August 11th, 2009

Let’s just imagine me going out to the parking lot at lunchtime. I open up a sedan sized door and the humidity ruins my hair as I slip into the broiler also known as my car. You remember? The car whose air conditioner works perfectly?

I start the car and turn on said air conditioner and color me shocked: it only blows hot air!

I run my errands and upon returning to the office I make a rather pointed call to the dealership and advise the service manager of these startling developments in “As the Hot Air Burns.”

He is excited. “Can you bring it right now? Don’t turn it off. Whatever you do: Don’t. Turn. It. Off.”

Seriously? This guy needs to take a pill. I explain that “Hello? I have a day job.” And after I finish Spinning at the gym this evening, I’ll bring it by around 7:30.

This dealership is open for service until 9pm. Surely between 7:30 and 9pm they can manage to insinuate I don’t know how the heck to operate my A/C in plenty of time for me to be curled up on my comfy couch, cavorting with my spoiled-rotten cats watching my favorite AC: AC360.

After pinkie-swearing that I’ll. Not. Turn. It. Off. I go about my afternoon.

Taking into account that I burn 700+ calories every time I Spin, I tuck a Kashi Bar into my gym bag to tide me over while I wile away an hour or so (or so I think) at the car dealership. I also pack one of my favorite author’s books: Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster.

As instructed, I Do. Not. Turn. Off. The. Engine. when I reach the dealership and I am greeted by my service manager: Mark. He makes a call into one of those ridiculous Nextel Walkie-Talkie things which squawks so loud that I jump while he is barking for some guy named “Paulie” and using language like “Stat” and “before the echo dies.”

I am directed to the customer lounge where I lounge. And lounge. And start to chill and sweat from my dropping blood sugar because really? 150 calories worth of a Kashi bar isn’t enough to compensate for the calorie burn at the gym.

I hear someone else “lounging” complain it is after 9pm and I know my nightly date with Anderson Cooper is slipping away from me.

Around 9:30 I hear my name blared across the loud speaker. “See Mark in the service area. Stat.”

Stat? Perhaps I should have delivered that order when I handed over my keys.

As Mark is profusely thanking me for bringing in the car when the problem was actually happening I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise. Have you ever had a service person act like you’ve just agreed to donate a kidney to them when you’re picking up your vehicle? I smell trouble.

While he’s explaining things that only a mechanical engineer can follow I hold my breath and grip the marble counter top of the service desk. He’s spouting terms like: Evaporator, Condenser, clogged up thing-a-ma-jig. Evaporator and Condenser? Aren’t these types of milk? Mmmmm. Sounds like the fudge recipe my mom used to make.

When he hits me with the price tag for the repairs, I realize how they are paying for the two inch thick black marble counter tops beneath my fingers: $1267.00

Needless to say, I drove home with the windows open.

“Wow,” Mr. J said when I called him with an update. “That’s pretty steep for something they couldn’t even find two days ago.”

Ya think?

“So what are you going to do?” my darling husband asks.

“Drive around like white trash with my 255 air conditioning,” I respond immediately. (Note: in case you don’t spring from white trash: 255 air conditioning = 2 windows rolled down, going 55 mph on the highway)

“Maybe you should consider getting a new car,” he says.

In this economy? Surely Suzie Orman would not approve a new car purchase.

After I stop laughing at him Mr. J says, “No matter what, I love you.”

“I’d rather have a check for $30,000,” I say.

He chuckles but I hear in the ensuing silence that he is waiting for me to recant.

Sigh. “Just kidding, honey.”

But I’m not. Tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest day on record for 2009 to date.

I really need that check.