Dec. 31, 2004

The $600 Tune-up and the Date that Never Was

I still haven't written about my Christmas trip, but here's something fresh to amuse you.

My car's exhaust was starting to sound "a bit loud" and it was time for a tune up too. So I dropped my car off at garage on Tuesday expecting to get it back on Wednesday. I had some other adventures with my old car not too long ago. Making plans, I set up a date with a new acquaintance on Thursday...

So the oil is now changed, the muffler replaced, and the spark plugs are in. But the mechanics discover that one bank of cylinders are not firing due to a failed coil (it generates the high voltage needed to trigger the spark). It seems that I was really running on just two cylinders! No wonder it was a bit rough. So another day to replace the coil.

I'm still confident I'll have the car in time to meet my date Thursday, so we firm things up. But I do let her know that the car is still at the garage just in case. Just as well, because Thursday afternoon I get another call. One of my valve springs, which help the valves open and close, is loose. If it fails I'm likely to damage the cylinder head, which is not a cheap repair. Good news: part is only $13. Bad news? They can't source a replacement until next week!

When I get this call from the garage I don't have my date's phone number with me. It's at home, on my forgotten cell phone (I was checking my messages remotely). I've been a pedestrian for three days now, which is totally normal for me because everything I generally need is only a short walk away. But now it's very late Thursday afternoon, my date is at 8:30 in the far west end of the city, and I'm a twenty minute walk from her phone number! Workout's over. Get dressed and head straight home. Call her home number immediately (about 6:30), leave a message. Keep calling in case she's in the shower etc and didn't hear the phone ring. Keep calling... and calling...

Now it's 8:25, she must have left very early and done some errands on the way. Boy, am I looking bad! Finally she calls, at 8:45. She's wondering where I am and has finally checked her voicemail. Apologies all the way around. She seems OK with it, but disappointed. Her schedule and my lack of a car is probably going to push this whole thing weeks.

From reading girl's blogs I've recently learned that there is nothing worse than being stood up at the last minute, because a significant amount of time and energy has usually been expended. So I feel like a heel. Also, you've got to be a bit more realistic when you take an old car in for service...

Listening to: Smalltown Boy (iTunes Store link) by Bronski Beat from The Very Best of Jimmy Somerville, Bronski Beat and he Communards.


  1. As cynical as I am, I do understand when situations come up. So I hope she gives you another chance, you did the best you could.

    Take care, Ben. I'm glad we "met" this past year - Happy New Year to you and your son.

  2. Time wounds all heels. ;)

    Of course, I am pulling your leg in this case. I am sure that you are forgiven. However, I would plan something EXTRA special for the next date. Like a trip to Paris, for instance. *wink*

    I hope your new year was a lovely one!