So Easily Entertained, Laments of the 13%, and Country Music IS Noise Pollution

Those of us in the automotive industry aren’t exactly noted for being paragons of virtue, sad to say.

Last night I realized just how easily entertained I can be, and it’s sort of sad.  Jerry has been complaining about the slight vibration in the front end of his truck since the tires were rotated, so I had to follow him over to the dealership last night so their service department can tell him the same things I told him.  1. You have a 4WD truck.  It’s not going to ride like a car. 2. I personally don’t care much for Dunlop tires- at least not the ones Toyota uses as factory equipment tires.  They are OK if you drive the vehicle every day, but we are talking about a 2010 Tacoma with 9,000 miles on it.  When these tires sit, they cup.  When tires cup, you get vibration.  I had to deal with complaints about Dunlop tires (granted these weren’t the same exact model tires) 20 years ago when they were original equipment on Camrys- and the ones who bitched about them always had low mileage cars that would sit for long periods of time.   Most people aren’t fussy enough to even notice a slight vibration like that in a truck, but Jerry is sensitive enough to smell the fart someone just cut up in Moose Dick, Alaska (which is a hell of a long way from beautiful Central Ohio, for those ill-acquainted with geography.)  He notices anything even slightly off with that truck, even if it is well within the realm of normal tolerance.  I pity the service advisor who’s dealing with him.

Maybe I should not take sadistic enjoyment in tormenting car salesmen, especially when buying a new car is about the furthest thing from my mind, but I couldn’t resist wandering the new car lot as I’m waiting for Jerry to drop off his Tacoma with yet another whiny diatribe about the Dunlop tires.  I’m sure he thinks if he whines enough they’ll give him a free set of Bridgestones of his choice, but I highly, highly doubt it.  They’re not a safety issue or even a wear issue.  You have a bit of a vibration at 70 MPH.  Whoop de doo.

Just buy yourself a new set of tires if you are that damned fussy.  I told you to make them swap them out for Bridgestones before you took delivery of the truck…

Anyway, I didn’t even really get a chance to peruse the first two three-door Yarises- other than to glance and keep on walking because they were automatics- on the lot before a thin, sort of ferret-faced salesman starts chasing me down.  That’s what I get for perusing a new car lot on a weeknight.  The first thing I tell him is that I’m just checking out the new cars while I’m waiting on the old man to drop off his truck and that I’m not looking for a new car.  But of course, he persists, so I ask him if they have any (Scion) XDs or 5 door Yarises with manual transmissions.  Mr. Ferret gives me a sort of a weird look and asks, “You aren’t interested in an automatic?”

Ok, so ferrets are cute.  This guy wasn’t, but you get what I mean.

Hell, no, I think to myself, but then I have to wonder how many of the 13% he has actually encountered, and if he has had the rare opportunity to encounter one of the 13% who happens to be female. So I decide to take it easy on him.

“Sorry, but I only drive manual transmissions.  I won’t buy an automatic, which I know sort of narrows down my choices,” I replied, thinking that might make him give up right there.

It must have been a slow night, because the poor guy was running around all over the lot to see if they had any XDs or 5 door Yarises with manual transmissions.  They didn’t, but he did insist on getting my phone number (I gave the home number that I never answer) and e-mail. I don’t entirely want to piss these guys off because I’ve bought my last 4 new cars there.  Even though I pretty much despise car salesmen, I don’t want to be that much of a bitch.  I’m not interested in a new car right now- especially because Toyota isn’t building the Yaris sedan which is what I already have, and am perfectly OK with- anymore.  The XD is intriguing and even though it is a hatchback, that might cross my mind, but good luck finding one of those with 5 on the floor.

Yes, the manual trans is available, but have fun finding one with it!

I hope that I don’t have to resign to driving a farking Volkswagen just so I can get a sedan with a manual transmission the next time I buy a car.  It’s not that I dislike Volkswagen- as far as performance goes there’s no one like the Germans, and VW’s recent models (especially the Jetta and Passat) are interesting- but they are more expensive, and from what I’ve seen in the past, much less reliable than Toyotas.  Who got the farking idea that people who drive manual transmissions only like hatchbacks?   Who got the idea that everyone who likes a manual transmission can afford a European car, even if it does end up being a Volkswagen?  I know it’s hard to cater to the 13%, and I don’t mind that most of the available vehicles are econoboxes, but dammit, there is a market there!

The Jetta GLI could be fun, but I still wonder- how reliable?

I’m not enthralled with buying any car that isn’t made by Toyota, and I’m not buying an automatic anything, even if it means I drive my current Yaris until I drop dead.  So there.

I’m also wondering who around here is getting such a taste for oat opera.  Unless I put my headphones on, I am accosted to a rather foul auditory garbage dump of twangy tunes that make me think I’ve died and gone to redneck hell.  I try to be polite and use headphones if I want to listen to music outside of the privacy of my own car, because I understand that not everyone wants to hear Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” cranked up.  It’s a cool song but sort of gross when you think about it.  I know I have unusual tastes in music and don’t aspire to inflict them on others.   But why do others think I want my auditory channels violated by Conway Twitty or Shania Twain?

Please, please spare me from bad country music- and most of it is IMO, incredibly bad- unless you want me to start playing David Allan Coe.

Stuff I Could Care Less About, The Perennial DD, and a Sober Eye on the Festivities

Ah, the joy of carting the drunk and stupid from one destination to another.  I am so grateful Jerry and his former friend and “drunk and stupid enhancer” Terry had their falling out a couple of years ago. These two guys had the potential to be plenty drunk and stupid by themselves, but get them together and the drunk and stupid and just plain annoying factor increased by a factor of 100.  One night when Terry was staying with us he got incredibly shit-faced, wandered into Steve-o’s room, pulled up the edge of his mattress and proceeded to whiz all over the Christmas presents I had at the end of the bed as well as all over Steve-o and his sheets. I was so pissed I threw Terry out and was rid of him for all of about a month, when Jerry begged me to let him come back over again.  Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to let a “guest” return to your home after pissing all over your kid and your family’s Christmas presents, but what the hey?  When I had to ferry them both back and forth to the campground for Saturday night poker it was occasionally a real nightmare.  One evening they got into a punching match in the car.  Another time, Jerry thought it funny to yank the car out of gear and grab at the steering wheel when he was having a drunk and stupid argument with Terry and Steve-o.   That is not funny at all on the freeway when you’re doing 70 miles an hour.  I do not look forward to shuttling the alcohol impaired, regardless of who is involved. 

Then there is always the potential of the drunk and stupid individual puking in the car.  I remember narrowly avoiding having my 72 Super Beetle spewed in.  Dawne’s sister had been going on with the rot gut whiskey and God only knows what other downers and assorted drugs.  She was notorious for getting drunk and stoned pretty much constantly back then.  I was nice enough to get her a ride home before she ended up getting in a fight, but as we pulled up near Dawne’s apartment, she started to hurl.  Instinctively I reached over her, opened the passenger’s side door from the inside and shoved her out.  Puke smell does not come out of car interiors.  I had to do the same thing to Jerry one night when he got Jagermeister confused with Formula 44.  He narrowly missed spewing all over the inside of my 94 truck.  Of course the Jagermeister Incident should have been more than enough to convince a sane person that drinking to excess is a bad idea, but Jerry isn’t a sane person.

After I had shoved Jerry out of the truck he spewed all over the parking lot and most of the way through the courtyard behind the apartment we lived in at the time.  Somehow I got him up the porch steps and in the door, then he flopped over on the dining room floor, while ranting unintelligibly.  The bathroom of this apartment was upstairs.  The apartment building was built in the late 19th century by German immigrants.  Germans must not have been very tall then, because anyone over 5’9″ would bash their head on the ceiling of the staircase if they failed to duck.  The staircase was also narrow and steep, so much so that the only way to fit a full size bed upstairs would have been to either cut the box spring so it would bend, or to procure two twin-size box springs  and two twin size mattresses and install them on a king size frame.  We put our full size bed in what should have been the living room to avoid this conundrum. 

Anyway, I wanted Jerry upstairs in the spare room (which had a small roll-away bed in it) so he would be close to the bathroom, and so I would be able to try to sleep a little further away from the incoherent moaning, screaming and various noises I knew he would be emitting.  So,  I endeavored to remove his very drunk carcass from the dining room floor and proceeded to more or less drag him up the stairs.  How I got 180# of dead weight up that hideously steep flight of stairs I still wonder, but I do know he ended up with not a little rug burn from the carpet on the stairs.

When Jerry gets to a certain very drunk and very stupid plateau, he doesn’t just pass out like a normal drunk.  That would be too easy.  I got him into the spare room and on to the roll-away bed, only to hear, “Where’sssss my billow, bittcchhhhh?”

I retrieved a pillow from the bed downstairs, opened the door and threw it at his drunk ass and slammed the door.  He had a three day hangover from that little bender. 

I learned my lesson regarding drunk and stupid drinking at age 23.  Waking up in a bathtub full of cold water in a motel room with a half-eaten Domino’s pizza on the ledge has a way of putting one off the liquor.

The New Year’s holiday brings two of my least favorite celebratory activities: drinking (which even if I wanted to, my health really doesn’t permit it) and football, which of course, can be a good babysitter, but it gets old when it seems as if Jerry is going to get bedsores from lounging about in the bed doing nothing but watching football games.  I will find something else to watch or I may take a road trip up to Mom and Dad’s to bring him some beans (gotta love pinto beans and ham) and some pork and kraut.  Perhaps that is not a kind thing to do to senior citizens- bringing them farty food- but I don’t have to stick around long enough to smell it.

I do like the pork and kraut tradition.  I was lucky to find a lovely pork roast (not always easy because there are a lot of people of German ancestry in Central Ohio who do the pork and kraut thing for New Year’s)  so that roast will be wafting its tantalizing aroma throughout my kitchen tomorrow.  The bad thing about pork and kraut is that as far as fart-worthiness, it’s every bit as explosive as pinto beans or White Castles or boiled eggs and beer.

Mmmmm, pork and kraut.  With mashed potatoes and Bean-o.

Next week we return to normal.