad was too familiar with her, alone in the workroom. She had new plugs, new oil, new air filters, new wires and a new lamp housing –re-attached back to front.
Bless his heart.