My friend Steve from synagogue probably saved my life this week. He needed a ride back home from choir practice Monday because his son was using his car. While we were riding back to his house, he noticed that the car was making a kind of grinding sound whenever I stopped at the lights. I don't hear so well, and though I sort of noticed a sound, I am sure it wasn't anywhere near as pronounced for me as it would be for someone with normal hearing.
I decided I didn't trust our regular garage to fix it since when I went there last week to get the blowout fixed, I heard them say something things to other customers I found pretty appalling. For example, one woman had left her car there to be fixed last week. After she picked it up, when it was supposed to have been fixed, she found it was still stopping dead in the middle of traffic, and she was, justifiably, afraid. The guy at the counter said the shop was too busy to fix it. She should take it home and bring it back tomorrow. The truth is, she should not have been driving the damn thing at all, never mind bringing it back tomorrow, and he should have shown concern and apologized for sending home a customer in a car that could have gotten her and other people killed. This is the same garage that about a month ago sent me away when I requested help putting air in the tires, saying they didn't have time to do it. How much time would that take? Low air may have ultimately been the reason the tire blew out.
So Steve recommended a garage in Tustin, the next town over, and I went there today. Not only did I find the garage really good and helpful, but I think they charged less for things than the previous place, and in addition, they are located in old town Tustin, a little village of a place I had driven through many times, but never gotten out of the car and walked. I found when I did that that all kinds of little shops emerged from the alleyways, places that remained invisible to me as I zipped by them in the car, bound from one place to another.
Today I had time, while I was waiting for the garage to assess the damage to my car (which turned out to be completely shot front breaks and three leaks that needed patching in the oil system and a new hose and clamps for the radiator), I had time to wander aimlessly. I went into the shopping center across the street and had a yogurt, poked around in the Laxmi Indian grocery and sweets story, taking time to check out their pungent lunch buffet (just looking) and to sniff the sweet smell of the Japanese bakery and Cream Pan (just sniffing), and then wandered down the long block looking at the funky little stores and alleyways. I had a thoroughly terrific time, particularly since I was discovering something that had been hidden in plain sight. I have always loved quaint little towns, and it seems that this was one I had completely overlooked, though I've been in it dozens of times.
I'll pick up the car tomorrow morning. Hope it's fixed.