And that, friends, is why you need good neighbors.

It started raining yesterday in the early afternoon and didn’t stop all night long. This morning, still raining, the road was nearly impassible even for a capable 4X4. I considered this a good thing, because I have this superstition that cops won’t pull you over just to be pricks at the cost of getting wet, cold and muddy. It’s probably not a very reliable superstition, but I go with what I’ve got. Anyway there wasn’t any trouble so I guess I was right.

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Got to the shop early, because I had arranged to meet D&L there and I wanted to have all the ducks in a row and swimming industriously before they arrived. They did arrive right on time, in a very muddy large Dodge pickup and exclaiming over how they’d barely made it. We did our shopping, they dropped me back off at the shop and headed back to the gulch.

Time passed. As the Jeep came down off the rack I felt my heartrate jump: Ten minutes on the road and I’d leave pavement, home free. But for those ten minutes I’d be vulnerable. I don’t do it often enough to relax about it, and every time I’m convinced there’ll be a flashing light in my rearview.

Time to settle the bill. Did you know that requesting 20 new lug nuts (the Jeep has always had an eclectic collection of lug nuts, requiring multiple wrenches) cost me an extra $50? I was a little shocked at that, but not half so shocked as when I tried to pay up and the guy said, “Oh, I don’t take plastic.”

Why did that surprise me? I really wonder. It shouldn’t have. The guy currently running this shop is, like, me in another ten years. He clearly thought I was dumb as a box of rocks for carrying a debit card around, and I have the feeling I barely escaped a lengthy lecture.

I said, “You know…you probably should have mentioned that when we talked over the job that first time.”

Well, now I was stuck. There I’d been waiting, all worked up, for something to go wrong and it happened before I could even pay my bill. S&L are out of state, J&H moved away, there was only one number I could call and I’d already imposed on them once today. I called D&L.

By wild coincidence they planned to come back into town anyway, having some banking business to do. I explained the problem, and L not only agreed to pick me up but also insisted on writing a check to the shop, letting me square it when we got to the bank. (This proved impossible due to my afore-hinted lack of Government-Approved Photo ID. But I got more than halfway there, and will finish the next time we go to town.)

The dirt hadn’t gotten anything but muddier in the four hours since I last visited, and the Jeep spent a lot of time sideways. I didn’t care: No sooner did I splash down into that goo than I felt my heartrate drop. Anyway I was convoying with D&L, who were slipping and sliding at least as much as I was, and between the two of us and a tow strap we were all going to get home sooner or later. Once out of town, we only had to worry about Ma Nature and she’s not half the bitch the State is.

What’s that? You want to see the new tires that one of you paid the lion’s share of? Sure thing!

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There you go. Purdy, huh? 😉

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to And that, friends, is why you need good neighbors.

  1. Ben says:

    More and more, folks don’t carry cash, and paper checks are on their way to obsolescence too. So if he can’t accept plastic, he could/should have mentioned that important little detail in advance.

    Perhaps you might have shaved a few shekels by purchasing those lug nuts online?

  2. Robert says:

    Joel: Don’t even know you and I’m glad you made it back unscathed.

    Your life is too interesting. For certain values of interesting. No plastic is kinda significant. Jeez.

    Aside: my landlord has a commercial tenant who keeps trying to pay for everything in cash. Nah, that doesn’t raise any alarms…

  3. coloradohermit says:

    Yessiree, they’s purdy.

  4. At least it’s out of the way. I don’t know about out there, but here, in your situation, if you get stopped they take you to jail. I hear it happening on the scanner all the time. Impound your vehicle too. Glad you escaped that. Lots of places here don’t take plastic, it’s cash on the barrel head or local checks. They say they don’t want to pay the percentage to the bank, but it’s really about skimming on the sales tax, state income tax, and federal income tax.

  5. Mark Matis says:

    For all that money, they should at least have given you tires with raised white letters!
    }:-]

  6. MJR says:

    The new tires sure are purdy. As for the cash thing I run into that issue less and less but I always ask ahead because int he past there have been issues. I can sympathize with your feelings about the drive. Yesterday I had to come off a frozen lake at the end of the “Boys politically incorrect ice fishing adventure” and damn near got stuck. The trip from the huts to the road was a little white knuckle adventure in a 2WD with serious snow. One thing I have learned in the past that because I’m in a 2WD I always have a set of chains and a tow strap. Burned once twice shy as they say.

To the stake with the heretic!