My personal answer to Joe the Plumber.
I have had the week from hell, so this morning when the 13-year old car began overheating on the way back from a work-related errand it was the last straw. I was ready to pull over, jump out of the car, and run down the street screaming gibberish. Except it was pouring down rain.
So instead I limped to a destination which shall remain nameless, where Jeff the Mechanic plies his trade.
He and I have met a couple of times before under similar emergency circumstances. Today was a repeat of one of those previous occasions: another freeze plug had rusted out. My brother-in-law previously informed me that officially these things are called “core plugs”. Whatever. Here in 13-year-old car world, we call stuff whatever our mechanic calls them. We don’t have the luxury of being elitists.
So while we were waiting for the parts store to deliver the correctly sized plug thingie, Jeff struck up a conversation, which began with:
“Your car is a disaster waiting to happen.” (I kind of already figured that out, Jeff, based on the first time I was here and you kicked my ass for neglecting the cooling system, and the 90,000 miles it has on it.)
We talked about replacing the engine. New or rebuilt? Take mine out and rebuild it? New car? What kind? I told him I was holding out for the GM Volt…the electric car that goes 40 miles before it ever uses gasoline. He said it will be $50,000. I was like, never mind. I said, OK, maybe a Prius. He said, the best hybrid is the Camry…but it’s $40,000. Never mind again, I said. He said, you’re going to have to do something in between, but as long as you’re holding out, hold out for a hydrogen car.
He then launched into a description of hydrogen cars, how they work, why we don’t have them in the U.S., what it will take to get them, using ocean waves to generate power (which he had just watched a one-hour special about on TV), the evils of pollution, and so on. And suddenly he said, “Have you voted?”
I said, “Yes, yesterday.”
He said, “Well I hope it was for Barack Obama!”
Jeff is white and 50-ish more or less, and male and “blue-collar” but he’s a professional and he’s a thinker, and in spite of the continuing incessant rain, I felt like the sun had just come out. Eat dirt, Joe Plumber.