Wednesday, September 20, 2006

not just a pretty face

I'm pooped. I have a deadline to meet, a whole crop of new chauffeuring duties to coordinate and a raft of overdue appointments to nail in addition to the normal, everyday glamour of my life as a basement-dwelling, mess-creating (and then cleaning up) suburban hausfrau. It's definitely the stuff of People and Hello! magazines.

Amidst this pedestrian chaos on Sunday afternoon comes a phone call from Michelle, an old friend (also an artist) who lives in Alberta, to tell me that she and her trophy boyfriend are in Kamloops and will land on us by dinner time. Lucky them: they get to sleep on the lumpy hide-a-bed in my studio that is a permanent resident of this house since the previous owners couldn't get it out the door after they added an addition in 1991.

Michelle seems to generate drama wherever she goes, and though we talk almost weekly she and I hadn't had an uninterrupted block of time together for six years. That night we got to make up for it in hospital as we checked Michelle in with a mystery ailment (Mr Studly was getting his beauty sleep after a large, therapeutic dose of the local brew) and sat up into the wee hours at tiny Delta Hospital getting punchier and punchier. We even got the attending physician to laugh. You could tell that wisecracking patients were definitely a novelty in his world.

The ailment ironed itself out quite quickly and they stayed until late yesterday. We had a really good time in spite of the sleep deprivation. They brought their bikes so the smorgasbord of tourist delights included a fantastic ride along the local nature trails at Burns Bog. Then, when it was time for them to leave, Trophy Guy proved that he was more than merely decorative and bottomless. They dropped me off at the mechanic to pick up my vehicle on their way to the Victoria ferry but TG had a bee in his bonnet about the fact that I was about to shell out $750 for a brake job (front only) when all I'd brought Ruby in for was a replacement bulb for a burned-out tail light. He knows what goes on under the hood whereas I have this huge, blinking target on my forehead that just screams "white-collar, mechanically-ignorant, confrontation-phobic female. Please exploit." When he went storming in ahead of me, Michelle and I decided we'd just sit on the curb/kerb (which is it?) in the sunshine and swap mortified small talk. There was shouting -- then there was a long silence. Eventually TG and the owner came out, thick as thieves, to explain rotors to me and bond over hockey talk. Final bill: $500 for the brake job, tail light, tire rotation, oil, lube and 20-point inspection.

Me: What did you say!?
TG: I told him that we'd been coming to Richmond all the way from Delta for years and it was disgraceful ripping off loyal customers.
Me: We?
TG: Yeah. I'm your husband, see, and though I called you by the wrong last name he didn't seem to be phased by it, even after I forgot your husband's name. [My husband's name was also on the work order as it's in the records.]
Me: So what convinced him?
TG: After I'd pointed out how long it should've taken I told him that I refuse to pay for any of this -- it's coming out of your account and since you're a starving artist it's going to come down heavy on you, and therefore you won't be back again. I also told him we're going on holiday tomorrow.

At this point I shut up and quickly went to pay the bill before the other shoe dropped. My blushing groom insisted on accompanying me and it felt like the longest transaction in history.

Owner: So, where are you going for your vacation? (ka-ching!)
Me: Just over to Vancouver Island.

[And -- just like in a sit-com -- at the exact same moment the old ball-and-chain pipes up with:]
TG: South. You know: some time in Vegas, then we thought we'd head to LA for awhile... just be gypsies for awhile.

And on that note, TG took up shotgun in Michelle's truck, and he rode off into the sunset, beer bottle raised in a farewell salute. Even though the only reason the garage owner lowered the price was the threat of losing my business (after all, I have an old car and am a complete pushover; they've been exploiting me for years and I've been accepting it) it looks like I won't be back. After that departure even our accommodating head mechanic/business owner will be able to put two and two together.


Anonymous kyknoord said...

So you do street theatre as well? When are you coming to visit? We desparately need an injection of new talent here.

20/9/06 10:50 p.m.  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

LOL. Thanks for the laugh. You had a regular sitcom going there.

21/9/06 1:01 a.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

I needed a good laugh this morning.
thanks! gotta luv drama

21/9/06 5:32 a.m.  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

So your love affair with your mechanic is over now? :-)

21/9/06 7:18 a.m.  
Blogger kj said...

tg had it right! what a riot, which you've written about riotiously.

hope you find a one person shop mechanic. with less overhead and more accountability, i've found there's more chance for less ripoff.

ps please describe tg in tone and appearance. what's with sleeping while his girlfriend's at the er? :)

21/9/06 8:09 a.m.  
Blogger Angela Rockett said...

What a great story! TG could hire out as a freelance mechanic negotiator for those of us that lack that particular gene.

Thanks for the laugh. :)

21/9/06 9:11 a.m.  
Blogger Bibi said...

You could have claimed polygamy!

21/9/06 11:02 a.m.  
Blogger Within Without said...

As Andrea's World Turns...

They sound like quite a crew. But...Trophy Guy? As in, like, a Boy Toy who was catchin' z's while M was in hospital?

21/9/06 9:24 p.m.  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

That was just the funny story I needed to hear x

22/9/06 3:14 p.m.  
Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

That was an awesome story..did you notice any background music and if so what was it?

Some stereotypes die hard...
that was a great story....

22/9/06 8:22 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

Oh my gosh, what a great story! I'm sure it wasn't so much fun to be living it though. You're a great storyteller. Maybe it would be fun to really confuse the shop and show up with a different life story each time.

22/9/06 10:45 p.m.  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

i enjoyed this post and wonder if he will read this? The boytoy? Funny!

22/9/06 11:54 p.m.  
Blogger Aaron Paquette said...

So funny! I'm still laughing!

23/9/06 11:03 a.m.  

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