My truck, which had the misfortune to be conceived in America, hatched in Detroit, financed by bailouts, and built by slobs, needed more service. (Note: The Cummins engine rocks. There’s really no other reason to buy a Dodge. The day the Cummins guys to build a truck is the day that I’ll personally set my Dodge and every pickup in the county on fire in an epic outbreak of pent up rage. Then I’ll sell my soul to buy the new Cummins truck.)
I took it in for the umpteenth complaint about the alignment.
Service Drone: “What seems to be the problem sir?”
Me: “I appreciate your concern for my fellow man, in that your ‘alignment’ no longer points the truck into oncoming traffic. Now it just wants to pull me in a ditch.”
Service Drone: “Huh.”
Me: Speaking slowly, “I’d like my truck to steer straight.”
Service Drone: “Oh, all you need is an alignment.”
Me: “Like the one I paid for a few weeks ago?”
Service Drone: Typing keys at his
mental crutch terminal “Hm… you’re right. It was only a few weeks ago. Then it should be steering straight. Are you sure the alignment is off?”
Really? Why should I have to answer questions like that? If you’ve got a guy who drives a big truck (even a pickup) who doesn’t know about “alignment” then you’re talking to someone who should trade the truck in for a bicycle. This lit my fuse.
Me: Leering as only the truly creepiest truck owner can. “Let’s take a drive in my truck.”
Me: “You and me. I’ll wind it up to about 70 MPH, take it out on the Interstate…”
Service Drone:”OK but what would that…”
Me: “I’ll let go of the steering wheel. We’ll see how well it’s aligned.”
Service Drone: “Er? That’s really for the service guys to…”
Me: “I’m not afraid to die. Get in.”
Service Drone: Speaking quickly and typing on his terminal, “We can look at it this afternoon. Would you like a loaner?”
Me: “Are these keys to a MINIVAN!?!”
Service Drone: “Eeeppp.”
Mrs. Curmudgeon: “Leave him alone. Can’t you see he’s new?” Steers me out of the service department and toward the loaner.
Me: “But it’s all ‘soccer mom’. I’ll get cooties.”
Them: “This is Fuck ’em Over Dodge, Chrysler, Honda, and Studebaker. I’m calling for the Curmudgeon.”
Them: “There’s a delay. We need a part.”
Me: “You need a part to do an alignment. Have you been sniffing glue?”
Them: Sounding squeaky, “It’s a ball joint thing.”
Me: “Which one? The right front ball joint that I recently replaced?”
Me: “Or the left front ball joint that I recently replaced?”
Them: “Um… I know you’re pissed but we’ll fix it. Can you just keep the loaner an extra day?”
Me: “I’m driving to
redacted location tomorrow. It’s a six hundred mile round trip. Overnight.”
Them: “Look, we really want you to be happy. I’ll talk to my manager and maybe he’ll say OK.”
Me: “I’ll be carrying two barrels.”
Me: “Nothing would make me happier than to load two 55 gallon barrels into your minivan and haul a seven hundred pound load on a twelve hour trip. It’ll trash the interior but I’m all for turning ‘mom vans’ into ‘work vans’.”
Them: “Um… what’s in the barrels?”
Me: “I’m not at liberty to say.” (Actually the barrels are empty and yes a minivan is plenty to haul some empty containers and a few hundred pounds of miscellaneous stuff I’d need to bring along. However, I couldn’t help hamming it up.)
Them: “Hang on.” Putting me on hold.
Two minutes later they pick up.
Me: “Do not ask about the barrels.”
Them: “Your truck will be done at least an hour before close of business tonight.”
Me: “Thank you.”
An hour before close of business I showed up in the minvan (which for a beater/loaner was better than walking) to get my truck. Mrs. Curmudgeon showed up separately in her puddle jumper Honda. (I like the Honda… it’s everything that American cars are not.) This was pre-arranged because we know that this particular dealershop has about an 80% success rate in having the job done when they say they’ve got the job done.
She swooped in for an oil change while I glowered at the service department. There was a long song and dance about how this problem was totally unrelated to the other problems and how steering a heavy truck was indeed a really complicated matter. I mentioned that the Model A steered rather reliably in 1927 and maybe a Dodge truck should rise to a similar level of technology.
Then, because I’m a sap, I parted with yet another wad of cash. I picked up my keys and stomped toward my truck, which was frozen like an ice cube in the parking lot. It takes forever to warm up that huge truck. I sat in it, happy to be out of the minivan but fretting over the money, while the defroster gradually came to life.
As I sat there Mrs. Curmudgeon zipped by in her hatchback. She waved and was gone. I love her and I love Hondas. I felt silly sitting in an iced up battleship waving to a little hatchback that’s a miracle of precision manufacture and costs less than the Ram’s transmission. If it weren’t for the snow I’d be riding my rock solid reliable Honda motorcycle. Maybe I should get a heated suit and a sidecar…
Then came the text. It was from Mrs. Curmudgeon. “$19 FOR AN OIL CHANGE AND THEY VACUUMED THE INTERIOR TOO. HOW’S THE TRUCK?”
I typed back “NOT A MINIVAN.” Then headed out.
I have to admit, when the Ram is functioning well I love the beast (and the engine is simply a joy). It’s just that it’s the perfect counterpoint to the “no hassle built to run cheap and forever little Honda” that is my mental ideal of machinery. Maybe someday Honda will make a truck and install a Cummins engine. Then world will be perfect.