This started with her mechanic. She drives a 1980 something Jaguar and has always taken it to the same mechanic in town. In fact, this is not the same mechanic she started out with at this shop. But she still called the new guy “Arthur” despite the fact that his name is Mike. “New Arthur” changed locations last year and is now located at a shop way out of her driving radius. This has necessitated my brother-in-law picking up her car and taking it about 40 miles away for simple procedures such as a state safety inspection or oil changes. We have encouraged her to get another, newer, reliable, and less boat-like car, but she is sentimentally attached to a lot of things and this car is definitely one of them. She once even had it towed 40 miles to “New Arthur” and tried to tell me (the loudest proponent for a new car) that AAA covered it.
She has another car – a 1990 something Toyota 4- Runner. She loves this tank, and I’m honestly not sure how she is even able to hoist herself in and out of the driver’s seat without breaking a hip. She will also not part with this clunker because it has four wheel drive and she seems to recall using it to rescue people who have gotten stuck in the snow. She also claims she can use it to drive hospital personnel to work in a blizzard. This makes us all laugh because this is a woman with a huge fear of falling who does not leave the house in even the smallest dusting of snow. If her Toyota was used in some long ago rescue attempt, we are 100% certain she was not present for it.
It seems we are always dealing with one mechanical failure or another with these two antique vehicles. The battery died on her Toyota last month and she had to have it towed to a nearby service station. The mechanic there, a friend and neighbor of ours, told her she was overdue for state safety inspection and then noticed that she had a hole in some pipe that would probably necessitate a $600 repair to get it through inspection. She did not like this diagnosis and has now pronounced this mechanic (friend and neighbor) untrustworthy. So her car has been sitting with an expired inspection sticker ever since.
She says she “has a guy” – a local mechanic who is well-known for passing questionable cars through inspection. So yesterday, I offered to take it to him on her behalf. I followed her explicit instructions to the station (past what used to be a 7-11 and across the street from the old Magruders) and brought the car in. I was told that this station has not done safety inspections for over ten years. Ouch. If her intel was correct, he was probably prohibited by the state to conduct further inspections.
I feel bad that this lady, once so dialed in, now feels like the world is changing at lightning speed. In fact, it’s really only changing at a normal pace but I’m sure the years must be flying by for her. We try to show her new things when we can – a new store she might like, or a new restaurant in her radius, hopeful that she’ll be a little less upset by the changes. But these are usually met with recollections of some better store or nicer restaurant somewhere in her past. If only we could rewind twenty years.