Friday, May 7, 2010

It's Not Just About It Being Illegal

"You gotta know somebody who knows somebody," he said to her leaning in close. "It is illegal, you know."

That's the snatch of conversation I overheard on Grace Street just as I was passing the innocuous-looking couple in front of me.

I can't tell you how badly I wanted to know what they were talking about, but it was none of my business so I kept going.

It's not like me to hold back; usually when I overhear something titillating I just open my mouth and ask.

But I refrained even though I knew it would drive me crazy not to know.

Isn't it the Fruit Bats who say, "When you bite your tongue, all you get is a mouthful of blood"?

But this much I know: sometimes it does help to know somebody who knows somebody.

I was having a drink with a restaurant-owner friend the other night and apropos of nothing, he leaned in and said, "What are we gonna do about your car?"

I knew immediately what he meant because my car is so noisy that people have said they can hear it coming from two blocks away.

With the windows down, the noise competes with the stereo and I play my music, shall we say, loudly.

It's a squeaky/clunk sound that the car's had since I drove it off the lot new a decade ago this month.

Invariably when I have it in for service, the mechanic says he's going to take care of that sound and not one has ever succeeded.

I actually have friends who refer to me as Squeaky McSqueakerton because of my car.

But here was my restaurant buddy saying he had a server who is also a mechanic and does good, honest work.

Noises aside, I also knew the car needed some servicing.

The primary reason I'd bought it was because the car salesman had told me it wouldn't need a tune-up until I reached 100,000 miles and I don't like high-maintenance anything.

Naturally I'd reached that number just about the time I'd been laid off in December 2008, so it had never been addressed.

Best of all, all I had to do was bring the car by the restaurant in the morning, go about my business and pick it up there later in the day.

And while I was waiting for the server/mechanic to show up yesterday afternoon, the bartender strongly suggested a fortified mimosa.

You can't get a much better car repair experience than that.

Yet again, I was told what a great car I have. My former mechanic always told me what a well-built car the Altima was.

This guy simply referred to it as awesome and in great shape. That may have something to do with my driving style, though.

After a trip to Ashland Coffee and Tea , my friend Holmes asked incredulously, "You drive like this all the time?"

Why, yes, I do and my car is apparently all the better for it, mister.

So now I have a freshly tuned-up car that- wait for it- does not squeak. Or clunk.

Or make any sound except the ones it's supposed to.

People will no longer hear me coming. I will challenge anyone who refers to me as Squeaky again.

All because I knew somebody who knew somebody. And, you know it wasn't even illegal.

Next time maybe...


  1. REALLY??? It doesn't squeak? How can this be???

  2. I feel like I'm in a stranger's car! Weird!

  3. When I would stand on the corner waiting for you I always relied on that squeaky, squeaky sound to give me a heads up that you were coming and from which direction. Now I'll have to keep my eyes open and look for you instead of watching the people who pass by

  4. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?