Time for a New Car…Thank You, Phoenix

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book titled My Perfectly Imperfect Life (or Something Like That): Based on a True Story…

Time for a New Car…Thank You, Phoenix 

Sometimes, you know when it’s time to get a new vehicle. For instance, if you have a pre-rehearsed line because every time you pull up at a red light or go through a drive-thru, someone informs you that your car is smoking…this might be a sign to get a new vehicle. Or, if every time you go grocery shopping, you leave the doors wide open on your car, hoping that someone will care enough to steal it – only to come out and find that no one cared….this might be a sign to get a new vehicle. By the way, whenever your car catches on fire – this is a good sign too. And, it happened to me one day.

My wife had been on me about buying a new car. I told her that we didn’t need one. Whenever my Ford Tempo would start smoking, I would just reposition the oil cap, and it was good for at least another 30 miles. By then, when it started smoking again, it was time to refill it with oil anyway – a sort of built-in smart-failure device system to remind me.

I went out looking for a new job anyway just so I could afford a new car just in case my Tempo broke down. I called her “Temperance” because she reminded me how good it was to have achieved this “fruit of the spirit” and not want for anything too flashy. My wife called her “Temptress” though, because she always seemed to “tempt” my wife to want to burn her. In fact, I would have thought my wife was the responsible arsonist for what happened at Kimoto Tech had I not seen it with my own eyes!

It was a typical off day for me, and we were young, wild, and free – well, free for every 30 miles until I had to re-oil “Temperance.” I was going from job site to job site, filling out applications with my wife, and then we pulled up at a place in my home town named Kimoto Tech. This place specializes in ink jet coated films and specialty substrates for large-format printing according to their website. All I know is, when you pull up, there is a big sign that reads “NO SMOKING ON PREMISES – HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE AND FLAMMABLE MATERIALS.” I parked the car in the lot, and my wife told me she thought the car was on fire. I told her she was overreacting. Old Temperance always smoked like that after parking her on a hot day.

“No, I think I smell something burning!” My wife exclaimed.

“Well dear,” I said, “I’m about to go into this building where they burn materials. I’ll check out the car when I come back out, but I’ll bet you’re smelling the fumes in the air from this plant.”

After I got out, I noticed items falling down from under the engine area of the car. “Get out now!” I exclaimed. My wife jolted out of the car, and I immediately thought of one thing…my Men’s Health magazines! I carried several around in my car for reading purposes whenever my wife took too long inside the grocery store. So, I go to read them a lot.

Anyway, I ran into the now burning car with her tugging on my arm and got all three of them out. Then we went into the plant and politely waited for the secretary to address us. I tried to butt in on her conversation with some other applicant whom she apparently knew from way back, because she was promising he would get hired and asking about his “mom an’nem” while simultaneously managing to ignore my wife and me. I tried to tell her about our situation twice but was silenced with an assertive “Sir, please wait your turn,” followed by an, “I said HOLD ON.”

“We’ll just wait our turn,” I told my wife, “until she at least acknowledges that we are people too.” After all, she’s right. We shouldn’t try to butt-in, it’s not polite. After she exchanged documents with the potential employee – meaning she took his application and he took her written-down cell phone number and heart that was openly-displayed on her sleeve, she acknowledged us with a “we are not hiring at the moment, but we are taking applications.”

“Thank you for telling me this ma’am,” I explained, “But, I am here to tell you that my car is on fire out in your parking lot.”

“What!?! What!?!” she exclaimed.

I tried to tell her again, but I assumed that she heard me since she called in all sorts of codes over the intercom and within minutes, fire trucks, policemen, and people of distinction were out on the lot surrounding our now charred car.

“This your car, son?” asked one man of distinction.

“Yes sir, it is.” I confessed.

“You work here?” he asked.

“No sir, but I was trying to get a job here. That’s why I’m out here now – I just turned in my application. But, I believe I’ll just postpone for now and just wait until I have reliable transportation to apply again.” I said.

“Well,” he said, “we’ll remember you.”

I never re-applied out there. Instead, I got a job offer from another plant where my friend and I carpooled until we could afford a car of our own. But, that man sure was nice out at Kimoto Tech. I hate that I never got to take him up on his offer though…unless he meant it sarcastically. Who knows? But, my wife was happy because we got another car. And, you know what they say…a happy wife makes a happy life. Tune in next time – same batty time, same batty website. THE END.

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