There are few things worse than that My Car's In The Garage Today And I Have To Sit Around At Work Waiting To See What's Wrong And How Bloody Much It's Gonna Cost Me feeling.
When the gurgling from Golden Boy's rear got worse over the weekend, I booked him in yet again. I was assured I'd be called once they knew what was happened. When I'd heard nothing by 4.30, I called up. I got the Smug Bitch in reception, the one who always gives me a patronising stare every time I walk in.
"Oh, you're the one with the brown Magna?"
"It's not brown. It's GOLD."
"Anyway, we can't hear any noise."
"We've had two different mechanics look at it, and they can't hear any noise. Not a peep. Therefore you have totally wasted our time and you are a stupid fuckwit."
That last bit was not her exact words, but the sentiment was there.
"I'm telling you, there's a noise. I always think I'm being chased by motorbikes, but no, it's the car!"
"Well why don't you come up and we'll take you for a drive and we'll see if we hear anything, okay?"
It's amazing how many patronising tones you can pack into that one word. Oh-kaaaay?
On the way to the garage I ranted and raved about those bastards and how there was a noise and I Know My Car Goddammit, and I would show THEM. That's bluster of Cranky Shauny talking. But at the same time Wimpy Shauny is gnawing away in my brain, spineless, passive. Wimpy Shauny's policy is: you are to blame for everything and you have somehow brought this whole mess on yourself due to your general incompetence.
When these Shauny's combine you get someone who thinks she is wrong but damn if she's right for once, she'll stomp all over you whooping for joy.
Then there's Vicious Shauny, who is willing to lie her arse off in order to avoid looking stupid and/or taking the blame for any situation. If I'd done something stupid to the car, I had to think of some reason why it was in no way my fault. I came up with a few excuses on the fly:
1. Oh! That pesky sister of mine drives my car allll the time and she really drives like a maniac, you know.
2. This one time, the car was kidnapped by a pack of smelly teenagers, they drove it around at high speeds for weeks and weeks, and not once did they check the oil and water.
But as soon as I saw that Smug Bitch sneering and the mechanics smirking at me like I was the village idiot, I crumbled.
"I'm probably stupid, there's nothing wrong!" said Wimpy Shauny.
"But I'm sure I heard a noise!" said Cranky Shauny.
"We'll see," said the Smug Bitch.
The big boss mechanic drove and I sat in the passenger seat. And wouldn't you know it. Golden Boy purred along the road in silence.
"I don't hear anything."
"Well. Listen harder."
We trundled along the streets and I strained my ears, hoping for a little mutter, a tiny fart, anything to prove that I hadn't made this whole thing up. When I realised that Golden Boy wasn't going to deliver, I launched into apologetic babble and general bullshit.
"I did hear a noise, and so did my sister. I'm probably being paranoid, but I thought I should get it checked out, just in case…"
He gave me a withering look and I felt my temper flare. But Wimpy Shauny was stronger, and Vicious Shauny was determined to shift the blame elsewhere.
I paused and took a deep breath. "My father was a mechanic and he used to tell me never to ignore these things. Unfortunately he's not around anymore to give me car advice…"
I trailed off sadly, as if though my old man had perished in a terrible silo accident. I fumbled in my bag for tissues. The mechanic gave a non-committal grunt.
Just as I thought all was lost, that familiar sickly gurgle started again, moments before we arrived back at the garage.
"THERE! There it is!" I crowed.
"If you wound down the bloody window you might hear it."
"Oh. Ohhh. Now I hear it."
It was spluttering like a herd of tractors when we pulled back into the drive. The other mechanics and the Smug Bitch came out to oggle. I got out of the car and slammed the door with a flourish. "Hear it now? Huh? HUH?"
The triumphant triumvirate of Shauny's did a victory lap while the mechanics poked and prodded Golden Boy's ass. They declared that he was okay, there was no leaks or anything major. "Yeah, you've got a vibrating muffler. If you don't want the noise you'll have to get a new one."
Oh it's just such a glorious feeling proving someone right, that they were the fuckwits and you were not. But that all wears off so quickly when you realise the price of victory is another expensive trip to the garage.