I'm the boss, not my oil-change-craving car
- Dawn Dumont | January 11, 2020
I am a good driver. My mom was a school bus driver and taught all of her kids to drive using a teaching technique that can only be described as angry screaming. It’s really effective.
My mom taught me how to drive and so you might assume that my dad taught me how to look after cars. And he did. His advice was to lease cars and then get a new one before something broke.
Leasing cars, however, is anathema to my thrifty personality. To me it makes more sense to buy used, except when you buy used – you’re supposed to look after the car. This is the part that always gets me. Because I am not mechanically inclined.
I’ve tried to fix things. When my car wouldn’t start one time, I googled my vehicle make and model and I watched YouTube videos about how to fix it. Then I went outside and tried to employ the techniques I had seen. Within twenty minutes, I had gotten the keys stuck in the ignition, broke the hood so that it no longer closed and lost a pair of scissors in the motor. Never did find those scissors.
I had to get an oil change recently because my car said I had to. It had been saying this for a couple weeks but I ignored it because my car does not call the shots, I do.
Except that the day that I was ready - every oil change place I went to had long lines. I guess oil changes, like menstrual periods, sync up. And every damned car in Saskatoon was on its period that day.
I drove up to one place and an incredibly handsome young man greeted me (the Great Canadian Oil Change tends to hire only young men who look like Abercrombie and Fitch models. And I, for one, hope they never stop this discriminatory practise!). He assured me that it was only a “45-minute wait.” I know three quarters of an hour doesn’t seem like a long time when you’re 22 and have perfect hair and skin – but it’s a long time when you’re a working person and have hair that is as frazzled as Trump Whitehouse staffers.
So, I didn’t get my oil changed but I thought I would top up the oil and so I stopped at a Native gas station. One of the attendants, an older guy, checked the oil then he came to my window with an incredulous look on his face. “You have zero oil.”
“Get out of here.”
“There is nothing - look!” He shows me the dipstick. (Why do men show us dipsticks - we really don’t want to look at them. Also, what am I supposed to be looking at? The dipstick is black, oil is black – I’m supposed to be looking for something slightly blacker? Why can’t oil be red or white? Or make the dipstick yellow? This is why more women need to design cars. I want a pink dipstick.)
Then the attendant called another attendant over and showed him. Together they marvelled at my stupidity.
They poured in two things of oil and then I asked – ever the cheapskate – “Okay so if I get an oil change now? Do I lose all that oil?”
Again, the older attendant gives me incredulous look: “Why don't you get an oil change?”
Sheepishly I replied, “Well, there were a lot of people and lineups and I hate people and so...”
The older guy just shook his head and the younger guy told me about how he is learning to do oil changes which sort of has nothing to do with how bad I am at cars but I guess is a move.
The important thing is, the car is still running and now it knows that it is not the boss of me.