Cars

A Mechanic’s Patience

I stood back from the engine block, wiping sweat from my brow and cracking my neck with a groan.

         ‘Does it get easier?’ I asked the mechanic who had taken me in. He frowned at me from behind his wrinkles.

         ‘Does it look like it gets easier?’

         I sighed and wandered over to the door, staring up into the dusk sky.

         ‘You do that a lot you know,’ the mechanic called out to me, fiddling with a clamp on the engine’s main drive.

         ‘I miss it,’ I said, kicking the roller door. ‘And you said we’d be done fixing the Isadora by now.’

         ‘No I didn’t,’ he chuckled. ‘I said I hoped we’d be done.’

         ‘Right.’

         ‘Also, I was lying.’

         ‘I figured.’

         ‘It’s not often an old man gets an indentured apprentice to help him out in his shop,’ he chuckled, standing up to take a tray of parts to the machine washer. I couldn’t help but smile too – but only once his back was turned.

         ‘If you’re not careful, I’ll get my log book service from a mechanic near Lockleys,’ I jabbed at him. He snorted.

         ‘Good luck. It’s a long walk, and you’re not borrowing my speeder again.’ 

         ‘A long walk would do me good,’ I said, stretching out my back. ‘I’ve spent too long cooped up on this rock – my bones have started aching.’

         ‘Oh boo-hoo,’ the mechanic rolled his eyes. ‘Your poor, juvenile bones.’

         ‘You might be old, old man,’ I countered, ‘but I’m literally not built for this.’

         ‘You’ll get used to it,’ he sighed. ‘Just like everyone asking how to find mechanics who do electric car repairs – you get used to it.’

         ‘I don’t want to get used to it!’ I balled my fists up. ‘It’s been months of people telling me that I need to get used to it! I want to get back to my old life!’

         ‘It’s waiting for you,’ he nodded serenely. ‘You just have to be patient.’

         ‘I’ve never been good at patience,’ I sighed. He cracked a wry grin.

         ‘You get used to it.’

 

Roadside Revelations

‘Wait, he did what?’

         ‘I’m telling you, Lacey,’ I nodded at my sister, keeping my eyes on the road. ‘He said it. To my face.’      

         Lacey made a gobsmacked expression, like she’d just lost her phone in the ocean.

         ‘Your face?!’

         My face,’ I repeated, nodding vigorously. It was becoming harder to see the road through the tears.

         ‘What a monster,’ Lacey slowly shook her head.

         ‘A monster,’ I agreed, alternating my hands on the wheel and dabbing at my cheeks.

         ‘Well, you don’t need him anyway.’

         ‘Never did.’

         ‘He was holding you back.’

         ‘Dead weight.’

         ‘Who cares if he was the best car mechanic near me.’

         ‘What?’ I turned to look at her, frowning.

         ‘Who cares if he gave me a decent rate even before he knew I was your sister and let me borrow his car for a weekend once because he wasn’t able to fix mine as quickly as he said he would,’ Lacey nodded. ‘Doesn’t matter. He said that to you? To your face?’

         I didn’t reply, my frown turned to the road.

         We sat in silence for a few kilometres, staring out our respective windows. Finally, I couldn’t contain it any longer.

         ‘So when you said… when you said he gave you a decent rate…’

         ‘Yep, super decent. The monster,’ she quickly added.

         ‘Yeah, right, sure,’ I shook my head. ‘But that was before he knew who you were?’

         ‘Yepperino.’

         ‘And how decent was it?’

         ‘Was what?’

         ‘The rate,’ I clenched my grip on the steering wheel.

         Lacey frowned like she was trying to remember.

         ‘Uh… pretty good, I think. Can’t remember any specifics, but it was—’

         ‘And did he ask you to get a private car air conditioning service near Frankston?’

         Lacey’s frown deepened.

         ‘Uh… could be ringing a bell? Let me check my—’

         I wrenched the car to the side of the road with a shriek, slamming on the brakes just before we hit a tree.

         You’re the broken-air-conditioner girl trying to steal my boyfriend?

         ‘I can explain!’ Lacey stammered, trying to unlock the doors.

Sky-High Service

Alert. Alert. Malfunction detected. Serious leak detected. Immediate attention req—

         ‘Yeah, yeah,’ I fumed, punching the console, cutting the voice off. ‘I’m aware.’

         If the red lights and the alarms weren’t enough, the smoke filling the cabin would have been clue enough that something was seriously, seriously, wrong with my engine.

         I flicked on the auto-drive and slipped out of my seat, running to the other end of the vehicle. I grabbed a wrench off the wall as I ran past, hoping it was the right size for whatever I was about to do.

         ‘What I wouldn’t give for an engine analyser to diagnose my vehicle right about now,’ I muttered. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door to the engine room, and was immediately blinded by smoke.

         Hacking and coughing, I desperately tried to bat it away with my arms.

         ‘Computer!’ I called out. ‘Activate the exhaust fans!’

         Nothing happened, and I remembered that I’d turned her off back in the cabin.

         ‘Dammit,’ I swore. I glanced around and saw a pair of safety goggles, dangling on the end of a drill. I quickly slipped them over my eyes. Breathing was still touch-and-go, but at least now I could see.

         It didn’t take me too long to diagnose the problem: my engine was on fire.

         ‘Definitely should have gotten that log book service near Adelaide last month,’ I sighed, reaching for my fire extinguisher. I pointed the nozzle at the engine block and squeezed my eyes shut, pulling the trigger.

         Nothing happened.

         Why was nothing happening?

         I remembered with a start and a groan, slapping myself on the forehead. I’d used the extinguisher up on the last engine fire.

         I swore again, and sprinted out of the engine room, back at my dashboard and its hundreds of blinking lights. I whipped the radio out of its holster and pressed it to my mouth.

         ‘Mayday, mayday, this is the Isadora, driving in the blind with my engine on fire, repeat, my engine is on fire.’

The Ute’s Destination

They came to an old homestead deep in the hills beyond Robotopia. It was in a poor state, with the garden overgrown with weeds, the roof looking as if it was about to cave in under its own weight, along with the lovely sight of rotting wood in the form of window frames and doors.

“What is this place?” Rylee asked as she climbed out of the ute.

“Used to belong to my grandparents, before they passed away a few years ago. Nobody ever comes here anymore, but I thought it might be a nice place to catch up. I know it’s a bit… dishevelled, but at least it’s peaceful.”

They spent a few minutes searching for a patch of grass in the garden that hadn’t been corrupted. Once they found one, Cole returned to the ute and searched through his tapered under tray tool boxes. Rylee thought it was weird that he had two of them, but Cole had always loved his ute accessories. 

Her once fiance returned with a picnic basket and a rug. They set up together, Rylee hiding her surprise at the picnic as well as she could. When it was done, they sat beside each other like old times, enjoying the late afternoon and the delectable cheeses Cole had brought along.

After a while of comfortable silence, Rylee tried to bring the conversation back to something she’d mentioned before. “So, as I was saying about you starting a business for ute canopies around Melbourne…”

Cole held up a single finger, silencing her. “Please, love, allow me. I have something much more pressing.”

“What is it?” Rylee asked, cocking her head.

She could hardly believe her eyes as Cole shifted forward, resting on one knee. From his coat, he produced a brilliant sapphire ring.

“Rylee, will you marry me? For real this time.”

And not for the first time that day, Rylee was completely lost for words.

Checking My Car

I bought my very first car yesterday and it’s a real piece of work. It’s a used car almost a decade old, and the air conditioner is so weak that on a hot day I’d probably benefit more from my dog breathing on me. Still, it’s my first car, and I bought it all with my own money. I worked long hours after school at my local clothing store to save enough money for the purchase. I was such a scrupulous saver that I often missed out on social events with my friends purely because I didn’t want to spend any money. It’s all worth it now, though, because I have a car and they don’t. Most of them don’t even have their licences yet, as they haven’t turned eighteen.

Before I can drive my car, I need to find some lists of companies offering vehicle inspections local to Queanbeyan. I had no idea this was even a thing before my maths teacher told me, but apparently, the government mandates that a vehicle be inspected to ensure it’s roadworthy. This inspection is supposedly particularly important for my car, as it’s a used car that hasn’t been serviced properly in many years and I have no idea if it’s up to standard. My maths teacher is super smart – he even suggested the name of his favourite mechanic providing services in Queanbeyan. This mechanic is supposed to be the best of the best, and has won a number of awards for repairing cars over the years. When my vehicle is inspected, it will be checked for safety requirements such as seatbelts, reflectors, lamps, tyres, wheels, and other general components to ensure the vehicle has not become worn or deteriorated. I just hope it’s affordable and doesn’t cost too much, because as a full-time high school student I don’t have a lot of money to spare – especially since I just bought a car!

Unroadworthy Car

I’ve been having nightmares about driving recently. I guess actually, they’re technically not nightmares. In the dreams I’m just driving the streets, stopping at traffic lights, making left and right turns, just doing really normal everyday driving things. To most normal people this would just be a boring, or maybe even soothing, dream. But to me, it’s an absolute nightmare.

I’m really scared of driving, you see? In dreams like that where I’m just driving, I either feel comfortable behind the wheel and wake up sad because it wasn’t real, or I am filled with panic and feel a terrible urge to jump out of the driver’s window. I know this isn’t normal and I’m in the process of getting help for my fear of driving. Part of what I’m doing is called ‘immersion therapy’ where I spend time chatting with the local mechanic in Morayfield about what measures mechanics take to make sure cars are as safe on the road as possible. Stuff like that really means a lot to me and is actually helpful, which is why maybe some of my driving dreams are less stressful than they used to be. 

Every single day I wish that I was normal. I wish that I didn’t have this debilitating fear of driving that controls almost everything I do. It’s really hard for me to get places, to see people and just to live a normal life.

I feel like an absolute pain when I have to ask for lifts from friends and family. Once I was so desperate for a lift that I got into my friend’s car even though she didn’t have a valid roadworthy certificate. In the Morayfield area, you’re legally not allowed to drive around without one but I needed a lift so bad that I just took the risk of being in her car. I’ll admit, that was a real low point for me.

Chase to Mechanics

Rylee had never been in so much pain. Perhaps she should have seen it coming—of course, the blast from the device she threw on that limo would affect her while driving the motorcycle. Of course, she would be so surprised that as she wrestled for control she lost it completely and ended up with her leg crushed beneath the wreckage. Of course Cosmo the Kobold would survive the attack and run away.

She had to get up – and fast – or risk losing Cosmo entirely. It was clear now that they had been heading to a mechanic in Tasmania, although it wasn’t obvious which one. If she wanted any chance of following him, she’d have to get up before losing sight of the runaway kobold completely.

As she grunted and shoved the broken motorcycle, a flood of pain bursting into her leg, Rylee considered the possibilities. Her boss had briefed her on which auto shops in Tasmania were likely bases for the Conclave of Mechanists. Hobart was the most likely location, but there were multiple car mechanics there who could be part of their plans. Perhaps the mechanic offering service around Brighton would be Cosmo the Kobold’s target.

“Move dammit,” Rylee said as she shoved again, sweat dripping down her forehead, into her eyes. “Come on, there’s no time for this.”

The mangled metal screeched as she pushed it along the asphalt. Finally, she created enough space to yank her leg free. 

Well, at least it’s not broken, she thought, flexing it. Now I’ve just got to make sure that kobold is actually heading to the Brighton car service—not the Cambridge one.

With that thought driving her to push through the pain, she stood, hobbling as she found her footing. Each step came easier than the last, and eventually, she found the strength to shake it off and break into a run. The kobold was getting away, but she wouldn’t lose him.

Far too much was at stake for that.

Car Radio Disaster

My car radio isn’t working. This is a disaster. How am I supposed to drive to work when I don’t have any music playing? I don’t really like driving because I’m impatient and fidgety. I need something to distract me from how long it takes to get to work. There’s nothing I love more than belting out the lyrics to a song whilst I’m driving. I don’t even notice time passing and I actually enjoy every minute of it. It’s like I’m at my own personal concert and I’m the star. Based on this, I’m sure you can understand why my radio not working is the worst thing that could happen to me.

I work in the Melbourne CBD and I drive because I don’t really like sitting in close proximity to people. Even though I don’t like driving and I’m impatient and fidgety, I dislike people even more. I can’t even fathom the idea of driving to and from work every day without a working radio and so I’m booking my car in for a car service local to South Yarra as we speak. I’m very good at multitasking, hence the driving and singing thing. I refuse to drive any more than once at a time without a radio. I’ve explained the seriousness of the issue to the mechanic and he said that he understands completely. Thank goodness.

It would be so bad if I booked into a mechanic and they were apathetic to the situation. It’s such an important one. No matter whether I was booking into a mechanic in South Yarra or a mechanic who does car repairs in the Malvern area, I’d want them to respect my opinion and understand the importance of my needs. Thankfully, I made the right choice by booking into the mechanic in South Yarra. I’m dropping my car there on the way to work today and hopefully, I’ll be able to pick it up tonight with a working radio.

Awesome Car Rally

We are now six rounds into our car racing competition and it’s going to be great. My decision to only draft cars that had a really sound service and repair history has paid off. It was also a great decision on my behalf to check the roadworthy and car safety certificates that had been issued to each car. Raceview authorities are extremely adamant about drivers only driving cars that are roadworthy, which is why so many of my competitors have had to forfeit so far this season. A couple of drivers have even forfeited against me which has given me an instant win.

This is a prime example as to why thinking ahead and looking at things such as the date of when the most recent brake repair service was and reading the servicing records is so important. I know it’s not the most entertaining way to spend the off-season, but it’s a great way to make sure the actual season is so much fun.

Sometimes you just have to think ahead. There’s no point in choosing the best, most awesome looking car if it doesn’t run well. I guess that is kind of a metaphor for life really. You have to think things through and not judge a book by its cover, or in this case, not judge a car by its awesome rims or shiny new paint job.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank the expert mechanic driving distance to Raceview for doing such a great job checking over the vehicles that I ended up drafting. Each one of them is flawless to drive and purrs like a kitten. You can really tell that the mechanic who serviced and repaired the cars really cared about how they turned out. The mechanic definitely wanted the cars to run smoothly and they certainly do. They might not be the best looking or ‘coolest’ cars, but they are definitely the best quality thanks to the mechanic in Raceview.

Angry Car Driver

I’m in such a bad mood. If you didn’t see my last blog post you wouldn’t know why, and so I’ll fill you in. A not for profit association is trying to steal my money. Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? I wasn’t able to do anything about it yesterday when I found out because I didn’t have my car with me. My car was at the 4WD mechanic close to Toowoomba, the nearest suburb to my house with a decent mechanic. Thankfully, I’ve now got my car back and I can drive straight to the basketball stadium and give them a piece of my mind. 

I just really don’t like big corporations that take on the little guy and think they’ll win. You can’t take advantage of people just because you’re in a position of power. It makes me really mad that they think they can keep our money and then demand more money from us. It’s just not fair.

I’m about to drive to the stadium. I’m so filled with rage at the moment that I’m honestly a bit worried that I will drive erratically, not on purpose but because I’ll be overcome with rage and just want to get to my destination. I’m not going to tell my wife just how angry I am because she probably wouldn’t let me drive if that was the case. 

Why would she think that? Because the last time I drove when I was this mad, I ended up hitting a curb really badly and needing to get a tyre service. In the Toowoomba area, the curbs are really big and so they damaged my car really badly. I was speeding because I was angry, and it was just the perfect storm. I hope something like that doesn’t happen again.

Anyway, turns out I didn’t need to worry. I got to the stadium safely and now it’s time to give them a piece of my mind. I hope I’m calmer on the way home…