Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Catcalls and car repair

My car has been making a horrible screeching noise at stop signs for at least a month now. While in theory I've known that it needed new brake pads, in practice I've been dutifully ignoring said noises, because paying attention to them would mean that my car needed a mechanic, and mechanics are bottomless black holes of money suckage.

The Pit is a much more proactive sort though, and he made me promise to take my car in this week. I dutifully looked on Yelp yesterday, and found a mechanic with a 5-star rating about a mile and a half from our house. I took my car to him this afternoon, and I must say, I think the Yelpers were right. This guy confirmed my guess about the brake pads, and then (of course) found several other things wrong with the car. HOWEVER, instead of stressing how important these various issues were, he told me that when they got really bad, the car would make a clicking noise. Until that happened, I could drive worry free and keep my money in my bank account instead of in his. I was quite pleased with this news, although I'm sure that The Pit will find this honest and generous behavior suspicious in some way.

The upshot of the whole story though, is that they need to keep my car overnight until the right parts are delivered, and instead of taking the very nice mechanic up on his offer of a ride home in their van, I decided to get some exercise and walk. Now, although just a hop, skip, and a jump from our apartment as the crow flies, the mechanic's shop is actually fairly far removed from our house as a girl walks, due to an inconvenient freeway situated in between. My meanderings thus took me through a more...shall we say working class...area than I am used to. A working class area with lots of men variously outfitted in either jumpsuits or hard hats, sitting on the sidewalks eating lunch.

Being no fool, I was wearing a rather conservative outfit and studiously avoiding making any sort of eye contact. In fact, I was wearing the exact same outfit I wore for walking on Mt. Diablo the day The Pit and I got engaged. Witness:

Take particular notice of the baggy t-shirt, non-revealing capri pants, and orange walking shoes. Also note that I did not daintily point my toes as I walked, and thus the attractive state of my ankles was probably not noticeable. However, for reasons known only to Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy, blue collar workers having lunch invariably act as if they haven't seen a woman in years, no matter what the state of her wardrobe and/or cankles. Well, like they haven't seen a woman in years, and want to make the only one in the vicinity run screaming from the area.

What I'm trying to say is, I was the recipient of a variety of catcalls, in both English and Spanish. The most comprehensible and least threatening of these took the form of wolf whistles and honks from passing vehicles, as well as a "Daaaaaamn girl!" from a dude walking across the street from me. A little obnoxious and uncomfortable, sure, but if one just takes these in the proper complimentary spirit, they aren't so bad. Almost warm and fuzzy. Probably less warm and fuzzy were the various Spanish phrases that came my way, which made me glad I don't speak the language.

These made me recall a very amusing story from my friend Nikole (hi Nikole!) about the best come-on she got in a similar situation. A man in a passing car, yelling "Hey baby, what's your nummmmber???" as he drove past without stopping. Sadly, nothing quite so useless and funny was screamed my way, but there's always hope for tomorrow, when I need to walk over to pick up the car again.

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