Wednesday, July 05, 2006

If the automobile had followed the same development as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and

explode once a year killing everyone inside.
- Robert Cringely


My car inspection expired.
June 30.

I knew it was coming – the months trudge onward, as they are wont to do.

We bought the car in an April, which I remember because Seg had just been born, and H’s joke was that only a crazy man buys his wife a new car when she is – uh – indisposed.
But LAST year I spaced on the inspection, so it got bumped from April to June.
Even the giant red letters on the top of the calendar page – “BB’s CAR INSPECTION DUE!!!” – weren’t enough of a reminder.

So I called the dealership and they squeezed me in Monday morning, 730 a.m. Groan. Yay, but groan.

Then it dawned on me – no sane man could expect me to take one, two, or three boys to the dealership with me, if it wasn’t necessary – and it wasn’t, as H was off work for the holiday weekend.

I stopped at Starbucks for my cup of Colombian blood, got the car to the dealership, and then realized that in my excitement to leave the house unencumbered by children and armed with a new book, I had left the new registration papers at home. Sitting by the door. Where they had been sitting all month, waiting for me to carry them the ten yards to the car, to put the sticker on the plate and stash the paperwork in the glove box. And they can’t inspect without the proper paperwork. Like, oh, current vehicle registration.

I go to this particular dealership because my old and dear friend R, who has put up with me since freshman year of college and is like a third brother to me, is the service manager there. But it’s a good twenty-five minutes drive from my house, over the river and through the woods, er, tunnel, which in this town is somewhat akin to crossing a continent. What a PAIN for H to have to load all three boys in the car to bring the registration. What a pain to have to drive all the way home, losing my spot in the inspection queue, and drive all the way back….then it came to me.

Sarah Louise and I get together for coffee on Monday mornings. Sometimes we linger and chat, other times we power-coffee and get on with our days. This morning, she was to be my car-registration angel. She even offered to bring me coffee! That Sarah Louise, she’s a good soul.

My car passed, with no major work needed. Whoo!

Then we hit the best thrift shop in town.
I didn’t exactly KNOW it was the best thrift shop in town, but within ten minutes of entering its doors, I walked over to check out the clothes with an armload of books. (I also bought a boring, blue-on-blue-striped button-down Old Navy stretch shirt.)
My grand total: thirteen dollars.

The Julie/Julia Project – Julie Powell – for 3 bucks! I have so been wanting to read this. I wish her blog was still up though, as the book is more about the writing of the blog and then the book than the actual cooking. I am also now obsessed with tracking down MY copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Surrender, Dorothy – Meg Wolitzer. I have recently become a HUGE Meg Wolitzer fan and have decided I need to own everything she’s written. This is a good start. Now I can return the library’s (overdue) copy.
The Ice Master – Jennifer Niven. Arctic exploration – check. Tales of survival – check. Death and doom – CHECK.
Ghost Stories of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County – Beth Trapani. I used to own this local-made-good little book; the author went to my alma mater, AND, coincidentally for this post, also used to date my friend R before she ran away to Philly to news-anchor stardom and a completely unsuitable older man.
The Distant Echo – Val McDermid. Could’ve sworn I’d read something of hers, but it’s possible I got a book from the library and never opened it. I always hear McDermid’s name come up when great mysteries are discussed (either that, or I ALWAYS confuse McDermid with Denise Mina)
The Queen of the Tambourine – Jane Gardam. Someone, on some blog, some time recently, had Gardam listed as one of her favorite authors. Whoever you were – I am trusting you here. Everything else on your list was stuff I like.

So...the moral to this story is: don’t forget to have your car inspected on time.

BUT if you do forget, make sure you have an old friend who is the service manager at a dealership very near an excellent thrift shop.

That is all.


Suse said...

Snap! Same post, except yours is bookish thrift and mine bric-a-brac thrift. Either way we had good hauls.

And was it you who put me onto David Sedaris? I read Dress Your Family in one fell swoop yesterday and my ribs still ache from laughing.

Carolyn said...

SL sounds like a lifesaver.

Congrats on leaving the house kid-free. That's always good!

Joke said...

Hooray for SL!

-J., happy to live in an inspection-free state

Sarah Louise said...

gonna make me blush...

J, no inspections? *that* would scare me.

But what do I know? I ride elevators with crazy men...

Joke said...

We used to have inspections, then we didn't, then we did again, and now we haven't. But now you only have to get your car inspected if you get a ticket (unless you win in court). The accident rate, incidentally, is basically unchanged.


Joke said...

P.S. We also don't have front license plates.

telfair said...

I might actually WANT to get my car inspected if there was a good thrift shop nearby...

We won't have inspections in MI, but we used to when I lived in Georgia, and the only thing of interest nearby was a big old pile of tires and the on-ramp of a highway.

Oh, did I say "of interest?"

I meant to just say, the ONLY THING NEARBY.

Gina said...

I used to live in MI, back in the day, and I remember being amazed at the number of crumbly cars that had been abandoned along the sides of the roads. I'm convinced this was because no one needed to have inspections.

Sarah Louise said...

We don't have front liscense plates either.

catsteevens said...

I HATED inspections.
No front license plates and no inspections for me either. Obviously I reside where Joke resides.

Joke said...

We send our crumbly cars up to MI.


My float said...

I stumbled across the Julie/Julia Project a couple of weeks ago. And it's a hoot. I was a bit disappointed to find the site was no longer up, and I only skimmed her new one briefly before deciding I wasn't really that interested. Am seriously on the hunt for the French book as well!

PS. Your adventures with the car sound exactly like mine. Crazy, crazy. And people call me disorganised. Sheesh!

BabelBabe said...

Ohio does not have inspections, and I fear for my life every time I drive in that state. I used to travel there fo rbusiness, and I was always convinced I would be killed by a flying car part off the car in front of me.

slap me happy said...

I would be one of the mums sitting reading a book asking the kids to leave me for while to have peace lol. Love your recipes may try them out soon.

jenny said...

love your book posts - they never fail to remind me of something I've been meaning to read...