So, last weekend, or was it the weekend before? Anyway, I was driving along and I realized once and for all that I really really needed brake work. I was turning a corner at one of those six-sided intersections and an SUV stopped suddenly in front of me for a pedestrian. Well, pump the brakes or not, can’t stop that suddenly. Dents in the hood, and a recessed headlamp.
The yuppy gets out, scrapes my paint off his spare tire, and offers that my bumper is awfully low. I was a little out of it, otherwise I might have offered to him that his vehicle is far larger than he needs to be driving about. I have felt terrible since because my Beetle is a classic, beautiful car that I am falling every day deeper in love with. At the price I got it, it is like a gift, an honor that has been bestowed upon me, and an honor I need to live up to. The car is older than me, and I’ve already neglected it.
Well, found a mechanic who is rather cool, after asking around on the ‘net. Nick’s Auto Repair over on Ashland by Irving Park. His is a one-man operation – a ramshackle-looking garage with a small lot out front packed chock full of old cars. This is the sort of mechanic I need – a geek who’s in it for the love of the job. Well, I got the car back today, I think he has a rough time getting parts. Brakes work. I asked him if he could hit the shocks as well, and asked him about body work. He said he could get the headlamp back into shape, and repaint the car, which would be cheaper than trying to find the right color mixture. The car already has these subtle variations in shade from different touch-ups that have been done on it. One factor is that it uses a different sort of paint or somesuch, because of its age and Germanness perhaps, which just goes to complicate matters, meaning it makes things slower and/or more expensive.
We’re starting to talk some money here – but like I said, I got the car on the cheap, and pouring money into this one to “restore” it is I think, a lot more fun than if I were to buy a new one. Money’s a bit tight lately though, but I’ve got plenty of cash waiting around in savings. I’m actually pretty glad I’ve been saving so well, even if it means the spending fund gets rather cramped.
I call the shop tomorrow coz he’s got to order a new brake light switch – that’s right – new brakes, but no brake lights. No parking brake either, though I think I’d like to find what part it is he needs and get that fixed up on general principle. The no brake lights was discovered by a guy next door to Nick. A Beetle admirer. I’ve met a few Beetle buffs now driving my little buggy around.
Great car – and it’s not the people. Driving stick, once you get the hang of it, just feels good. You know what the car is doing, you’re more aware, more in control, more competent. It’s the difference between watching Windows boot, and watching FreeBSD scroll it’s boot output past, as it describes which devices it’s probing and whatnot.
Augh, shut up now!