I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a crush on my mechanic, Sayyid. Or at least I would have a crush on him, if he didn’t yell at me every time my car breaks down. It’s like a handcrafted crush mixed with a healthy dose of respectful terror.
About a month ago my car (the indomitable Pukwudgie) had some sort of seizure. I was at a red light, nodding to whatever pop song was playing on the radio, when Pukwudgie suddenly started shaking, and his “check engine” light started flashing accusingly at me.
I was only about a mile from home, so I walked over, gently rubbing his dashboard and muttering, “You can do it, we’re almost there, you’re a really good boy,” until that we arrive safely at my apartment. And then I reached out to Sayyid to let him know that we would be dropping by for a visit in the morning.
As moderately freaked out as I am by Sayyid’s wrath, I’ll say he’s a great mechanic with an unwavering ethic. The first time I brought Pukwudgie, because he was making a strange noise, Sayyid said, “The brake pads are bald! The bearings are corroded! Belts require holy water! and charged me $1800. Six months later, when Pukwudgie had to be towed because her entire electrical system was apparently dead, Sayyid said, “You needed a new wire, so I replaced it. Free. Why should I charge you for a wire transfer? Get out of here.”
I was hoping for another wire situation, but alas, Sayyid was even angrier at me than usual.
“Your car is very badhe bellowed when I called for an update. “Very bad! There is mud! Mud everywhere! And now your car got a heart attack.”
Sayyid went on to describe how the mud clogged a valve and caused the shivering episode, the same way a clogged artery can cause a myocardial infarction. But if anything, it was nice to know I wasn’t the only one anthropomorphizing the vehicle.
“Mr. Forge, I told you a year there are sludge,” he barked. “I told you of them years from!”
“Okay,” I say. “Actually, you warned me about the mud. But you also took every dollar I had to fix brake pads, bearings and belts. I couldn’t afford to deal with mud.
“It’s true,” Sayyid acknowledged.
“So what will be the damage this time?” »
“Eh. Diagnosis and and two oil changes to flush the engine. $200. Your car will be fine. Bring it back in a few weeks for another oil change.
I was concerned about the mood swings, but relieved that the repairs were affordable. And I was even more relieved that Pukwudgie had stopped shivering and seemed to drive well. Until last Saturday, when I left my apartment complex to go to work, and Pukwudgie stopped in the middle of the street.
I managed to get into an alley and Pukwudgie restarted with no problem. But I wasn’t going to take any chances, so I (very slowly and carefully) returned to Sayyid and Ubered at the store.
A friend (who doesn’t have a fun nickname, as I know he would prefer to remain completely anonymous) called me as I was about to open, and his innocuous “Hiya, how are you?” opened the floodgates. I told him everything that was going on with the car, and how I wouldn’t get a verdict on Pukwudgie’s chances of survival until after the weekend.
“How much will the repairs cost? ” He asked.
“It’s a shitty shoot,” I replied. “It could be $200 more, or $3,000. It really depends on the shape of the engine at this point.
“Will you be able to cover it?”
“… Most likely?”
“You know what? Let me cover it.
Although extremely grateful for his generosity, I strongly encouraged him to wait until we knew how much it was going to cost – I didn’t want him to commit and then have to put a kidney on eBay .
But he assured me everything would be fine, and he made me promise to keep him posted. In the meantime, Chase graciously shuttled me around for a few days, so I didn’t have to sell my own sweetbreads to keep booking rides.
Sayyid called first thing Monday morning to let me know that Pukwudgie was ready.
“So he… I mean, this won’t pick up anymore? ” I asked.
“It can stall,” Sayyid said. “There is still mud in the valves, we couldn’t eliminate everything. You have to drive to get oil through the system. But if it stalls, just restart it.
He looked happy for once, which was good, although it could very well be because I was about to put all his kids through college.
“And how much should I…?” »
“With tax? $50.”
I let Sayyid know I’d be there after work, but even before I hung up, my pissed off friend was texting.
“How’s the car?” ” He asked. “How much should I send you?” »
And just then, a voice came up. It was the same voice I used to hear in my drinking days – the one that had once convinced me that bourbon was a nutrient for a complete breakfast.
tell him $500said the voice.
I was in no way willing to take advantage of someone like that. But three days of trying to calm my anxiety had exhausted my defenses.
Sensing weakness, the voice persisted.
He’s good for that. You are broke. It’s not like he would ask to see a receipt. He wants to help. It will be useful. You’re the one doing him a favor, when you think about it.
Hey!” I shouted. “You know what’s stronger than the disembodied mouthpiece of addiction? Oracle cards!”
And I took out my Liminal Spirits bridge and threw a spread.
In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the most rational way to combat the persuasive effects of panic-fueled greed. But neither was I arguing in the back room of a leather store. And anyway, the cards spoke clearly enough that even the voice was like, “Well, fuck it, my bad,” and shut up.
So, Mandrake in the present: could my friend have romantic feelings for me? Perhaps. But Mandrake also says not to take the easy way out or look for shortcuts. Fox walking through the present suggests that I can be witty and charming, but also involves dishonesty – something I would indulge in if I listened to the voice.
Owl in the past shows that I have been in this situation before and made a big decision at that time, which tells me that I have the means to do it now. And Bone in the future just asks a simple question: what do I want my legacy to be?
With all of this in front of me, I picked up my phone, typed in “Fifty Dollars” and hit send. And then fifty dollars landed in one of my cash apps, and I responded with praise, and my friend responded with a kiss face emoji.
I picked up Pukwudgie this morning, and after a few vaguely Taoist last words from Sayyid (“Drive, my friend. Drive.”) I left for work. Pukwudgie immediately started thrashing and sputtering, and he stalled twice. (You know what’s nicer than limping 15 miles an hour through rush hour traffic with your hazard lights on? Nothing.) Panic hit like a head-on collision, and I nearly stopped and called Sayyid to come get me. But then Pukwudgie’s innards roared, and he tipped forward, and everything was suddenly smooth.
Since everyone pretty much accepts Pukwudgie as a living organism at this point, it was like he was burping hard enough to pass a kidney stone. Which was kind of funny, considering that yesterday I told Ben I was going to coordinate a mass Chaos Magic to blast all the gunk out of him.
People in Alcoholics Anonymous will often say, “My disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot,” which means that if they make a mistake or relapse, active alcoholism could easily take over their lives. life – or simply take their life. And the same goes for alcoholic thinking: even if I don’t drink, I still need to be careful and make sure my (currently diminished) desire for immediate gratification isn’t secretly taking over.
I can’t listen to the voice, but I have to listen for this.
In this case, I let the voice get a little too plausible. And while I realistically know I was going to do the right thing, I never want to find myself in another situation where I doubt I’m not scamming my friends. The Liminal Spirits supported me, which was fair to them, but ultimately I need to be able to trust myself to make good choices and not expect anyone (or anyone) else to make the decisions for me.
I don’t joke about the mass work of Chaos Magic, though – I even tried to write a chant to send out to everyone, but ended up whining to Ben about not being able to find a good rhyme for “mud”.
Being much more of a wormer than I am, Ben fired back with the following:
The engine is cleaned,
Outside the mud.
While I continue to work on my own recovery, I will also be moving a motion that all couple-related dilemmas be directed to my boyfriend.
Do you like what you read? You can buy me a coffee about it (all proceeds going to the “Keep Pukwudgie Alive for as Long as Possible” fund).
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