Friday, May 19, 2006

Never send this woman to do a man's job.

I love my husband, but I'd rather eat a bucket of sand than go to the car parts store on an errand for him.


What usually happens is this.


First, my husband calls the store and tells them what he wants and that his wife will be picking up the parts, and they say they will set the items aside for me. Then, knowing that I am a complete dunce about cars, he writes down the item names on a piece of paper for me to take to the store. At this point, both of us still foolishly believe this little task will be problem-free. And it is, right up to the point where I enter the store.


There, I am greeted by the teenage clerk who's wearing a shirt monogrammed with the name "Junior," and who says, "Hello, Ma'am, can we help you?" I try not to be irritated at being called "Ma'am," and mentally forgive Junior for being younger than some of my underwear. I tell him my name and that I'm there to pick up some parts that my husband requested via phone 20 minutes ago. Junior digs around in some of the boxes near the cash register, then, with a puzzled look on his face, calls for the store manager. This is when I realize that my little errand is going awry.


The store manager, who's not a day over twenty-three and is named Dwayne, says they don't have any record of having spoken with my husband, but they'll be happy to help me get what I need. I think I'm probably going to need a vicodin before we're done, but they probably don't have any of those in their little parts bins, so dubiously, I read the first item from my list.


Dwayne goes to the computer. This is never good. Right away, Dwayne starts asking me questions. "Is this for a 6 cylinder or 8 cylinder?" I look out the front windows at the car, as if it's going to somehow signal the anwer to me by flashing its headlights in Morse code. Hmmm, knowing that my husband operates on the standard male "more is better" theory, I answer, "Uh, 8. I think."


Then Dwayne and Junior start speaking another language. I think they are discussing various engine parts. Dwayne turns to me and says something that sounds like, "Is there a problem with muffled marinara sauce?" I say, "No, but you can probably find some old french fries under the back seat." Dwayne & Junior both look at me like I've sprouted a second head, and then Dwayne says more clearly, "Is there a problem with the muffler manifold exhaust?" Ah. I smile weakly and look at the car again, hoping it will just start speaking directly to Dwayne and leave me out of the conversation.


Finally, I leave the store with some boxes of parts. I can tell Junior is glad the crazy old lady is leaving, although he will have a good story to tell at study hall tomorrow.


When I get home, my husband looks at the purchases and determines that all of them are for a different make and model of car. I vow to stick to shopping only for groceries, socks, and underwear, none of which require an understanding of anything remotely mechanical.

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