As a general rule car-related problems are best dealt with by human beings possessed of penises and very low estrogen levels. And here's what happens when you (a girl type: no penis, lots of estrogen) try to do something sensible for yourself about a car-related issue. Two of my nearest and dearest guy types, who we'll call Steve and Shmo, had borrowed my car to return to Meridian from the Neshoba County Fair in the blistering heat of a Mississippi summer. On their way back, something happened to the car that made the power steering stop doing that thing that it does. It also made the air conditioning stop and the power windows not work. The upshot of all this is: It took both of them to steer the car. The steering wheel was just short of the melting point and, as luck would have it, they had no oven mitts, and the couldn't even roll the windows down. It is a wonder they didn't drown in their own sweat!
Now, I contend that movies portraying us Southerners as sweating all the time are grossly inaccurate - up to a point. They show us going about our everyday lives, sweating like pigs at every turn - lawyers in court with big ole sweat rings under their arms, shirts unbuttoned, sticking to their backs; women working in the drugstore, rivers of sweat running down between their bossoms; children all red-faced, hair matted to their little heads. Now, most of the time, this just doesn't happen because we invented high ceilings, ceiling fans, and sitting on your ass. The only time we really and truly sweat like they show us doing in the movies is on that odd occasion that that thing in the car that makes the power steering, the power windows and the air conditioner work - happens to break.
So Steve and Shmo rolled up at my house looking like a couple of movie rednecks. They sort of fell out on the ground when we opened the car doors. They begged us to move the sprinkler over there by them and just let them lie there for an hour or so. Feeling a certain amount of responsibility for their current slow roasted condition, I popped the hood of the Audi, as if I understood the first thing about any of the stuff under there. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, if I didn't look down and there is this little belt looking thing, and I picked it up and said, "Hmmmmmm...I bet this is all it needs."
Thinking that car repair is not nearly so complicated as they make out, I, with broken belt looking thing in hand, take myself to the car-parts place. It is a Saturday, mid morning, and the place is hopping. I'm talking like fifty cars out in the parking lot of the car-parts place. They are out there in shorts, no shirts on their hairy backs, beer guts hanging - that and no shoes. Just crawling up under the car, frying on the hot pavement, getting dirt, small bits of gravel and gum wrappers hung up in the hair on their backs, thankyouverymuch. Who are these gross individuals and where did they come from? And don't they have mamas, wives, and/or mirrors to tell them not to go to the store half nekkied? I am gagging so bad I nearly forget why I am there, which is to buy another belt looking thing for my car.
I go on into the cool, and the car-parts guy axes can he hep me, and I hold up the broken belt looking thing and say, "I need a new one of these." Which I thought was pretty clear in and of itself, but I went on to explain that in typical Southern fashion, meaning in great detail, how some friends of mine had borrowed my car and the power steering, power windows and air conditioning all quit working and I bet they were plenty hot up in that car, didn't he reckon? I told him how we wondered what in this world could have caused all this mayhem, and even though none of us knew shit-diddly about cars, we were compelled to look under the hood anyway, and what did we find when we did this but this little broken belt looking thing hanging down and we just bet anything that's what was wrong and so here I was to get a new one and did he have one?
So he goes to his computer and fiddles around with it and says that, well, it could be four or five different belt looking things, which one did I need, whereupon I held up the broken one and said I want one just like this, only not busted. So he made several trips "to the back" and he brought out a different belt looking thing each time. I, the unskilled and unschooled, could tell from a block away that each and every one of them was twice as long and half as thick and so they were more than likely not the right ones, but he went through this painstaking process of holding them up together and comparing them closely before he determined for certain that he needed to go "to the back" and try again. He was really studying my problem hard and hmmmmmmmmming and pondering a whole lot. He said, now, you don't have any idea which belt this is, do you? And I said no I didn't; all I knew was that the power steering, the power windows and the air conditioner all went out at the same time. He said, ho, that was just what he needed to know, and I said that's what I figured and that's why I had told him all that the first thing. Anyway, he finally went "to the back" and got it, but I had to take it home with me and have it put on.
I tried to get Mr. Liquid to meet me at the parts place in nothing but a pair of shorts and scoot around on the hot pavement under the cars with the furry men. But he refused to come to town in only a pair of shorts and fix it for me. He wouldn't fit in with this crowd any way, he has no hair on his back!
God bless the Sweet Potato Queens!