Thursday, December 02, 2004

There's an old saying about the cobbler’s children going barefoot.
I don't know if that's true or not. In my world, the closest thing to a cobbler is Mr. Mark.

Mr. Mark has been selling me shoes since time began. I don't get to Chicago that often, but he is still my primary shoe guy! (If I need shoes immediately, I will very begrudgingly purchase them from someplace local. Mr. Mark is *my* shoe guy!)

Anyway, the corollary to the cobbler's barefoot kids, would be the automotive-ly incompetent daughter of a mechanic.

That's me!

So, today I found out that my car (desperately) needs new tires
Maybe I should have known, but I just got tires (granted, it was 3 years and 65,000 miles ago -but still).
Besides, I don't check these things. That's what Dads and mechanics do!
So today I brought my car in for an oil change ('cause mechanic's daughters don't know how to do it for themselves). And the shop said "You need new tires, and you need them NOW!"

So the shop tried to sell me tires.
I said "No thank you."
They said, "You really ought to get these. They're good"
I said, "Not today."
They said, "Is it a money thing, we'll give you a discount, or work out a payment plan - you shouldn't drive on the current tires."
I said, "Thanks. No."

You see, the mechanic's daughter comes from a Michelin Family.
Some people belong to Chevy families, some to Ford families.
We're a Michelin family.
No debate on the subject.
We just are.

This shop did not carry (and even dared to discourage) Michelins. So I left, went to a tire place and asked for Michelins.
The tech recommended something else, extolling the wonders and virtues of a cheaper [not to be named] brand.
(what to do, who to trust?)

So I called Dear 'ole Dad and asked for advice.

It was a phone conversation, but I could hear him settling back in his chair, stretching out his legs, and assuming the "fatherly advice" pose. After the extended "wisdom-pause" he started, "Once upon a time, to save some money, I bought shoes from Mr. Mark that were . . . "

The mechanic's daughter quickly interrupted, "Yeah dad, I know the Mr. Mark-cheap-shoe-story. Quality Quality Quality Blah blah blah, But two people have recommended other tires. Could it possibly, maybe, be that for my particular type of car, there is an undiscovered gem in the tire world?"

Dear 'ole Dad knows that the mechanic's daughter is just as stubborn as the mechanic. He knew saying what he felt ("You dishonor family! You speak the name of [brand] tire. How can one doubt power of Michelin. You no longer be mechanic's daughter.") would have prompted me to stubbornly purchase the cheaper [brand not to be named] tires.

So instead he went online (or perhaps just pretended to go online) and looked up [the unmentionable brand]. He started spouting off ratings. And rotation numbers. And assorted tire facts. And I got dizzy from the overflow of numbers being thrown at me. A few seconds later I hung up and explained to the tech that my inheritance was at stake, and I'd be purchasing the Michelins.

The bank account is considerably smaller tonight
The car . . . the car can now take turns at 35 mph -- Slowing down is not necessary with fresh Michelin tires.
The mechanic's daughter can now safely travel to Chicago (with her all weather radial Michelin tires) under the guise of celebrating the holiday with family. In reality, the mechanic wants to see the tires. And the mechanic’s daughter is going to Chicago soley to purchase hiking boots from Mr. Mark's.
The cobbler's daughter was too little for shoes last time I was there, but I wonder if she'll still be barefoot . . .