La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mid-morning rant

I don't usually rant. I try not to even complain that often. But somehow, dealing with car mechanics usually has a way of making me irritated.

You see, I have a couple of advanced degrees. That means that at a minimum, I study hard and can follow directions. Aside from that, I have an engineer for a dad who bought me my first erector set when I was in second grade. I learned how to use a screw driver at a young age. In high school, I taught myself (with help from my mom) to change the oil and replace the spark plugs in my '85 pontiac fiero. [Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of my fiero, which had the dubious distinction of being stolen (and abandoned) three times.] Anyone whose ever looked under the trunk/hood of a Fiero will know that changing the spark plugs or oil on that car is not easy. The point is that I'm educated and handy.

Fast forward to this morning. My '03 Jetta would not start. Long-story-short, I took it to the dealer because it's still under warranty. (There's another story about how the service department in this dealership didn't listen to me when I told them what was wrong the last time I took the car to them about a month after I bought it. They replaced the wrong part, and I was back the next day to get the part replaced that I had told them needed to be replaced in the first place....but I digress.)

While at the dealership, the young kid at the service desk says, "So it wouldn't start?" And I had to be very pointed and ask that he listen closely because the car starts fine now. It won't start cold and to get it to start you have to do this-that-and-the-other. He pretended to dutifully take notes.

Then, I say, "Oh, and I'd like to get the oil changed, synthetic oil only. I know the manual says replace the oil every 10K, but I like to do it every 5K, and it's over due."

His reply: "No, you're supposed to change the oil every 5K..." [shaking his head and looking like I'm some poor ditz...]

"Really? My manual says 10K."

"No, it's 5K, unless you have a diesel."

"No. Mine is a 2.0 L and it's 10K."

"'re overdue for an oil change."

"Well, now I've got to look at my manual because I could have sworn it was every 10K, and I make a point of doing it every 5K because I want to take good care of my Jetta."

[I go outside to my car and pull the manual. He follows to check the mileage on my car. I show him the page in my manual that lists my engine and says the scheduled oil changes and maintenance are every 10K miles. It was in bold and clear and indisputable...or so I thought.]

He says, "Well, it's a difference of interpretation. I've called VW and asked them and it's every 5K."

I say, "Interpretation? I don't think there's any problem with interpretation. It says plainly right here that my engine is every 10K. Diesels and Turbos are every 5K."

He continued to act as if he were right and shake his head and claimed that it was just a matter of interpretation.

I just left. But if I were Munger, I would have said, "No. It's a matter of being able to read plain English." It was one of those times that I wished I were more like Munger and would have made a bigger fuss about it. But, I'm wondering, would it even work since I'm a 5 foot, blonde who looks a bit younger than she is? Is Munger able to get away with pointing out how stupid people are because he's a big guy?

posted by Michelle @ 11:26 AM,


At 2/06/2006 2:19 PM, Blogger mungowits said...

I'm afraid you are right.

Humans are apes.

Men are not very bright apes.

So, interpret THIS, you little dork desk guy.

At 2/06/2006 2:40 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

So... I need to learn how to pretend to be a big, intimidating ape....

At 2/06/2006 2:47 PM, Blogger mungowits said...

No, just remember something you already know: the disapproval of men is a pathetic attempt at dominance.

And since when have you cared about THAT?

At 2/13/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/13/2006 4:12 PM, Anonymous RL from Toronto said...

I find that the phone is a great equalizer. I can totally tell people that they are being idiots without having lifted weights this month over the phone.

At 2/13/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Ok, but do you have to lower your voice to sound like the alpha-dog when you tell people they are being idiots?

And Munger's right: I don't usually care about male approval, but I should probably start if I want to get tenure. :)


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