I’ve been having trouble with my car lately. Significant trouble. So much trouble that I’ve had to take it to the mechanic 5 times in the last 3 months. In total, these visits have cost in excess of $3,000, the last of which was a real butt-fuck, sucking $2070 out of my back pocket like an overweight 10 year-old that can’t wait until his Calippo Frost has melted sufficiently to enjoy it properly. I bought the car in 2006 for $4,000, and it wouldn’t even be worth $1000 to sell right now. It’s been good to me for most of that time, but since I relocated to Melbourne I’ve been using it to commute to work and some obvious cracks have appeared in its once-hardy façade.

The thought of wrecking my Honda ‘Concerto’ (named after a type of music where a single instrument is accompanied by an orchestra – could you think of a lamer name?) did cross my mind. After all, at the time I made the call to get it fixed, I was staring down the barrel of spending 200% more than what the car was worth just to keep it on the road. It was a line-ball decision for a moment…

Then I thought about the amount of money I’d have to spend on a suitable replacement, the types of humans (I hazard to call them people, as used car salesmen only wear gaudy poorly-made suits to cover up the prominent scales on their backs) that I’d most likely have to deal with to obtain a new vehicle and lastly, the thought of putting myself into debt for one of the worst investments imaginable, a rapidly depreciating asset.

My mind was made up. The Honda rides once more! I’m kind of glad because I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences involving the Concerto, like that time I was woken at an ungodly hour by a police officer rapping his baton on the car window while I slept soundly across the road from Mykonos, a late night take-away shop in Sandy Bay.  He’d had calls from frightened residents, legitimately worried that I was dead. (I’m a pretty deep sleeper). It probably looked pretty suss, considering my foot was dangling out the bottom of the open driver’s-side door onto the road. (Did I say I was a deep sleeper?)

There’s also the time I broke the Launceston to Hobart land speed record at 4 in the morning after Festivale…

I don’t mind so much having to pay a mechanic to fix my car when something goes wrong. Part-and-parcel of owning a vehicle is the occasional need to cough up some of your hard-earned in order to keep it on the road. I do, however, take certain exception to the way in which mechanics (in general) interact with customers. I mean, I’m no Henry Ford, but I understand the principles of the internal combustion engine (having done a significant amount of reading on motorcycle engines for an old bike I’ve still got in pieces in Devonport).

Notwithstanding my protestations, he spoke to me like I was a mentally-challenged 2 year old. It must give a great sense of satisfaction to mechanics to not only speak in a vaguely patronising way to their customers, but to do so knowing that they’ve also gauged them for every possible available cent to get their vehicle into working order. It’s as if all of them have spent some serious time in an Economics classroom learning about Price Discrimination, because I guarantee you 100% that they will extract every dollar you’ve got before that car is on the road again.

One thing’s for sure; if this car has any issues in the next 12 months, I’m going to lodge it at high-speed into the façade (yes, I used façade twice in one post, give me a fucking medal, now!) of their shopfront like a quivering arrow. It’s a shame the Concerto doesn’t have keyless entry, because it’d be much more Hollywood if I remotely locked the doors as I walked off…

/end communication

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