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All I Wanted was a Brake Job
I mean...brakes! Who doesn't need brakes!
So last week I heard a tiny grinding sound whenever I applied my brakes. I knew that sound. I looked at the odometer and saw the terrible truth: 81,000 miles and still on the original brakes. That’s not good. I knew that as soon as somebody told me.
If Ed had been here, he would have looked at that odometer long ago and put two and two together. Time for new brakes. Okay then. I relied on him to take care of the car and now it’s on me, and I feel as though I’ve let him down.
I’m a stickler for oil changes, but I honestly never thought about brakes. Because they were working quietly and well. They stopped the car. They worked behind the scenes and did what they were supposed to do.
Then, within a few days of hearing that tiny sound, the brakes began to grind. Loudly. And they kept grinding after I took my foot off the brake. That seemed…bad.
So where to go to get them fixed?
As I’ve told you before I have the world’s best friends right here in this little neighborhood, so all I had to do was tell one of them my brakes were grinding and they told someone else who told someone else and then the guy who used to have race cars came down and took my car for a test drive and said, “It’s the rotors. You’ve got over 81,000 miles on the original brakes. you’re probably going to need all four wheels done.”
So the diagnosis and prognosis were in. Now where to get it done. My favorite race car guy was heading over to the island garage anyway, so he said he’d give the mechanic the particulars and let me know what he said.
Well, he said he couldn’t look at it until well into the next week (He was going far away to his son’s wedding over the weekend) and wouldn’t be able to get parts and do it until the week after that.
I called the Toyota dealer where we’d purchased the car, some 80 miles away, and the guy in the service department told me they had a three-week waiting list for brakes. Three weeks! I said, “What do people do without brakes for three weeks?” and he said, “Well, they could rent a car maybe, but I’d be hauling out my bike and riding that.”
Uh huh. City guy. And no doubt young besides.
So I called their sister dealership, only 60 miles away, where they sell Hyundais and not Toyotas, and asked them if they could do my Toyota brakes and the woman I talked to said, “Sure”. I told her my sad story, along with the unbelievable news that the other dealership told me three weeks. Three weeks! And she laughed and said, “Three weeks? Ha! We’re at four and a half weeks.”
Then she told me there was a week and a half waiting list for oil changes. So we got into this conversation about what the hell is happening? What is going ON? How could everyone for a hundred miles around suddenly be needing brake work? We couldn’t come up with a single reason, but we grew pretty friendly so in the end I was okay. Calm. Because I liked her and she seemed to like me. All was not lost.
I remembered that my friendly race car guy suggested I drive to the island station because the mechanic needed to know what kind of brake system I had. (Something like that. Don’t quote me.) So I asked race car guy’s wife, W, my dear, dear friend who knows and loves all of the island people, if she would go with me and maybe convince cute mechanic (did I mention that?) who doesn’t know me to maybe get it done quicker because—little old lady, widowed, friend, you know.
So the happy ending to this story is that cute mechanic agreed to put a rush on parts and get it done by next Wednesday1. (Today is Thursday.)
And the moral of this story is, keep your friends close, be ever so grateful they’re there, pay it forward, and brag those friends up every chance you get.
Because they’re absolutely priceless.
(A big thank you, too, to my dear, dear neighborhood friend, P, who drove me to the post office to pick up my new phone (Because my brakes were screaming by then and I had to go there to sign for the package), then helped me set it up at her house because she has Wi-Fi that actually works, and watched over it for an hour or so as it transferred everything from my old phone to my new phone and then delivered both of them back to me. 💘 As I said: priceless)
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Update: Got a call that the brakes were done late Thursday instead of Wednesday—on island time that’s rapid!