Good to Go; or, Excursus, Oiled Again!
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
I take the car in for another oil change, the usual place, Route 9, and sit around in the waiting room suffering once again the big screen TV blaring unfathomable infomercials—“You can send your home in a whole new direction!” Not knowing what this means I almost consider going for it but instead am sent in a whole ‘nother direction by my “car care specialist” delivering the news: “Your oil change went fine, but your right rear axle seal is leaking. It’ll take an extra four hundred dollars to fix that but then you’ll be good to go!” Not to mention two more hours in this waiting room I’m always confusing with the one at the hospital, so I say go ahead do it but I’m outta here for now, call me when it’s done.
I exit and make my subzero way through the mean—and by mean I mean middling—streets and stripways of anyhow your town down a furious thoroughfare toward a Starbucks a mile distant, passing Wet Willy’s Car Wash and a place called Vapor Outlet, then a paint center, muffler joint, meat market, prom dress slash wedding boutique (“Thoughts and Best Wishes”), Smokers Paradise, Tartarus Medical Supplies, Dunkin Donuts and more such places too many to name because you’ve already suffered enough, I know, O this America! This terrain vague!
I arrive at Starbucks and sip coffee in a window seat lookout and watch in the sky the edge of another winter storm slide along the visible horizon—who knows how true any of this is?—just missing us once again. Out there in the parking lot no snow on the ground just myriad white splotches of dried salt or perhaps traces of a murmuration of diarrhetic starlings. Inside in caffeinated circumstances of smiling baristas who are way too happy they’re back to serving “slow-cooked sandwiches, they’re awesome!” versus that other thing left unnamed that formerly they had been serving (no idea what any of this is referring to), I am surrounded by real estate agents plotting their next deeds and people gazing intently at their devices. Next table over some college kids, perhaps aspiring poets, reading to each other from their phones, one says” “Carrie Fisher’s ashes are in an urn shaped like a Prozac pill”, the other: “There’s an airport in Japan where a robot serves you free beer.” I break out my copy of Wordsworth and start reading.
Hours pass and the call comes at last—the work is done. I pack up the book and go, making my solitary way back to the dealership along an austere lane lined with overfilled dumpsters behind nursing homes, tanning booths, and nail salons. I arrive shivering at the dealership and my smiling car care specialist hands me the keys and says: “You’re good to go!”