Monday, November 15, 2010

oil changes

Monitoring the oil level in your car is important. Neglecting to pay attention to something so mundane could lead to your being stranded on the median of a remote Utah canyon highway, gesticulating wildly to distant hikers to beg them to help you push your car to the side of the road.1

Though I know I've said this before, I would like to, once again, ensure all marriageable women are assured of the hypotheticalness of all of my examples. I would also like to take a moment to pause and sob in my room.


It's important to get your oil changed, lest you end up emotionally scarred for life. You can do this activity yourself, which implies lying on oil-covered ground, grunting and pulling to remove a bolt, covering yourself and nearby small animals in oil, all for the low cost of a floor jack, a few wrenches, the oil, and an hour of your Saturday (approx. $223),2 or you can go to a nearby Jiffy Lube and have them change it for you, which implies being told you need to change fluid X because it is color Y (approx. $223).

I went through their hallowed halls just yesterday, and the conversation went a little something like this:

Dude: Oh man, it looks like you're at sixty one thousand miles, which is a huge service time for your car.
Me: (Having heard this every time I bring in any car to get the oil changed) oooookay...
Dude: Yeah (bringing up a large colorful screen with pretty boxes and arrows), it looks like you're due for [big long string of words] and [another big long string of words] and [something involving ducks and pentagrams].
Me: I like ducks...
Dude: Most importantly, your automated transmission transfer gearing mechanical fluid needs to be changed.
Me: But I just bought this car four months ago!
Dude: Yeah, the dealers never perform any service on these cars before selling them.

This, of course, puts me in the unenviable position of choosing to put my faith in a car dealership or an oil change shop, which I imagine is something akin to being forced to choose between death by elephants or death by monkeys.3

Dude: (Sensing my skepticism, but smelling money) Let me go check your car.

At this point he retreated into the bowels of the shop, to what I can only assume is the bring-your-child-to-work-today playroom, because when he returned, he had a piece of paper with splotches suspiciously similar to what my nephews produce when painting watercolor.

I'm not going to repeat the rest of the conversation, as it does not cast me in the finest of lights, but suffice it to say that he convinced me that one of the splotches was pink, and the other splotch was black, which splotches represented the ideal color for liquid X, and the actual color of liquid X as it existed in my car.

Now, I could, of course, see that those were different colors, so of course I was willing to pay one hundred and twenty dollars to make those colors look the same. I can't even imagine the horrors that could occur if I did't ensure the matching of the coloring.

In related news, I am feeling extra suckerish today.

1. Just kidding! It wasn't that remote.
2. I started changing my oil years ago after getting infuriated at paying $35, which, as it turns out, is probably about six cents more than my average oil change cost, factoring in the purchase price of the jack and whatnot. Coincidentally, that experience was the inspiration behind one of the very first posts on the Complete Guide to Everything. I apologize to any and all who read the early posts; quality control was severely lacking.
3. This is an old expression I invented during a conversation with my roommates in college; as I recall, I was being asked with whom I would prefer to spend time. The characters in the analogy are in no way representative of the physical appearance of said individuals; they were just the first animals I could think of. This is exhibit A in my attempt to convince the world I am not, in fact, obsessed with ducks.

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