Sunday, May 29, 2011

Auto Service

We're in Tuscany right now. In anticipation of this trip, we'd reached the drop dead, no kidding, oil must be changed, point in our car. We'd pushed it way too far, mainly out of an "I just can't deal with that on top of all our other stuff" mindset. With yet another road trip fast approaching, we realized we had to deal with this issue. We'd heard before coming here that auto parts are very, very expensive, and anticipating this, we brought oil filters for our Toyota. We had no intention of bringing our Volvo station wagon with us. Since that was an eleventh hour, crisis decision - actually 11:59 decision since we dropped off the Volvo at the port for shipping the same day we flew out of the United States - we have no parts for the car. We reasoned: People in Italy drive cars so what's the big deal. Now I know. How much do you pay for your oil change? Jiffy Lube's $29.95 special. Mmmm-hmmmm. We paid 150euros, or $212.52. Oh how I wish this were an April Fool's post.

We first approached our local, hole in the wall mechanic shop. They smirked at us and quoted about 120euros. Since I would be the one taking the car into the shop, and I don't even know what the oil filter looks like, I had a feeling I would be ripe for a little bit of...well, you get the idea. Now I don't want to cast aspersions on our local mechanic. He's probably a very nice man. But that look in his eyes gave me a little pause. Nathan found a Volvo dealership in the next town over and made an appointment for me. Then proceeded to tell me there was no exact address and co-workers of his had told him this place was extremely difficult to find and down some sort of turn off road. I built in plenty of time, headed off, and soon found myself on the correct road, which is just about the scariest place I've been in this city. As we're in the middle of a yet another trash crisis, this particular alley had an impressive mound that limited driving to one lane, with that one lane taken up with all sorts of people who felt the need to just lounge about the street staring at cars trying to pass by. All in all, I did not think this was the place for me to be driving slowly around...or stopping to ask directions. And then, as tends to happen in this city, I found that the dirt, trash, and grime were just a facade. Upon finding the Volvo dealership, I drove through their security gates, admired the sexy Ferrari on it's window pedestal, parked in a roomy parking lot, and walked into a sparkling clean, white building. Then paid over $200 for an oil change.

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