Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Men, Mom and Mechanics, Part 2

You have to read Part 1 (below) first or this will make no sense. Where was I?

Random Drunk Guy had been at his friend T's apartment, but T had a girl in the apartment, and he felt weird hanging around. So Random Drunk Guy left T's apartment and was waiting for his ride to pick him up. That's when I found him. We talked for about a half hour. He was pretty entertaining and an easy target, so I began to tease him and give him a hard time. I can't remember how we got to the subject, but I made a joke about how he should take me out to breakfast. And he took me up on the offer.

(Sometimes I have my crazy, spontaneous moments. This was one of them. What can I say? It was a cute guy and I had no plans and couldn't go anywhere, thanks to my stupid car. I'm good with picking up on creepy vibes, and I wasn't getting any bad gut feelings. And Sammy liked him. So I went with it. I don't normally do this, I swear. But sometimes you gotta live a little. I am not in any way condoning this type of irresponsible behavior. Don't try this at home. Now that I am typing out this story, I can't believe I did this. The Czarina would shoot me.)

I said, "But how do I know you aren't some crazy psycho guy?" and he assured me he wasn't. T came outside at one point to get something out of his car and talked to us for a minute and also assured me I was in no danger. No creepy vibes from T, either. T encouraged me to go to breakfast. I mentally noted the apartment location and license plate of T, just in case. Then I realized RDG was too drunk and half-asleep to do anything anyway. "Yeah, I don't think you could do too much damage right now," I ribbed. To make me feel better, he gave me his driver's license as collateral.

I got ready really quickly and his roommate picked us up and took us to their house so we could drive his car. His roommate, Coffee Guy, was a real sweetheart. They gave me the tour, which included a backyard pool and two adorable doggies. His house is really really cool-- early 20th century, big windows, hardwood floors, high ceilings, old neighborhood. They invited me and K to hang out at their pool that afternoon. Since I hung out there for about an hour, RDG had sobered up a little, and we hit the road.

So I went to breakfast with him. And we had a great time! Well, as good of a time as you can have with a guy who reeked of alcohol and was still kinda drunk at 10am on a Sunday morning. Definitely some flirting going on! He told me about his ex, who was trying to get back together with him, yet was causing all this drama because she was upset about the girl he rebounded with. Apparently the two girls ran into each other the night before, and there was a scene. That's when he left and started drinking at T's place.

I can't believe I am admitting this story. I'm sure I will get a lot of "OMG, VB, you could've been killed!" comments. Even if I were you, I'd be lecturing me: "VB, this is how girls end up dead in ditches!" But it's a great story, I promise! When I get this vibe, it is always a good thing! My spontaneous ideas are all great! (Well, except that one time in Charlotte...remind me to tell you that story...)

He really wanted me and K to hang out with him at his pool that afternoon. I called K and explained what was going on and gave her the RDG's real name and address--see? I am sorta safe. K thought I was nuts, until I informed her that RDG was hot, and then she got it. K was busy with friends, so I told him it would be just me. He waited in my living room while I got ready. When I came back out, he was passed out on my couch. He slept there all afternoon. Which was fine with me. I didn't have anything to do, and I couldn't go anywhere, so I popped in a movie and then watched some TV while Sammy and I also napped.

Around 5pm he woke up and left. But not before he got my number. Yessss!

I don't know if he will call, but we will see. At the very least, I got a free breakfast.

A couple hours later, K came home and I filled her in on the details. She was excited for me. Then we went out with some of her friends for dinner at Yesterday's. (Extremely yummy food, btw.) Who do we see when we are there???

RDG and his roommate, Coffee Guy.

Crazy. I grabbed K and we went over to say hi. Everyone was introduced. After the obligatory "Stop stalking me!" jokes, they invited us to join them, but instead she and I said goodbye and sat back down with our group. We didn't want to be rude.

Yesterday morning I had my car jumped and took it in to be fixed. It turns out it was the battery. So they replaced that. For $150! It sounds high, I know, but I didn't really have a choice--it's not like I could take my car somewhere else--it was dead. It is a factory part, so it's going to be more expensive, but has a better guarantee than regular batteries. Oh well. Then they found a problem with my car--my plenum gasket needed to be replaced. Or else I would be stranded on the highway soon. It was leaking coolant (I had noticed it was kind of low), which could seep into my pistons, essentially locking my engine. Replacing it costs $400. So, with taxes included, I paid $602 when it was all said and done. Ouch. I hate my stupid car. But thank God for credit cards, right? I guess it's still cheaper than having a car payment.

So I'm driving away, and I'm thinking, "Gosh, someone working on my car must have gotten gasoline on their coveralls because it reeks of gas in here!" And the next thing I know, there are all these people running out of the office, yelling at me, telling me to stop my car and turn it off immediatly. Eeek!

My car was gushing gas everywhere. I had no idea! I could have been blown to smithereens! What a brush with Death! I just thought it was some stinky mechanic, but apparently, the part they replaced was a faulty part and it had broken, which allowed the gas to gush out. So they needed my car back to fix that part, free of charge. Finally I picked up my car after work.

As expensive as it was, I'm glad they found the coolant leak, because I am going to Virginia Beach this weekend to visit Fat Dog, and now I know my car will make it there! Sammy, K and I won't be on the side of I-95 on Friday. I can sleep well knowing this.

So I was talking to The Czarina about all my car issues yesterday. She was sympathetic and relieved they found the coolant leak. Then, since she had me on the phone, she took the opportunity to nag me about switching careers and/or going back to school. It's not that I don't want to switch or go back to school, I just haven't decided what direction I want to take. And everything I'm looking at would be a pay cut, so I am dragging my feet a little.

This conversation segued into her complaining that none of her children are following in WLF's footsteps career-wise and how we are all big disappointments. You see, my dad was a writer and a professor, and he was somewhat nationally recognized. He has all these books in our basement--about a 20,000 volume library. No, I am not exaggerating. And none of us are interested in the same career path that WLF had. So none of us want his books or papers, let alone his Rolodex of connections. This has been a point of contention over the years between the parents and the kids in our family. And it always leaves me with a big guilt trip, because my father really made a name for himself and we all have the potential to advance the work he has already done, and all his collegues are looking at us, wondering who will be next, yet none of us are choosing to do it.

As the oldest child, I have a tendency to feel the most guilt for not doing everything my parents want me to do. My brothers can blow it off, but I get really upset about it. So I got off the phone feeling like a huge disappointment, and I was crying because I really miss my dad, and I always hated letting him down. Now that he's not around any more, the only thing I can do for him is to make him proud, so why can't I just suck it up and follow in his footsteps to make him happy? He would have wanted one of us to do it. Why not me? And why aren't my brothers stepping up to the plate?? I feel like I am the only one dealing with any of this guilt. I know they aren't upset about this at all.

The thing is, Fungus is the most interested in WLF's field and up until recently, he was being primed to carry on the family legacy. I say "primed" but really I mean "pressured". You see, this is part of the problem. My parents only encouraged us to follow in WLF's footsteps--every other career was deemed pathetic, stupid or beneath us. So we all grew up feeling this immense pressure to be Poli Sci professors. And this strategy basically blew up in our parents' faces, because none of us are into this idea--we are stubborn and don't like being told what to be when we grow up. (So please, take it from me, don't pressure your kids into any one career path.)

At the time I called to talk about my car, Czarina was upset that her plan isn't panning out. Lately, Fungus is showing signs that he isn't going to ever be like Dad. Apparently he has been partying like a rock star, behaving immaturely and hasn't been the best son to Czarina, and she was upset and venting to me. And of course, I felt responsible and guilty because I am the oldest child who is supposed to be the "good" kid.

I just wanted to talk about my car problems, but we ended up discussing what terrible children we all are. So in addition to the burden of my $602 car bill, I also got a big fat guilt trip from Mom.

Thank goodness I am leaving early on Friday! Fat Dog will make me feel better. He is a good shoulder to cry on about Czarina.


sassafras said...

Maybe I am crazy too, but I don't see anything wrong with having breakfast with RDG. Gut feelings are very important and the situation was quite tame.
I HATE feeling like I am letting my parents down. I'm sorry about the conversation with Czarina. Ultimately she wants you to be happy and it doesn't sound like going down this career path will accomplish that. Maybe she's just still sad about WLF? You need to do what's right for you. Eventually she will see that too.

Gypsy said...

Back in my single days I'm sure I would have done the same thing. ;)

As for the other, parental pressure is the worst. *sigh*

CharlestonGuy said...

You got ripped off.

You can buy a car battery at any AutoZone or Advanced Auto for $75 or less. Usually free installation (they are EASY to install). Most batteries have a 5+ year warranty w/free replacement if it fails before then.

Also, I looked up "plenum gasket" on AutoZone's website. They cost about $12.99. The labor on an installation should have been less than $150. I'd be suprised if it were even that much.

I had my WHOLE radiator replaced for about $600 including parts and labor, and that is some major surgery compared to what you had done.

That mechanic/dealership screwed you like a drunken prom date, video taped it, and copied it for their friends. Not to mention they almost killed you.

Next time take a guy with you!

Vixen said...

Honey---you really did take good precautions. Back in my single years I did actually worse than that (ended up at a strangers apartment a few times) and lived to tell about it.

Vixen said...

PS: i feel u on the whole guilt trip thing. I suffer from first born syndrome too, and just had this same convo with my parents on Sunday. Ack!

cmk said...

Parents can really screw you up with the whole guilt thing--it took me MANY, MANY years to get over it. That is why I don't say much to my girls--don't want them to feel about me the way I feel about my mother. Hang in there--it gets better if you let it.

stella said...

I for one, love the RDG story! I hope he calls.

Red said...

I've done the strange guy thing too.. Even one that lived in the middle of nowhere.

Glad you had fun..

As far as your mom, I'm sure deep down she just wants you to be happy. Either way, you can't live your life for someone else, parent or otherwise...

Random Musings Of My Life said...

Wow that was winded..lol
I am glad you and your car are OK thought, how scary!!

tall glass of vino said...

I've been taken on car repairs too - replacing a perfectly good timing belt = $600.

NOW I know to tell the mechanics to call me before any work is done, to provide me an estimate with parts listed (I too research the purchase value of the part) and ask them to describe the process of the labor involved. If it seems reasonable (and hopefully confirmable with someone in my office) I authorize the work with the added note that any parts removed are to be retained for me to see when I pick up the car.

That gas leak story is horrible - I'd raise a damn stink and have them do a full detailing on the car in addition to the REPAIRED repair. Threaten to tell your whole story to NPR's Car Guys, too. Make 'em sweat.

Virginia Belle said...

sassafras--craziness loves company! thanks for the support in the czarina dept. i hope she realizes that, too.

gypsy--apparently, i am in good company with this post!

CG-- here's the thing. i DID go to AutoZone and those dummies told me that my battery was fine. and they wouldn't have even noticed the plenum gasket thingie. i didn't really have a choice--my car wouldn't start and i didn't have time to shop around since i'm going out of town this weekend. so i was kinda cornered. but everything is guaranteed, and the parts are GM parts, which does make me sleep a little better. and unlike your girlfriend, i don't have the option of taking a guy with me. must be nice for those girls who not only have great boyfriends, but also get to save money on their car repairs. until then, i will be the single broke girl.

vixen-- you make me feel better. thanks! and i'm sorry you had to have this same conversation w/your parents. it sucks!!!!

cmk-- one day, your girls will appreciate it. they should thank you.

stella--thanks! me too!

red-- middle of nowhere??? ok, you have me beat. that would make me nervous. but yeah, it was fun. and i know in my head that i can't live my life for someone else, but i was soooo close to my dad, i can't help but feel like i am letting him down on a daily basis. and i just really didn't need a reminder from Czarina.

random-- yeah, sorry about the long post. it was scary! someone up there loves me!

TGOV-- yeah, that's probably what i should do. but i go nuts when i can't drive my car, so i'm in a hurry. i just want the problem to go away, so i just pay whatever it takes to get my car back ASAP. my dad always told me to go to a dealership when you fix your car. so i am just taking his advice. and i don't really feel comfortable raising a stink when i don't have any idea what the hell i am talking about. i tried to raise a stink once at another place, and they completely shut me down. i couldn't convince them of anything because they totally showed me up and exposed the fact that i'm just a girl who doesn't know squat about cars. i guess i don't have any confidence in this dept.

Matilda Jane said...

The rumors are true... you should have a man or knowledgeable woman with you when dealing with mechanics. I got ripped off big time when I hit a curb and blew a tire. I ended up paying something like $500 for two new tires, alignment... and probably some other crap they made up.
I didn't care because I was missing work and just needed my car back. Let me know if there's a class on fixing cars at midlands and we'll take it together!

About the random experience. Girl... random is the spice of life!

Andy said...

I have good feelings about this RDG!! I hope things go far :) . "plenum gasket" who the heck comes up with these names?

Anne said...

I like RDG and I really like that story. Great story. (except for the gas-y car and the moom biz..that sucked).

I cant wait to hear more about him..

CharlestonGuy said...

Matilda jane just hit the nail on the head "...$500 on some other crap they made up". If there was ever a time you SHOULD have called Repo that was it. Mechanics see a young girl come in with a nice car they see $$$$$$$'s. Don't let them take advantage of you! I would have walked home before I let those douche nozzles charge me $150 for a battery. Don't ever go back to them. Ever.

And about the random guy thing - you are a SKANK! Haha - just joking. I go to random guy's houses all the time. Have fun and use condoms!

Virginia Belle said...

MJ-- ok, well, what guy do i have in my life that will take a morning off work to go with me to the dealership when i discuss prices and repairs with these guys???? there is nothing i can do. i'm S.O.L. unless i get a great boyfriend. and apparently that isn't going to happen anytime soon. i think there is a car repair class...maybe we can take it in the spring...

i couldn't agree w/you more about random being the spice of life!!!

andy-- thanks! me too, but so far he hasn't called. oh well. free breakfasts are nice! and yeah, what is up with that term??

anne-- glad you liked my story. yeah, the car/mom part does suck. oh well. it's all part of life. i doubt you will be hearing any more about RDG-- he hasn't called.

CG-- ok, enough with the lectures. it's just that when it happens, i am always in a situation where i can't afford to wait around or shop around. it's not like i have a 2nd car i can use! i probably am being a big pussy, though...

and yeah, you know i have an "inner skank"--so i let her come out to play every so often....although, playtime might be over, since RDG hasn't called. and i don't need condoms!!!! good grief, what do you think i am? a REAL skank? :)

The Dummy said...

I think it's great you went out there and took a chance with RDG; he's hot, so have some fun with it! Just watch out for the "D" part of his name though - it could play a bigger role in the future.