Thursday, March 11, 2010

Otto’s Headlights

I used to own a 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle. His name was Otto. Otto von Wolfsburg.

I loved Otto. He wanted to be a good car. He had sweet little quirks, like he’d start playing music unexpectedly, and it would always turn out to be something I needed to hear, like Mozart to soothe my nerves in traffic. Unfortunately, Otto’s manufacturers did not put him together right, and I was constantly having to take him to the hospital. One day I worked it out mathematically to prove to my friends I wasn’t exaggerating. I really did have to take him to the shop, whether for oil changes, malfunctioning windows, or an exploding battery, at least every 1.6 months.

In one, not so atypical incident, he wouldn’t start for me in the morning. Some of the electrical things still worked, so I thought it wasn't a dead battery. I figured I’d have him towed, and I began the usual process of removing articles of value that I thought I might want access to if he was going to be spending several days at the shop – things like sunglasses and the CD cartridge.

I called a garage, and they told me to try jump-starting it anyway, which I did, and it worked. So I got into the car and headed for the garage to have them check it out anyway.

On the way, I was further irritated by the suck-ass commercial radio stations, so I tried to switch to the CD player. Dang! Not a good morning, because I had removed the CD cartridge, which in the Beetle, was located in the trunk. So I was forced to fall back on the cassette player. I shoved in the cassette that had been sitting there, and the very first song that came on, all cued up at the beginning, was Adam Sandler's "Piece of Shit Car"! A brief moment of levity in my otherwise crappy morning.

When I got to the garage, I asked if they could give me a ride to work. They obliged and sent a kid to drive me who looked like he was about 17.

I tried to make small talk with the kid by bitching about the Beetle. He said he knew those Beetles had problems because, just about a month ago, they had to replace some lady's air compressor, and the headlight, which was in the way, was a pain in the ass to remove.

I said, "That was me!"

And then without thinking, I added, "So you remember my headlights?"

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