The Oil Change

I am very thankful for computers in vehicles which keep track of when it is time for an oil change.  Back in the old days, it wasn’t unusual for me to stretch an oil change several thousand miles beyond its suggested interval because I didn’t keep track of the mileage diligently and because those stick-on windshield labels had not yet been invented.  Technology can come in very simple ways.


So recently it was time for an oil change in our Honda Civic.  We planned to drive it to the beach in a few days so we actually decided to change the oil with a few miles to spare.


Unlike Wanda who gets special care at our favorite dealer in Brevard, we take the Civic to Wal-Mart. No, we don’t love our “children” equally.  When I arrived at the auto-service garage bays, there appeared to be a couple cars ahead of me.  I asked the technician how long to expect and he said an hour to hour-and-a-half.  I figured Jenni and I could shop that long in the store so I handed over the keys.


At the end of the hour-and-a-half, we paid for our groceries and pushed the cart to the back of the store.  Our car was now next in line.  I walked out to it and got a freezer bag with ice packs (when you live out in the sticks like us, you come to town prepared) and we transferred all our cold products to the insulated bag.


That’s when the play-by-play commentary began on our car.


Another customer, obviously juiced up on caffeine or something else, asked which car was ours and how long we had been waiting.  When I told him, he immediately asked if I had to replace the O2 sensor (or something like that) and I replied no.  So he told me how easy it was to reach.  Good to know.  I wanted to say I had replaced my own flux capacitor but thought twice about engaging him in meaningful dialogue.  He then announced that my car had been moved up in line.  If I had turned my head a quarter turn and looked out the window I would have known this myself.  I learned of all the truck models he had owned in his lifetime and whose oil he had changed on his own.  My constant phone scrolling did nothing to slow him down.  In fact, he spent a few minutes talking about how much he does not like his own phone and could live without it. 


Just after my new friend announced that they were now draining the oil from my car, he tried to bait me into a conversation on people not wanting to return to work.  It was a Friday morning and I wondered why HE was not working.  He talked somewhat disparagingly of the Wal-Mart employees and I said we had always been satisfied with their work.  After providing another progress report (the oil was now dripping and he hoped they remembered the drain plug—to which I replied that I trusted them to do the job right), he received a phone call and I enjoyed a brief reprieve.  When he hung up he lamented about the person who called speaking with a foreign accent.  I thought that their accent had not prevented him from carrying on a conversation but I did nothing to engage him.  He now reported that my car was ready.


Eventually the paperwork caught up to me and I could escape.  Throughout this entire painful period, my wife sat across from me in the waiting room and did not say a word. 


She is so wise.


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describing adventures in our self-built campervan
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