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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Car guys

Landry's, car repair, people I like in Wauwatosa, technology and individualism at odds

I have always depended on the kindness of car guys. For years, it's been Ed at Landry's on Bluemound. He's kept my various cars running, often on life support, ever since someone here recommended him to me.

Today I stopped in on my way back from Madison with the fleet car. It's been telling us for weeks to check the tire pressure, claiming that the front right tire was the culprit. Everytime someone filled the tires, the funny little light would pop on within a week or so, so it seemed like new tires might be in order.  I'd talked to my boss, and we were trying to figure out whether we were supposed to take the car to Place A or Place B. But I didn't want to hand it off dangerous to the next driver, so I thought of Ed.

First, though, was a struggle with the gas pump keypad. The 1 was stuck, making it hard to put in all the identifiers and mileage figures it demanded. But between Ed, one of his passel of good looking kids, and I, we prevailed in charging the gas.

"About these tires," I started.
 

"It's that one," Ed said, pointing to the passenger side rear. I couldn't see anything. "Bring it over here and I'll check." Of course he was right: that tire was close to 20 pounds under, while the other three were all 20 pounds over.

It seems the sensors don't know when you've rotated the tires, he explained. The shops don't reset them. So the low tire had once occupied that front position, one or more rotations ago. Some of the drivers had kept filling the front tires, following the computers' faulty directions, without checking the rest.

So now the tires are fine and we're saved a complicated visit to the dealer. No charge to  you the taxpayers, thanks to Ed.

Later I drove my son's ancient Corsica there. "I don't suppose he told you about that leak in the front," I said, referring to George's visit to Landry's just last week. "And I'm guessing it has something to do with the power steering being gone."

"Ah, yep," Ed avered. And then told me a very big number, the worst case scenario for repairs. "Do you get any better clunkers in here?" I asked, thinking it might be time to trade up the beloved Grandmamobile, replacing it with someone else's grandma's car.

"There aren't any anymore," he said. "Not these that you can keep running. They all disappeared during Cash for Clunkers."

While Ed's son laughs when I bring in the Old Gray Car, Ed seems to think it's a challenge to keep it going. I have faith in the man. If there's a cheaper way to save the old girl, he'll find it.

I'm not sure if any of Ed's kids are following his footsteps. I'm sort of doubting it. And I am thinking that if we're going to live in a world where we all need to be rugged individualists,  getting by with no help from others, fixing our own cars, setting our own broken bones, and the like, we'd better be making more guys like Ed.

And more cars like the Corsica.

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