It all began two weeks ago. I drove home from bringing the kids to school and the power steering failed in our, once faithful, Camry.
“Oh, S***!” I said. I was thinking much worse: This could be expensive. The car reverted to brute force steering. I could manage it, but it was more dangerous as it induced a hearty grunt to crank the car around a normal corner.
I expected to receive payment for a job soon and I had looked forward to catching up on my other bills. So I was not eager to pay the mechanic. I simply topped up the power steering fluid and crossed my fingers.
Later that day, Miriam drove the car for a few errands. I was eager to hear how it worked after she came home.
“It was fine” she reported.
“Whew, that’s a relief. I guess the extra fluid may have helped after all.” I kept my fingers crossed and tried to ignore the niggling worry.
Unfortunately, the car had a niggling memory too. A week later, Miriam drove to a friend’s place to carpool. I received a call. “Howard, I got to Denise’s place, but the steering is terrible. It’s like the manual steering on that old Saturn. Very heavy.”
My heart sank. “Can you still drive it?”
“I got here, but I can’t keep driving it like this. What’s wrong? Is it dangerous to drive?”
“You can probably still drive it. The car always has the manual steering, if the power fails. But you have to be well prepared to crank hard.”
“I think we better take Denise’s car from here.”
“Yeah. Just drive it home later.”
Now we were both crossing our fingers and toes – hard, just like the steering. Mine were beginning to cramp. The car had some good days and some bad days. A few days later, Miriam chirped with “I think the car is just responding to my vibration. When I’m in a good mood, the car seems to work just fine. I think we can fix it with our energy!”
I’d heard this stuff before and didn’t care to argue. “Well, you can vibrate however you want to,” I oozed my sarcasm all over the floor. “But I got that check today. I’m calling Phil tomorrow for repairs.”
Later that evening, Miriam approached me excitedly. “What if this power steering fix is easier than we thought? I was getting anxious about that outstanding dentist bill, but what if we can get both of these bills readily paid off this week? Maybe the power steering will be so easy to fix that it costs less than $100. What if Phil can look at it tomorrow right away? What if it’s under $50? We don’t really know, so we might as well pre-pave it the way we want it. What if they can just adjust it for free?”
Have you ever felt bludgeoned with optimism? She might as well have been orating in Greek to convince a snake to fly. This snake wasn’t buying any of it. “No one’s going to fix this for free. The world doesn’t work that way!”
“We don’t really know. Why not imagine that it’s easy and costs nothing? At least we can feel a better vibration in the meantime.”
I bit my tongue. Oh Man, did I marry a vibrational maniac!? She’s really lost it this time. Never in a million years . . .
But there’s no point in reasoning with her when she’s in vibrate-up mode, so I nodded in dismissal. Let her have this vibration nonsense. Soon Miriam was chuckling with our son to some goofy music videos on Youtube. At first, this was just irritating, but when their laughter became out of control, I got curious. Soon I was laughing over her shoulder too.
The next morning I called Ambassador Auto Repair. Gerry at the front desk offered “Hiya Howie. Just bring it down now. We can check it this morning.” They even had an extra vehicle I could borrow while they looked at ours. At least it was a pleasure that we had such a great mechanic. Phil and Gerry always had friendly smiles. Some other mechanics might just be happy to see me because it meant more dollars in their bank account, but not Ambassador. I trusted that they would do the professional basics and at a reasonable price. I enjoyed Phil’s genuine laugh and how he loved to connect with people. It was a beautiful, sunny day as I left our car in their capable hands.
Before lunch, Gerry called back, “the car’s ready. We couldn’t find anything too serious. We checked the tension on the belt and lubricated the linkage. The power steering is pumping fluid really well now.”
When I went into the shop Phil gave me a hug – yes, a mechanic who hugs. “No charge for this one,” he offered.
“No charge!? Are you serious? Miriam said this would happen.” I was ready to plead: You’ve gotta charge me something or I’ll never hear the end of this.
“Don’t worry. There’ll be next time.” He replied with a wink.
I smiled as I settled back into our faithful Camry. I put on an Abraham-Hicks CD. I think I better listen to that part on vibrational reality again.
And thank you, Miriam, for holding onto joy regardless of my realistic reality.
To read the real story of what happened, read Miriam’s version here: How I Fixed My Power Steering.