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2005-05-28 @ 8:37 p.m.
amazing feats of inspectical treachery

Ok, I know I'm special, but today it was confirmed. A cowboy with a gee-tar, standing out in front of a small discount store with a small amp, stopped singing when I walked by him and said "howdy!" Now the fact that I live near Canada and I see cowboys about as often as I see kangaroos, and also the fact that, well, there was even a cowboy playing a gee-tar out in front of "Big Lots" to see and that it was raining out and nobody was listening to him and he kinda looked like Roy Orbison would currently look, like kinda dead, and he had black hair and cowboy boots. And he, in fact, had his foot resting up on his amp, which is why I kinda noticed his boots, which had silver tips on the toes, which I guess is pretty cool if you're a cowboy strumming a gee-tar out in front of "Big Lots". But I couldn't help but wonder who booked his gig.

Phone rings. Cowboy Bob, puts down his tin of tobacca and gets up off his cowhide couch in his trailer and turns down "Austin City Limits".

Slick Agent Jim: "Cowboy Bob? How are the wife and kids?"

Cowboy Bob: "You know that Bobby Sue ran off with that gosh dern NASCAR driver...."

Slick Agent Jim: "Bygones Bobby. Say, I got a great gig for you today. This could be the one that finally gets you that recording contract, you've be pursuing since 1972. Are you game?"

Cowboy Bob: (enthusiastically) "Am I."

Slick Agent Jim: "Are you?"

Cowboy Bob: (suddenly feeling insecure) "Am I?? I'm asking you...."

Slick Agent Jim: "Are you still on the sauce, Bobby? You're sounding a little unsure of yourself..."

Cowboy Bob: "I'm good. Where is it?"

Slick Agent Jim: "Big Lots Parking Lot...."

Cowboy Bob: "You fucking lowlife....You said no more store parking lots.

Slick Agent Jim: "Just remember to say hi to all the women. Even the fat ones...(click)

I was feeling pretty good anways when I walked into Big Lots. Big Lots is a little better than K-Mart, but not as well stocked as Walmart. I had just gotten my inspection sticker for my car. My first legal sticker in about 6 years! I was actually pretty ecstatic, because you see, I've been getting illegal stickers for about a half a dozen years.

The last time I attempted to get a real inspection sticker at Midas Muffler, they had scraped it off, looked under the hood of my piece of shit car and THEN determined that I needed almost $400 worth of work done. And then when I blanched and started crying, telling them that I didn't have that kind of money (and I was even employed full time then), nor did I have a credit card they just kind of tsked tsked my misfortune and said, because the sticker had been scraped off, I was not allowed to drive my car off the premises. In other words, I was being held for ransom by some unscrupulous assholes who were going to take advantage of a woman in distress. Of course, what I didn't know at the time, was that they should have given me a temporary 10 day sticker during which time I could have found a more reputable mechanic. Funny how that never came up in the conversation. They finally did drop the price about $150 and I had to borrow the money from my aunt, but still...

After that I met Donnie, my secret car sticker pimp. I actually met him through my uncle who also had crappy cars and used to get illegal stickers too. Donny worked for a (cough) government agency and had access to state stickers and used to sell them to us po' folk who had crappy cars who couldn't pass inspections legitimately. The original price for them, I think, was $20, and then they kept going up. And every year, I used to have to meet Donnie in various secret locations, like in alleyways and random parking lots, where he would quickly scrape off the old sticker and put on the new sticker and I would pay him in cash. Its not like my car was a total death trap. It just had minor things wrong with it that would have cost me like $100 but I just didn't have the money and when you're poor, you gotta do what you gotta do.

So since my sticker's expiration date was 5/31/05, my mom called Donnie yesterday and got some bad news. He was no longer in the illegal inspection sticker business. And although it wasn't spelled out in so many words, I have a feeling that Donnie might have been busted, because he didn't answer his company beeper, but rather his own cell phone. I was freaked out though. My car is 13 years old, and has more squeaks and squawks than the San Diego Zoo. How was I going to get an inspection sticker legitimately?

Enter: Mom. Actress Extraordinaire. Unfortunately I didn't inherit her flair for the dramatic. I take after my dad. But she certainly has a flair when she wants something. And she has made some "friends" down at a local car shop. If my car is a Ford Tempo of Doom, her car is the Mazda, Mega High Rise of Total Crapdom. Her car is way worse than mine. She's had it a little over a year and it only starts about 35% of the time. And she's yet to figure out why. And she's had it in the garage like about 9 times. She has spent more money trying to figure out why it doesn't start than she spent for the car. She sold me her car. So I always have to hear about her sacrifice, like YOU got the good car, and I got this one. I certainly didn't force her into that choice. I actually wanted the Mazda. Thank God, she insisted I take the Ford Tempo. Heh!

So the point is....she is all smoochy, smoochy with the guys down at this certain garage. She has them all calling her grandma, and she kisses them when she goes in and bakes them cookies. I just sit back in amazement at this total act of fakedom, because she doesn't even have a relationship with her own grandchildren, yet, there she is, smooching 30 year old male mechanics and wanting them to call her grandma. Its kinda kinky if you ask me. And yet, for some God forsaken reason, it totally works. They all love her down there and they come running for their little huggies with grandma. And they all ask about their cookies. It's freakin' weird. But I don't interfere with any of this, because I know I benefit from her "relationship" with the boys at the car shop. They've already fixed my car for a good price a couple of times. So she called them today and they said to bring the car in today and they would try and get it in at the very end of the day. I guess it was pretty busy because of the holiday weekend, and everyone needing inspection stickers.

So I met her down there and she went in and smooched all the guys. I just sort of stood nearby, reading magazines. I felt funny watching her do this, because it was sort of like watching Annette Bening in "The Grifters". They said to come back in and hour and a half. In the meantime, I went to Burlington's Coat Factory and picked up a new purse, because the strap on my old one finally broke this morning when I was getting out of my car at work.

I had actually bought a new one a month ago at Penney's. J.C. Penney's had had a $10 coupon in the newspaper, which could be used for any item in their store OVER $10. And I was like YAY! Maybe I can get a purse. I really needed a purse, since mine was on the verge of breaking. So I went shopping (that in itself, was quite an event, since I never shop) and found a purse on sale for $14. I was thrilled, because with the coupon, I only had to cough up $4 for a purse. So I bought it. When I got it home I realized that all my stuff wouldn't fit into it, namely my Keith Herring datebook, which is like my main artery and I can't live without it. So about a week later I decided to bring it back and exchange it for something larger. I thought they would just credit the $14 towards my new purse. Nope. Those bitches returned the purse and handed me $4. I was so pissed. I said, "I'm not returning and walking away. I'm exchanging it for something more expensive. I just want to use the credit towards something else." Nope. It really made me feel like a criminal or something. I wasn't trying to get the $10 in cash and run out of the store. I was trying to buy another item. They were the ones who printed a $10 coupon in the store to use. And now they were reneging on my ability to use it. So that was the end of my association with J.C. Penney's. Not that I ever really shopped there anyways.

So we got back to the car shop and it was 10 minutes before the shop was to close and my car still hadn't been looked at. Grandma Moses went in and parted the Red Seas. I just looked at the newspaper on the chairs. Meh. Avert eyes while drama is spewing forth. Plus they had left my car window open and it was pouring rain. Good one. But they finally pulled the car into the garage and I talked to my mom as they hovered near my car. Were they going to put it up on the lift to see all the incredibly bad things wrong with the undercarriage? Well, no actually. Because, despite all the hovering, they actually weren't doing anything. They were just hovering. Maybe they were checking out girls over at the Fresno's restaurant parking lot next door, because the next thing I know, my car is parked by the front door with a new May 2006 sticker on it.


I actually almost felt more guilty than when I used to get the illegal stickers from Donnie out in the random parking lots, because this was a place of business and here I was getting away with murder. I mean, I guess my car could have possibly passed an inspection. I have had new brake lines and a new oil filter put in, in the last 6 months. By then, my mom was hugging everybody in the entire shop including customers and I handed them $21 in cash for the sticker. That was actually cheaper than Donnie. Wow.

The only thing left to do by then, was head over to Big Lots and listen to Cowboy Bob sing "Pretty Woman" and what could be better than that?

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty