Day 128 – Irish Luck
If i can claim any ethnic heritage it would have to be Irish. My mother was 100% Irish, an O’Malley. Catholic as the day is long. My father was, as far as i know, a central european mutt with a lot of German. Thus it’s not surprising i prefer cool and damp as opposed to hot and dry.
But when it comes to actual life there can be little doubt that my Irish heritage and with it the curse/blessing of Irish luck rules the day.
“Irish Luck” is, of course, a statement dripping with irony. The Irish are about as unlucky an ethnic group as you could find. However growing up my mother often referred to having Irish Luck when oddly bad or annoying things happened. For people within earshot who looked confused at the term she explained it thusly: “One balmy summer’s day an Irishman is strolling down the street when he happens to step in pile of manure. Looking down at his shoe he exclaims,’ah! bless me and my luck, i coulda been wearin’ my good shoes.'”
So you can understand perfectly how i felt this past Saturday when our Range Rover began spewing oil on the road from Burns to Bend…. but i then learned Bend is the home of Bend Rovers. Ah! bless my luck, we coulda been stranded in Wagontire.
So after some sad debate, we opted to park the rover, with kayak on roof, in the parking lot of the rover place and leave a couple of what i hoped would be humorous voice mails on the phone. We stashed the rover’s key in the yellow watering can/planter by the door, transferred much of what the rover was carrying to the pickup and continued on our way to Ashland.
After the long weekend passed I called Bend Rovers and spoke to Francis the owner. He was nonplussed by finding a green rover with a sea kayak on its roof in their parking lot. “We got one car ‘head of ya, but we’ll have news for you tomorrow for sure.” Behold and lo the next day he actually called me back. Amazing! Turns out the oil leak, which blew more than two quarts in about 200 miles, was simply a cracked oil pressure sending unit. Cheap part, easy installation. But… that was just the beginning: front brakes were down to about 1mm of pad, rear were about the same, but the killer was the right front axel seal was leaking and there was virtually no grease left. Yeah, another of those $600 jobs to replace an $80 part. So there’s another four-figure repair bill. But it can’t be helped, the car is from 1993 and quite possibly had the original brake pads… so they were due. The axel seal… i’m a bit pissed that Gregg of Gregg’s Autohaus didn’t catch that while he was rooting around the front end replacing ignition parts by the bucket full, but i’ve come to learn he wasn’t much of a mechanic, he was more a “pill doc” who only cared about treating-and-streeting.
But the larger lesson here is the one Tom and Ray of Car Talk try to teach us every day: cars suck. Cars are simply terrible things on nearly every level when examined rationally. That you can’t fully participate in life in this country (with a couple notable exceptions) without a car is a travesty bested only by our pathetic healthcare system. But that’s why i choose to own a Range Rover… and to drive it as little as possible. People, especially in this crunchy little town, will no doubt find such a car wasteful and extravagant, but i wager i burn less gasoline in a week than any average Prius owner… and even with two four-figure repair bills plus the cost of buying the car, i’m still way ahead money-wise.