Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Take A "Brake" For Some Education

My brake pads were starting to wear out yesterday. They were making that squealing sound that lets you know, but you forget that they're supposed to do that, and instead you freak out a little that your car has suddenly turned against you and major problems, equalling a major pricetag, await.

So Mo and I take the car to the service station a block from home, and for probably the first time ever, I'm able to pull right up and into the garage. The mechanic gets the car up on the rack, takes a quick look, and tells me (through his thick Greek accent) that it's just the brake pads. He then informs me that he can replace them but he'd have to order the parts, meaning leaving the car there for a day or two, inconvenient but taken care of, etc. OR I could just walk the 4 blocks up the street to an auto parts store, buy the brake pads myself and bring them back and he would install them that night. Yes, you read that correctly. A mechanic was suggesting a way I could get my car fixed, for less money, and sooner. A mechanic!

So that's what we do. Four blocks up to the parts store. $18 for brake pads. Four blocks back. It's about 7pm at this point, and Nako (the Greek mechanic) tells me he'll take care of it, "give me 30 minutes" he says. I told him there's not a huge rush, we're hungry and want to grab some dinner, so I ask about the 9pm closing time which is on their sign. "Give me 30 minutes!" he yells back in his Greek accent. OK, off to dinner.

We come back well fed, and Nako hands us the bill for the labor, we thank him and go inside to pay. Inside is where we get our educational lesson for the day. I ask the cashier guy about our mechanic, how to pronounce his name, etc. The guy says in a scruffy voice "Oh yeah, that's Nako (pronounced nay-ko) he's my best guy. He's from Mastadonia, you know". I say, "Really, Macedonia?" trying to subtly correct the guy. He doesn't hear me. He follows with this gem: "Yeah, you know why it's called Mastadonia? It's because of the mastadons, those prehistoric elephants, like mammoths? They're called mastadons because that's where they're from -- Mastadonia."

Of course they are.

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