July 06, 2008

A man and his car (a sequel of sorts)

FUNNY thing, the day my column came out last week, by early afternoon a friend of mine came through with the contact number of her favorite mechanic. And before the end of the day, Mang Vic had towed my Pop’s vehicle to his talyer, with the help of his Kuya Ronnie, the latter a veteran of 10 long suffering years in Kuwait as an auto mechanic, serving Americans.

(Okay, so God didn’t give me a boyfriend this time around...rats! But He gave me a mechanic instead. Two of them to be exact, plus an assistant. It was very clear to me that God had other ideas for me in terms of a relationship, and instead of helping me find a short-time lover to deal with this auto mess, He introduced me to much more interesting people, and perhaps the opportunity to learn something about car repairs. Who knows, I may have some bright future as a mechanic someday?! Ya think?!)

Anyway, by late Saturday morning Pop’s car came back to us fully restored and functioning. I was so relieved, I was almost happy to pay the mechanic off the P5,000 he billed me for the repairs. All I wanted was deliverance from this maddening situation and the chance to finally schlep the machine off to someone else.

Well, as my friend Moana came over on Monday to check on the car—I told you I have no talent for anything remotely auto-mechanical—the effing transport conveyance didn’t want to start again! I shouted for dear old Pop’s indulgence and begged him to make the darn thing come back to life...to no avail. An SOS text message followed by a call to Mang Vic sent him running back to my home almost immediately, possibly sensing my frustration at the idiocy of it all. And I suppose he also wanted to redeem his own reputation, which at that moment I was close to dragging through the mud, convinced I was that Pop’s car was on the fritz again.

As the evening deepened, however, and with Mang Vic’s admittedly semi-inebriated state (you know how these guys relax after a long day of greasing up), try as he might, Pop’s car didn’t have the juice. The mechanic said there now was no electricity to fire up the fuel pump and get the gas to the engine. (Or at least it sounded something like that.) According to him, the antitheft alarm system may have reset itself after the car got fixed and may have drained the electricity.

Duh. All I could do was look at Moana in befuddlement, and asked if what the mechanic was saying made sense. I could tell that Moana was unsure as well, as both of us were only relying on the word of our friend who recommended Mang Vic, that he was completely credible and reliable.

Anyhow, the mechanic eventually called it quits and went home with the promise that he would be back the next day to tow Pop’s car back to the talyer. But before he left, he bid the car goodbye, telling her “Kita tayo bukas, ha,” as he gently caressed its hood. I was amused. But he did tell me earlier that, most often, cars sometimes need attention, just like people. “Kailangan pansin-pansinin mo,” which made me even more pissed at it. It was turning out that owning a car was even more of a headache than owning a pet! Like I can always trust a cat to take care of itself, not unlike me, instead of wanting to be fussed over like a car.

Of course, my Pop treated his car almost with the same reverence, too. His attachment to the blasted thing was such that he didn’t even consider switching it for some of the newer car models available. (I’m surprised he didn’t name the car like my other friends do.) She served him well until the day he died, and he gave her the proper respect she needed.

I suppose the car had long wanted to give up the ghost when she realized that she no longer had Pop to care for her in the loving way she was accustomed to. To us, whom Pop had left behind, we saw her as just another mode of transportation and, especially to me, just one more headache to take on, with the rest of the family responsibilities I had to take over from Pop.

It actually got kinda creepy when Pop died last year, because it seemed the car didn’t want anyone driving her. Her alarm would go haywire as soon as we shut her doors, not wanting to be switched off, and despite us hitting the key lock switch repetitively. She would only calm down whenever I would call out loud to my Pop to let us drive her to our destination. Wooo....

So with Pop’s birthday coming up this weekend, I think his car is missing him again—as we are. She has gone mad in her grief and, consequently, is making everyone else feel just as terrible. She had probably heard me curse under my breath at how difficult she was making my life out to be, along with my “evil” plan to sell her. And just like a scorned woman, she’s rubbing the difficulties right in my face. Serves me right I suppose.

Well, Mang Vic and his kuya have towed Pop’s car back to the talyer, mystified by her stubbornness. I don’t know how soon she will be returned to us but I’m thinking, maybe I should just keep my mouth shut around her, so as not to “hurt” her feelings. Hopefully, by Pop’s birthday, she would be back to her old self, purring much like the great babe that had always served him well, instead of whining and throwing tantrums like a fuddy-duddy old lady.

Well, if she behaves like the latter, there’s always the junkyard nearby I can visit...hmmph!

(My column, Something Like Life, is published every Friday in the Life section of the BusinessMirror. Photo from BM)

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UPDATE: The car is working perfectly and purring like a kitten. According to Mang Vic, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, adding that "parang nagmumulto", in reference I suppose to Pop. Uhm. okay. Well it's his birthday today so I guess it's only just right that the car is fine.

So, anybody wanna buy a Kia Rio 2001? Low mileage (8355 km only), very tipid sa gas (P10/liter), P190k only. Drop me a note.

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