A Morality Tale

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The story I am about to relate has no basis in truth. It is an entirely made up tale. No one in this saga lives on earth. I am quite literally pulling this story out of my ass. Any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.


A long time ago, let's say about six years ago, there was a young woman who was in need of a new car. Her old car, a let's say 1989 Chevy Cavalier, had served her long and well. This car thrived on neglect. It was close, I am told, to 300,000 miles when the clutch finally burned out. This woman also had a child, lets say age 2, at that time. She was starting to worry about behemoth SUV's crushing her and her child in their little Cavalier.

It was decided in this kingdom that a new car was in order for this woman. A bigger car. A brand new car. After all, the man in this kingdom was pimping his Jaguar all over the place, and it was just Wrong for his woman and child to be tooling around in such an unspectacular car.

Now, truth be told, the woman wasn't that interested in the status symbol of the car. For her, they were merely things you drove to and from places. She rarely considered her car, except to fill it up with gas. The man in the kingdom tried, in vain, to get her into a Mercedes SUV - or maybe at least a Volvo. The woman stood fast. She worked at a place where she served families in poverty. It would be unseemly to roll up in a Mercedes SUV. No fancy cars.

The search dragged on. One car, too small and cramped. Another, too big and bulky. One she liked, but wanted a manual transmission. Finally, the man narrowed the choices down to one dealership, with which his family had long and intimate connections.

The woman was brought to test drive the narrowed choices. She was ambivalent. "Whatever", was her general attitude. The man announced he had made a choice. He had chosen the car. "All right", she said.

Now, the woman had always maintained, as previously noted, a fairly laissez-faire attitude about car things. Her jobs entailed specific functions, and these did not include thinking about the car. Ever. This was something that was Not. Her. Job.

Things were pretty good for the first year. Well, maybe not the very first day when she backed the new car into the Cavalier, giving the new car a big dent. The phrase "Can't give you anything nice" may have been spoken. But dents can be repaired.

No, the issue came at about year one of ownership. Upon driving home one night, she heard an odd clicking sound. "Hmmm", she thought, "that sounds different." She mentioned to the man that she heard a clicking noise. He announced he would investigate.

The woman was relaxing on the couch, pondering her existence when the man hauled ass into the house. He seemed distressed. "When was the last time you put oil in the car?", he fumed. The woman turned her rather perplexed face to the man.
"Oil? I don't put oil in the car. That's Not. My. Job.", she replied calmly. "Besides, no indicator light ever came on."

Oh, dear reader. The storm that broke was like none other seen prior to this moment in that kingdom. There were expletives, aplenty. There were accusations. Names may have been called. The woman maintained that oil was not. Her. Job. The man disagreed. Greatly.

The woman came away with the message, however, that she must now keep the car filled with oil - always. She was a little chafed at this, as she still felt that it was not intrinsically Her. Job.

Not a week went by for several months, without some comment being made regarding the checking of the holy oil by the man to the woman. Though the woman is generally a kind and patient creature, this was getting to be a bit fucking much already.

One night she was driving home, and needed to get gas. She knew that the oil question would be asked. Had she checked it? Had she replenished it? Had she made the requisite offerings at the Temple of oil? She grew...Angry. This thought may have crossed her mind.

"I will fill this car with so much fucking oil, I may never have to check it again."

She then may have dumped 4 quarts of some of oil into the car. She may have felt very self satisfied. "Yes, you bossy son of a bitch, I DID check the oil - and there's PLENTY!!!!"

She was not aware of the potential issues which she had just brought down upon her car. Until about two weeks later. The man and the woman and the child were driving home from a trip. The man noticed some smoking from under the hood. He was puzzled. He pulled over and looked under the hood. Nothing seemed terribly amiss. There was some errant oil. It must be burning off.

The woman held her tongue. She did not mention the massive amount of oil which may have been placed into the car. By her. She felt it would all sort itself out.

Alas, the real tragedy did not occur until perhaps year 3, when the woman was driving home on an interstate from a work assignment. Ungodly clanking and noises began to come from under the hood. She called the man on her cell phone and began screaming "CAN YOU HEAR THIS FUCKING NOISE????"

Oh yes. Indeed he could hear it. The woman got back to her office and the car was taken to the dealership. Where it was found that it needed a whole new engine. The engine had mysteriously completely blown. Something about "Sludge" was mentioned.

The woman now knew that she could never, never mentioned the overfilling of oil. She also wrote the check for the 3,000 dollars for the new engine, although she cringed, cause that's some shoes right there. The man raged. He cursed the car gods. He threatened lawsuits to be brought on the corporation who manufactured such a faulty product. But the woman wisely maintained her silence. She knew her own temper had caused this downfall. Hubris, if you will.

From that day on, the man takes the car for oil changes every three thousand miles. Faithfully. Cause it is now known by all that the oil is Not. Her. Job.

22 Baleful Regards:

Mattie said...

Now that he has learned, do you think he can explain it to my husband?

lildb said...

I feel like I've met that man... somewhere... oh! right!! he lives in my house.

thanks for stopping in over at the suite. I hope you don't mind - I drank the whole bottle of wine you left. I promise to return the favor, though. (great vintage, btw.)

roo said...

Perhaps the man could consider the $3000 his payment for finally doing his job?

I think the man should buy the woman some Manolos as a thank you for pulling so much overtime on his behalf.

That woman sounds like my kind of girl.

madge said...

If I faithfully have my oil changed every 3000 miles, doesn't that mean I never have to check the oil?

Doesn't it?

(I went from July 94 to April 95 without ever checking my oil. Indicator light came on and I was summarily whipped by my roommate about auto maintenance. Didn't really work, I guess.)

Marcie said...

I like the moral of that story:)

C.ELLA said...

That was the best story ever!!!!

Andrea said...

Showed him. Heh! Just goes to show that in a battle of wills, the woman will always win. Though I sympathize with the number of shoes tied up in the cost of the new engine.

wordgirl said...

"That's some shoes right there..." Too funny. A cautionary tale of the Aesop variety.

jen said...

oh sweet jesus...

oh crap, that reminds me....

Her Bad Mother said...

Everybody's talkin' t-shirts these days, but hey... doesn't there need to be a NOT MY JOB t-shirt for mothers that includes a checklist of things that mothers cannot be expected to do?

In any case, I'm thinking that I need to put up a NOT MY JOB board in our kitchen so that Husband stops getting confused about my job description. And his.

Mignon said...

All things Car-Related are my job. How the hell did this happen?? Yesterday I tore all the skin off my left hand and poked a hole in my thumb changing two headlights and refilling the wiper fluid in our two cars.
BUT! I never have to pick up dog poop, dig up the dandelions, take out the trash or shave my face. I'm okay with the trade-off.

(And I admit I cringed a little at the part where you put in 4 litres of oil. *shakes head sadly*)

Anonymous said...

Pssst. The man doesn't ever, ever read my blog - he hates the blog. This is still officially under wraps...

Jess Riley said...

This reminded me of the time I took my car in for service when I was around 20 and they freaked that all of my tires had 3 times the air pressure you're supposed to have. The mechanic said, "You're lucky your tires never exploded on the highway!"

I was all, "Who knew?"

Loved the ending. :) Artfully told as well.

Orange said...

I've got a friend whose mom gave her her old car, a little bitty Toyota. My friend, she didn't know jack-squat about car maintenance. She didn't drive the car often, and she never checked, added, or changed the oil, I think. One day, she drove her mom to a far-away mall, and the engine conked out—for good—on a highway ramp. (Mighta been the same clanking and noises The Woman heard in her car.) It was an old car, worth nowhere near as much as what it would cost to fix it. I'll bet The Woman is glad that The Man wasn't in the car when the horrible noises began...

Nancy said...

J kept bugging me to read this post too. I think he wanted to make sure this would NEVER EVER happen in our house. ;-)

I am so glad the oil is not my job. I'd never remember it.

Then again, I am glad that the laundry is not J's job, because I would never have anything to wear.

Mind you, this division of labor is not based upon gender -- it's just based on logistics. All mechanical items: J's job. All stain-removal and care of personal items: my job.

cluelesscarolinagirl said...

This woman monitors the oil in both cars since one happy day in 1994. The phone rang. It was the mortician at the Sports Car Shop. "Your car is toast," she sadly said to The Man. The Man may have forgotten to check or change the oil in his car. The man hangs up sadly. The phone rings again. It's his mom. "YOUR DAD JUST WON A NEW SUV!" she screams excitedly.

kfk said...

THAT'S RIGHT! And, just so it is clear, nor is it her job to wash said car, nor vacuum it, nor wax it, nor fill the tires with air.

But, wow, that must have hurt.

mothergoosemouse said...

OMG Dawn, I laughed until I cried. You are so fucking hilarious.

You're supposed to check the oil? I never do that.

Diana said...

I actually take care of the oil in my car- after an unfortunate incident with my old old old car. There was much screaming and swearing at my house that day too. Now I hound my sister about the oil in her car...where her favorite phrase is:It not my job. (Her boyfriend is a mechanic. Lucky beyotch.

Izzy said...

Thi story is eerily familiar. Did you run into my ex-boyfriend from when I was about 20?

Because he used to love to tell the "she never put oil in her car and blew the engine" story. Buttnugget.

Two of Us said...

Yeah Dawn

savedbythebrew said...

Your blog has brought me lots of laughter today. Love your writing!

 
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