There are a lot of things in life you can get away with putting off doing--unpacking your suitcase after a tiring trip, organizing your closet, filling out superfluous paperwork at work, getting out of bed in the morning to pee before you're ready to get up (I don't recommend putting that off too long). But I learned today it's not a good idea to put off having your brakes checked when they start showing signs of wear and tear.
My brakes had been squeaky for a while. I'd like to say that means they started squeaking a few weeks ago, but it was more like ten months ago. Until the past month, the noise didn't amount to much. By then the sound grew loud enough that I could hear it even with my radio blaring. Still, I had better things to do besides take the car to Value Brakes. That is, until two days ago when the squeaking was accompanied by a grinding, I-think-may-wheel-may-fall-off noise.
So today I broke down and took Clifton (yes, I named my car) in for repairs. The front left brake was metal on metal, the rotor needed resurfacing, and both front brakes needed new calipers and brake pads. And all for the price of just $402! Of course, I had no room to complain about the cost. I'd expected the repairs to be expensive.
And so the wait began. Every repair shop is basically the same. There's a water cooler, a TV with terrible reception, and a stack of six-month-old magazines. And all you can do to pass the time is thumb through the magazines and think about any number of things you'd rather be doing or how much money you're about to spend. A repair shop isn't as bad as a doctor's office, though. After waiting in the lobby, the mechanic doesn't lead you into the garage where you wait longer. And, better yet, nobody examines your nether regions. Still, with two hours needed for repairs, I wasn't about to sit around the whole time.
Strolling around in search of a place to buy a snack, I spotted Sheridan's Custard. With a menu the length of a phone book, a shaded patio, and oldies playing over the speakers, it proved the perfect place to enjoy a frosty treat on a hot day. (Ah, the delight of mocha almond custard.) I found out this evening that Sheridan's has locations in ten states: http://www.sheridansfrozencustard.com/
When I returned to Value Brakes, I was surprised to find they actually had a few intriguing magazines, including a Smithsonian with an article on Shakespeare. (Yes, I teach English.)
Taking a stroll on a sunny afternoon, enjoying some mocha custard, and reading a good magazine. That's not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Well, as long as I leave out the part about the $400.