Monday, July 18, 2011
Some of my more faithful and astute readers may recall a passing reference I made to a bar in Iowa called Glenn's – the same one where I was harassed by the pig farmer for my dietary choices – in which I state that the owner's name as Jerry. This didn't seem all that odd to me since I had already under my belt the experience of the garage where the majority of work for the Van had been done before we left for our cross-country trip: a place called “Just Andy's,” the owner, none other than Pierre. I was getting used to this trend, until I met Matt.
Our Mazda 3 hatchback was waiting for us at my in-laws' house when we got to this side of the country. It was not a tearful, joyful reunion as I've always hated that damn car. If you have nothing else to do and want to read about how it entered our lives, be my guest. Here's the back story of why we needed to get it. Here's part one of shopping for the new car. Here's the Mazda deal.
I had to admit after some consideration that shipping the sucker rather than selling it was the route to take. But I wasn't going to like it. My best hope was if it got stuck in a snow bank over the winter, never to be recovered. Or its exhaust system choked with some a swarm of bizarre flying summer bugs, known only in the northeast, their infestations coming every 4.73 years. Or something that would completely kill it, forcing us to junk it and move on with our lives.
Spiteful little be-otch vehicle that it is, it was just the clutch that went, and right away to boot. Expensive enough to hurt, but extremely fixable.
We got a recommendation on a place close by called Matt's Garage and headed in. We discussed the problem with someone there and decided on a plan of action. As we turned to leave, I inquired of the man who'd been helping us his name. He gave me a funny look before answering. “Matt. I'm Matt,” he said, all but pointing to the sign on the building behind us. Oh. What was this new and magical world I'd entered where things are in fact what they appear to be??
After our first meeting and during the time the Mazda was at his place, Matt would call me often. Whenever I'd be expecting realtors, lawyers, inspectors, it was always Matt on the phone. He started every conversation the same way. “Hi. This is Matt.” Like we'd been buds for years. It always took me a second or two. “Matt,” he'd repeat. “Matt's Garage.” I hate that car. But I think I like Matt.
Pretty soon the clutch was fixed, and we were back on the road.
Then, at 8:30am my phone rings. Seems a little early even for my relentless realtor. It's my friend, Matt.
“You in possession of that Mazda?” he says, serious as all get out. “Are you anywhere near Easthampton right now??” he prompts. Having taken note of our California plates but deprived our full story, he was concerned. We were all of about a half mile away and as far as I knew the piece of shit was still in the driveway.
“We found a spot of oil on the ground where the Mazda was parked. I gotta put it on the lift.”
A spot of oil? Big flipping deal. Mister, do you have any idea the kinds of cars I've driven? A spot of oil??
“I can be there in a couple hours,” I told him still groggy.
“Okay,” he said, like he didn't really trust me to come.
The scribbles on scrap paper on my nightstand read like an amnesiac's to do list. I need a new everything, from pediatrician to bank account. I have no friends here; I do not recognize anyone around town. I get lost on the way to Isaac's school. I have no idea where to take my son on these empty, hot days before we are fully settled. But I think it's safe to cross “mechanic” off the list.