“Dad, did you have your tires rotated like I suggested?”
“No, haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
“If you don’t do it right away you’ll need to replace them in a few months. Les Schwab will rotate them for free if we promise to buy your next tire from them. Let’s go do it now.”
We piled into my RAV and headed to Les Schwab Tires. My dad was a professional mechanic, but I detest car maintenance and never look under the hood of my cars. The universe has decided to laugh at me by giving me a son who lives and breathes automobiles.
We pulled up to Les Schwab and I followed CJ as he strutted through the front door. This was his world and he was right at home. I felt like Sasquatch at Babies-R-Us. “We’re here to get our tires rotated,” CJ said to the fellow behind the counter. CJ reminded me so much of my late dad.
I looked around at the squad of mechanics, clad in overalls and changing tires in numerous stations, the shriek of their hydraulic tools punctuated by loud rock blaring from greasy speakers in the rafters. My nose twitched at the manly smell of rubber and grease, not an unpleasant smell and one I always associated with my dad.
We handed over the RAV’s keys and were directed to a waiting room. My car would be ready in thirty minutes. The windowless waiting area had a coffee pot with paper cups, a dozen plastic chairs and a flat screen TV. Three unshaven mechanics, tattoos peering out from beneath the cuffs of their overalls, were taking a break, swigging coffee while staring intensely at the screen. I managed to contain my laughter. They weren’t watching Top Gear or Pimp My Ride; they were tuned in to the Food Network and watching Barefoot Contessa.
CJ and I sat down and stared at freckle-nosed Ina Garten assembling ridiculously expensive lobster sandwiches for her rich friends in the Hamptons. Mrs. Chatterbox is a big fan of Barefoot Contessa and I must admit I’ve watched her program more times than I care to admit. Thanks to Mrs. Chatterbox, I’ve enjoyed many of Ina’s recipes—even though I think Ina’s quite full of herself, especially with her insistence on using only the finest ingredients, even if it means your kids can’t go to college because you’ve pilfered the college fund for extra, extra, extra virgin olive oil. I mean really, how virgin does olive oil or anything else need to be? My experience has always been that something is either virgin or it ain’t!
As Ina took a break from her immaculate kitchen for a quick trip to her local fishmonger (who she knows by name) to purchase fresh lobster meat (notice that she leaves without paying) I studied the mechanics whose eyes were riveted to the TV. They hardly looked like the type to watch the Food Network and I could only suppose the TV was broken and only received this channel.
I realized I was wrong when a mechanic with a skull and crossbones tattooed on his neck said, “You want that lobster to be fresh. It’s shit if it ain’t fresh.”
“How many tires you think we need to sell to pay for all that lobster? That stuff don’t come cheap,” said a dude with grease smeared on his forehead.
The third mechanic must have already seen this episode. He pulled a toothpick from his mouth and barked. “Shut the f*ck up. This is where she makes the aioli.”
“Aioli?” asked Skull & Crossbones.
“Yeah, fancy homemade mayonnaise. Steps up the flavor. Damn, that looks good.”
During a commercial break, three stomachs growl beneath overalls with as much harmony as The Three Tenors.
“What are we havin’ for lunch today?” the dude with the grease streak wondered out loud.
“We sure as hell ain’t having lobster sandwiches,” growled Toothpick.
Skull & Crossbones checked his watch and announced, “Break’s over. Back to work.”
“Hey, I got here late,” said Grease Streak. “I still got a few minutes left.”
Moments later only one mechanic remained, but another soon appeared, fingers darkened with grease. He nodded at me and CJ, dropped into a plastic chair and said to no one in particular, “Did I miss the part where she adds the truffle shavings to the aioli?”
On screen Ina reached for a three hundred dollar truffle. The mechanic who’d just arrived smiled and let out a sigh….
Blogger friends: I’ll be away from my computer for a few days. Mrs. Chatterbox and I are taking a trip to the southern Oregon coast. I hope everyone has a great week.