Spring Cleaning


For me, it meant the low tech solution of plain old soap, water, a rag and a lot of elbow grease to wipe down the white (!) railing on my balcony that had collected tons of SF city grime. Then the high tech solution of amping my wi-fi to 5gHz and stop leaching off of my nice neighbor, as my 5 year-old wi-fi hub was creaking to a gimpy death. Of ourse, then I put too much oil in my car in another rush of spring cleaning efficiency, and I have to take it to the mechanic.

On the topic of my super gift of “411 face”: I lift the lid of my car hood and it’s like I’m putting out a sign, “ask me dumb tourist questions.” First, two older people who speak very limited English, but it’s nice and simple, I have to say. Asking me if there’s a Levi’s, in Fisherman’s Wharf. We agree there’s one at Union Square. None here, though she remembers one. Pretty efficient conversation for her limited grammar. Then, two German girls are giggling near me when I buy oil, then follow me to my car. One asks me in halting English if there “is no Mechanic?” I tell her it’s Sunday, probably not. We discuss what’s wrong, she has a car off to the side, that needs oil. I ask her what kind, and she says, “In Germany, we would ask a mechanic.” Why doesn’t she read her car’s manual? I ask. No manual. I doubt that, but whatever. I tell her about some other garages, but they’ll probably all be closed, as it’s Sunday. I rhapsodize about this American concept called AAA that sends mechanics out to you in cars. They giggle some more (?). I propose- why not just go to Barnes and Noble there (next to gas station), look up your car, find out what oil it takes? All of these suggestions, they giggle, and watch me pour more oil in my car (essentially overfilling it. Great.) As I drive away, I notice in the sidemirror that I’ve left the little gas door open. I’m sure their giggling was a “feeble woman” attempt to make me volunteer to help them- lucky I didn’t, as I am barely adept at working on my own car, easy as the tasks are.

1 Comment »

  1. Comment by Nancy M

    Posted on April 22, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I felt you on this one. Back in 2003 I had to buy and replace my car battery while it was parked along the sidewalk in russian hill. Fortunately, on a street too steep to get much foot traffic past, but it’s still weird to do all that stuff right out in the public eye.

    good for you for offering them suggestions of how they could help themselves, but not giving in and doing it for them. my dad would have patted you on the back for that one, anna!

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