bunt sign

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

This was one of those days that felt as if someone was following me around poking me with a stick. Every time I'd kinda sorta relax, I'd get a jab, right in the ribs.

As I was getting the papers together and working myself up toward calling the Saturn dealer about my coolant leak, I happened to glance at the date of sale. It struck me that I've had the Saturn a week longer than I remembered. Then it struck me that I'd given the wrong date to the insurance company, and the thirty-day grace period had run out last Saturday. I've been driving around without insurance for three days.

So my first call wasn't to the dealer but to the insurance agent. I left a message on her machine, a rather desperate plea that included the word "today." I really want to get this handled today. I don't want today to go by without getting the insurance situation resolved. By the end of today, I want to know that my car is insured.

Then I called the dealer and used my best I-really-mean-it voice (which is kind of whiny and pathetic, but it's the best I can do) to let them know I had a real problem. When I took the car in last month for the same thing, they told me they couldn't find anything wrong. So I drove the car for three more weeks and found it myself. Having to add coolant twice in one week was the clue. The sticky puddle on the garage floor was the smoking gun.

At first they were talking about an appointment later in the week, but the more urgent I made it sound, the earlier they were willing to go. I took the car in at 2:00 this afternoon and made all my points again with the service rep, who cheerfully entered my exact words into the computer. She probably put in some code for the pitiful look on my face, too. They're very thorough at the Saturn service department.

Now I'm waiting. I thought I might get a callback tonight, but I didn't really expect it. Let them keep the car until it's fixed once and for all. A call too soon would mean either that they'd missed the problem again, like last time, or that it was so much worse than I thought that they probably weren't going to be able to fix it at all. That's how I've talked myself into believing that no news is good news. That little aphorism will expire with the morning light, however.

As for the insurance, I waited two hours and then made a second call to the agent. She wasn't nearly as concerned as I was. "You haven't had an accident yet, have you?"

"Not yet," I told her. And now it doesn't matter, because I'm fully covered. I have no car at the moment, but wherever it is, it's insured against anything that might happen to it.

I know many people drive around without insurance, but I don't see how they do it. I had a sort of retroactive hemorrhage when I realized I'd been doing it since the weekend, and I refused to take the car out of the garage until I knew it was covered.

mostly blue sky

The eastern skyline, seen from my back yard.

In an exquisite bit of temporal incongruity (which is not to say irony), my license plates came in the mail today. When I bought the car they'd told me it might take up to six months. The finance manager even made me repeat it. How long? Six months. He didn't want me to panic and start bugging him after a month or two, but here it is only 34 days later and my plates are ready to install, even though there's nothing here to install them on.

They aren't personalized plates, just plain white with blue letters and numerals (starting with a "5" and an "A") and the word "California" in red script across the top. One for the front of the vehicle and one for the rear, because in this state they want to be able to catch you coming or going. They're sitting by the door right now, next to (and as useless as) the garage door opener.

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I didn't even get to the other things that were sticking me in the ribs all day. The cordless phone battery died, so I had to talk into the speaker phone all day (I hate that). The toilet has been acting up, so I've had to stick my hand in the tank a few times and jiggle all the little tubes and pipes. And there was something else, but it probably wasn't as fascinating as all of the above, because I've forgotten it.

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