Saturday, January 22, 2011

Auto Ballet

This is Southern California where the only way to get from one place to another is by automobile -- your own automobile.  Anyone who thinks they can stand on a busy street corner here in LaLaLand, raise a hand, and a taxi will appear is clearly just off the boat from Manhattan Island where public transportation is a way of life.  No, here in LaLaLand we get in our cars and travel anywhere from a few hundred yards to hundreds of miles to get to where we want to be.  We live in a suspended state of disbelief.  We trust that our vehicles will never break down because if they do break down then we are truly stranded -- up the creek without a paddle so to speak.  Two adults live in my household and we each own our own vehicle.  We travel in opposite directions for work.  There is no way to share.  Imagine, then, the logistics involved when one vehicle needs the attention of Boris, the mechanic down at the foot of our hill.  If we know ahead of time, we can rent a car.  Taken by surprise, we can perhaps borrow a car from a neighbor.  Lately, though, the neighbor with two cars in her household and only one driver has been using the vehicle she rarely uses because her car fell victim to one of the famous Los Angeles pot holes.  Flattened both right side tires and broke stuff essential to driving.  Her car has been in the shop for a few weeks, now, hopefully at the expense of the City of Los Angeles.  One of our two cars developed odd electrical problems which profoundly impacted the ability of its windshield wipers to function in any type of coherent manner.  When turned on they would go in random speeds and random directions.  When turned off they would still go in random speeds and directions.  The only way to stop them was to shut off the engine.  So Boris had that somewhat demented vehicle for the past week while we rented a car for our second car needs.  Forgetting that there is a separate time zone called Boris, we took him at his word when he said the car would be ready to go this morning.  We returned the rental car, went out for breakfast, and stopped at Boris' to pick up the we assumed now perfectly functioning vehicle.  What a sobering sight to see the car's hood on its roof along with all sorts of wires and inexplicable gadgets.  Boris, always intense, seemed even more troubled as he explained the difficulty locating parts of a Saturn brand vehicle.  He hoped to have everything working later on today but maybe not until Monday.
Reality has settled like a dark cloud upon our household.
We have only one car.
Maybe the next door neighbor has gotten her second and primary vehicle back from the shop.  Maybe we can borrow her other vehicle.  Maybe we will go back to Avis and reclaim our rental car.  Or maybe we will sink into denial and not worry about it until Monday.
Here in LaLaLand life is not always glamor and good food, you know.

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