My minivan started making funny noises. (Yeah, I drive a minivan. You got a problem with that? I didn't think so.) The engine went "clickity-clickity-clickity." The left wheel went "grrrreeewwwo" every time I turned the steering wheel to the left. As soon as I noticed these noises, I immediately did what I usually do when something seems to be wrong with my car: I ignored the problem and hoped it would go away. In fact, I seem to do that with a lot of non-car problems as well. It often works pretty well. In this case, though, it didn't work. The engine started going CLICKITY-CLICKITY-CLICKITY, and the wheel started going GRRRREEEWWWO.
I don't believe in rushing into things, so I immediately did what I usually do when whatever seems to be wrong with my car appears to be getting worse: I waited until my wife said something about it. She said, "Kuri, I think the minivan's left wheel has been going 'grrrreeewwwo' every time I turn the steering wheel to the left, and the engine has been going 'clickity-clickity-clickity.' Have you noticed anything?"
"Oh. Yeah. Now that you mention it…."
"Don't you think you should get it fixed?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
I immediately did what I usually do when my wife asks me to perform some sort of household task: I forgot.
So she asked me a couple of days later if I'd called the car place yet. "Uh, sorry, I forgot. I'll call first thing tomorrow morning."
The next morning, I forgot to call. In the afternoon, my wife asked me if I'd called. "Uh, sorry, I forgot. I'll call them as soon as I finish this job I'm working on." This time, I didn't forget. I called five times, but the line was busy every time. This was on a Friday, so I told my wife I'd call first thing Monday morning.
On Monday morning, I forgot to call. On Monday afternoon, my wife asked me if I'd called. (Hope springs eternal.) "Uh, sorry, I forgot. I'll call them after the lunch hour." This time I didn't forget. I called five times, but the line was busy every time. I said to my wife, "I called five times, but the line was busy every time."
She said, "Well, why don't you just take it in?"
I said, "Well, we have to pick up the kids from school in an hour. There wouldn't be time to work on it."
She said, "He wouldn't need to work on it. Just show him how it goes 'clickity-clickity-clickity' and 'grrrreeewwwo' and make an appointment for tomorrow or something."
I said, "Yeah, OK, that's a good idea."
See, that's the kind of mechanic I had. For about five years, I'd been taking our cars to a mom-and-pop operation run by a guy named Franz and his wife. He was only about 30, but he had an engineering degree and all. He was easy to get appointments with, he was cheap, and he did good work – a truly rare combination. Not only that, he was honest and friendly. A real treasure of a mechanic.
So I hopped into the minivan and headed over towards his shop. I turned up the stereo so I couldn't hear the 'clickity-clickity-clickity' and the 'grrrreeewwwo' as much. I got there, and instead of Franz's shop, there was like this cheap, sleazy looking used-car lot/detailing shop. What the f -- I mean heck? I thought maybe Franz just changed the name of his shop and branched out a little, so I drove around the block and looked again. There was no doubt anymore. Franz's shop was gone.