Thursday, November 4, 2010


When I was in driver education, my Papa made sure I knew how my Honey, my ’66 Galaxy 500, worked. I could point to all the parts of that V-8 and tell you what they did and what they were called. When Honey got flooded, I could take off the air filter and hold open the butterfly valve while my friend cranked the engine. I understood Honey and she understood me. There were no computerized whatseediddles in Honey.

Glynda, my ’05 Hyundai, is a totally different story. I don’t know what it is, but it sure as hell isn’t a V-8 Ford. But Monday she was officially paid off. Mine, mine, mine. Whooo hoooo. Monday on the way home from work the “check engine” light came on. I had to chuckle at that. I mean, it had to be a little fuse or something, right? That light had never been on before.

So I took it to a dealership Tuesday morning and left my cell phone number. Tuesday afternoon, I realized that I’d left my cell phone home – something I never do. So I called the dealership back and, in a totally serious voice, the lady said, “Blah, blahdee blah, the hoofadidious from the whatchamacallit, blah, $310.”

“Excuse me?”

“Gobbledygook yacketta yacketta $310”

“That’s what I thought you said. Do I need one of those?”


Then we talked warranty. It seems my warranty expired while I was asking questions. So I really had no choice but to have them install a new thingamagig. But I didn’t want them to think I fell of the turnip truck yesterday so I told them I wanted the old thingamagig. Papa told me to always do that. I didn’t want the mechanic to know that I might not be able to tell a thingamagig from a hoistavarious.

So I went to pick up car and the man said, “Oh, and the mechanic said you needed new brakes, too.”

“HAH! I know what brakes are. I don’t need new brakes. My car stops fine. It doesn’t make grindy noises or squeally noises and my brakes are just hunky dory thank you very much. NO, NO, NO.”

He handed me my keys and a tiny little bag with some part he probably picked up from a big box where they keep broken bits for people who demand to see the part that needed replaced. It was just a little metal thing that looked like a big spark plug and a dirty black cable thing about 8 inches long.

My car seems happy enough now. No lights flashing where they ought not be flashing. Stops just fine. I miss Honey.


  1. I used to understand my cars and change my own spark plugs. I guess cars are safer and pollute less and get better gas mileage these days, but I don't understand them. I think I've figured out where to put the brake fluid and oil....I think.

  2. I only know where the key goes.

  3. Boy, Fay, you sure knew your old Ford. Remember the johnson bar and finnegan pin? No, I don't either.

    We've had the check engine light twice, and both times it had to do with the emissions system—not fixable by the user, of course. One caused us to flunk the car emission test; ask me if I was pissed.