It’s been a while since I flunked a test. But that dust-in-the-mouth taste, of wanting to prove oneself only to be found wanting, comes right back. And so does that sheepish feeling that I could have done better if… Seems like I’m right back in seventh grade.
My 1990 Camry did not pass Washington State’s emissions test, required for the annual renewal of my vehicle license. Apparently I’m blowing a few too many hydrocarbons out of my tailpipe. Carbon monoxide looks good, but not the hydrocarbons.
To be spewing hydrocarbons into the environment puts me in the same category as BP, and that’s embarrassing. Perhaps I should get a black “H” stitched onto my chest, proclaiming the shame of my polluting ways to all who are lucky enough to see me without a shirt. But there must be a better alternative, and I need to find it right away because my tabs have already expired.
Susan reminded me of the mechanic in a van who’s usually parked next to the testing station ready to help failures like me. I went by to check him out this morning only to find a sign on the fence behind his empty parking spot: “On vacation.” My regular mechanic said he couldn’t help me until Aug 31. Called my Russian mechanic, who said that his diagnostic equipment wouldn’t work on a car as *old* as mine. Is there no end to this humiliation? Maybe I should take “The Black Letter” after all.
Happily, the fourth time’s the charm. I’m taking the old Camry in tomorrow morning, and parting with $150 for the privilege. The mechanic offers morning shuttle service to give customers a ride home; that may ease the pain a bit. And unlike other tests, there should be an actual guarantee of passing this one on the next try. Hope so: it’s taking longer than I thought to get rid of that dust-in-the-mouth taste.