Jiffy Lube and the Camry with Vertigo

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
The tale of a visit to Jiffy Lube in Mobile, Alabama to get my oil changed.

Submitted: October 04, 2008

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Submitted: October 04, 2008



Jiffy Lube and the Camry with Vertigo


I had escaped the biker bar unscathed and spent a few lovely days with my friends in Mobile. The U.S.S. Camry, my trust vessel, had in Florida developed a slight cough, really more of a hiccough at low speeds, and was due for an oil change, so Jerry and I made the stop at Jiffy Lube for the treatment.


The mechanics looked like a photograph and its negative – both burly, one bearded and so white he looked like a cave dweller, the other smooth-shaven and a complementary shade of black. We stepped into the waiting room and began a game of backgammon on the portable board Jerry had, with great foresight, brought with.


Mid-game, the mechanics came into the waiting room, looking like professionally concerned physicians. The black one was carrying an air filter.


“May-ay-am?” he said, in the Southern fashion of cramming three or fifteen syllables into four letters and an apostrophe. Confident he had my attention, his blunt broad-fingered hands performed an absurdly graceful Vanna White sweep of the hand as he displayed my sorry air filter to its full disadvantage. “This is yo’ aih filtuh.” He shook his head sorrowfully. “It got fuzz and feathers and I doan know WHUT all in theah! Wheah at you been DRIVIN’ this thing?” He glanced at his colleague and their expressions sobered further. “An’,” he added, “yo’ fuel injection system look as bad or wusser.”


I blinked. “Wusser?”


“Worser, Les,” my friend supplied.




I eyed the two mechanics, who were after all, not only Southerners, but men, and mechanics to boot. “Y’all wouldn’t jive a Yankee, now wouldja?”




Never mind. Although I was perhaps being jived, it was only a matter of when, not if, the cleaning of the fuel injection system and the clean air filter needed to happen. It’d been a rough dirty sandy trip already, and I had miles to go before I slept. I authorized the work.


I paid, and as I was getting in the car, the black mechanic assured me. “When the clean get through yo’ system, yo’ goan get lots bettah fuel mileage.”


I said, “Just in case it doesn’t work out that way, how about you give me your home phone number?”


His turn to blink. The white mechanic, though, read me. “She goan come GIT you!” he laughed, and the other smiled too, albeit a bit uncertainly. Who knows what Yankees get up to, after all?


I started to pull the Camry from the work bay, and noticed that while the light on the dash that HAD been lit, signifying low windshield washer fluid, was now out, there was a new one lit, an inscrutable rune labeled “Check.”


I lowered the window. “Oh, bo-oys,” I cooed.


“Ma’am?” The mechanic stepped over to my window.


I pointed to the new light. He excused himself and went over to confer with his comrade, their heads together over what I assumed to be my car’s diagnostic report as though they were reading a set of x-rays.


The mechanic came back with a relieved look on his face. “Ma’am, when yo’ aih filtuh an’ stuff was so duhty, yo’ car warn’t gettin’ no oxygen. Now it is. It ain’t used to it. That there’s your CO2 sensor. Yo’ car is…” his face clouded as he groped for the expository word and cleared as he found it. “Yo’ car is, kinda, dizzy.”


I looked at him. “My car is dizzy?”


“Yes, ma’am, kind of.” He could see the skepticism on my face. “If it don’t settle down good in a day or two, come on back and we’ll adjust ‘er.”


Oddly enough, it developed that this was a true thing he said to me. I learned later that when you drive a car into the Rockies, it takes a couple of days before the engine settles down good and stops feelin’ dizzy. Really. For a while it’s wusser and then it’s bettah.



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