Car Repair

The piffling subject of car repair is however not without its substance and unwitting avenues of inspiration. Weeks ago I discovered the massage, lumbar and back bolster adjustments of the driver’s seat of my car were not functioning.  At eight o’clock this morning as scheduled I delivered the car to Alex Zimmerling, Service Advisor, Reid Bros GM dealership in Arnprior. Alex is always a pleasure; his dry wit being paramount.  He gave me a Chevrolet Equinox to drive in the meantime – which I am happy to say I do not like particularly well but only because it would have disappointed me to bring to light something I liked better than my XT4.

After my singularly brief consultation with Alex I was home again in about an hour from the time when I began. This detail though trifling is significant to me because I have lately switched from Lincoln to Cadillac; and after having owned Lincolns for the past 15 years or more (and having dealt with the same dealership in Ottawa), it matters to me what my “experience” is with the new brand. To date I have to say I am impressed by the professionalism, expertise and operation of the Cadillac dealership. I had experience with Reid Bros years ago when I bought a Buick Enclave.  That early relationship was fine but it was reignited only recently.  In the interim I subsequently bought a Cadillac sedan from Myers in Ottawa, and while they were good to deal with, my preference of vehicle changed to Lincoln.  In every instance the underlying primary motivation to associate with one dealer or the other has been the product; which is to say that currently I find the small Cadillac SUV to meet my personal requirements (though the memorable Lincoln Town Car was exceptional too).

Driving home the Chevrolet Equinox reminded me unequivocally how critical driving a car of choice is to my flawless thinking in these matters. The passenger automobile is a veritable extension of my being; viz., alignment of operation, quality of features, cleanliness, overall appearance and degree of luxury. Of course I know this sounds egregiously synthetic but at my age it’s what counts. It is vicariously the perfection to which I have always aspired. There is no question – by way of added superlative – that driving a car is for me an undeniable psychological event by which I have conveniently amalgamated my vulgar material interests with my social needs and artistic diversion while overcoming the blunt absence of personal physical mobility. It is a glorious but admittedly precarious dedication!

Thus removed from the immediacy of that preferred physical expression, I am myself functioning in an imbalanced manner. First, I am unaccustomed to wait for prolonged periods for vehicle repair (they had to order the replacement piece).  It is part of the reason I buy a new vehicle each year; namely, to avoid repair (both cost and time). Second, the retraction of the vehicle from my command has commensurately affected the performance of my mundane repetitive ambitions (not to mention reminding me of their ephemeral nature). The truth is that since retiring 10 years ago I have since established daily routine behaviour which happens to include the use of my vehicle. This in turn is the reason I put so many miles on the car each year.  The automobile does not sit idly in its parking space; it is meant to afford me transition and amplification (albeit of this admittedly humdrum status).

It is now after 2:00 pm as I sit at my desk, pondering the inexpressible scenery before me, wondering how the boys are getting along at the repair shop. We have employed this hiatus to do some moderate shopping. I drifted off in my grandfather’s armchair for a good long while, my latest copy of Country Life magazine upon my lap. And, yes, I confess too that I succumbed to several culinary interjections by Chef!  How ever does he know with such precision and insight the latitude of my Epicurean lifestyle?


Post Scriptum:
Idem, 5:43 pm

It is almost a Post Mortem to report that, having now returned from Reid Bros to collect my repaired vehicle (perfectly executed as always), I am convinced that there is a difference between the Chevrolet Equinox and the XT4. I say this not maliciously or abrasively by any account; rather, as gratifying revelation.  It also reminds me that, as I infrequently drive anything other than my own car, my “experience” (to use the retail vernacular) with “loaners” and “rentals” is always the same; namely, I’m happy with what I have of my own.  Aside from the rentals being invariably in a poor state of cleanliness (notwithstanding their equally regular and compelling low mileage) or the fact that the radio stations are always set/tuned to bizarre rock stations (which naturally I instantly insist upon amending to 40s jazz, American Standards and classical stations instead), generally the level of “toys” (if I may use that expression) is lacking.  As is the outfitting and other almost indiscernible details which are otherwise manifest in spite of their lack of specificity. Certain of the differences are obvious such as the size of the GPS screen or the lack of massage function or absence of “smart” locks on the rear passenger doors. But overall it is just a “feeling”, an abstract sensation which the automobile manufacturers have cleverly insinuated for their various products. And as always there is some truth to the adage, “You get what you pay for!” which, as a code of reliability is fortunate for the customer.

I might usefully add parenthetically that there is by contrast a further erudition which derives from driving something different. Though infrequently I have ridden in Rolls Royce automobiles.  While the manufacture is undeniably entertaining, not only is there a limit to the necessity of superlatives; but more significantly from my point of view is that the delight of the automobile is not confined to its luxury but includes the sensation derived from driving it. I like to say it is like playing the piano which I have always played “by ear” (which of course is to say a combination of touch and sound, both characteristics elemental to driving a car as well).