04 May 2006

Argument with the mechanic

"Poor dear," he clucked to the tractor while he gave her a rejuvenation treatment. He has only just given us the bill for that, and it looks right. But only a while ago I had quite a time with this mechanic, arguing with him over the bill for our car.

It looks like just a car that is older than most in any car park, though not older in any romantic way. She needed her annual check-up for registration, and a service.

The car is a 'she' to him, the mechanic. If she were a human, I'd get a rundown on the state of every twist in the gastro tract. Since she's a car and I'm clearly more interested in biologicals than mechanicals, he teaches me patiently that she's alive, too. He's actually made 'her' interesting, and I have begun to think of this machine as something more friendly than the one I'm using now (Can any computer be a 'dear'?).

This car service was overdue, as problems had added up. Quite a bit of work was needed to keep the car going — and parts needed to be replaced. The parts added up in cost (no profit there to the mechanic) to about $200. He was quite upset that they came to so much. So he discounted his own work to keep the bill down, till his work was almost nothing. "Don't cheat yourself," I said. "I can't accept this."

"I can't charge you any more," he said. "I can never expect to make money. After all, I only work with my hands."

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