nor as complete as your typical dental office
Thursday, January 11 2007
It was an unusually cold day given the standard of this winter, but in any other winter it would have been considered an ordinary day. Indeed, it would have been considered better than average because there was no snow or precipitation to contend with, just blustery winds and temperatures in the thirties. After a normal Woodstock outing (a housecall followed by pizza at Catskill Mountain Pizza), I drove out to Ulster Avenue in Kingston in search of a place to get an oil change. I can be a bad car parent and in this case I'd allowed a year to pass without changing the oil in the Honda Civic. (Up until recently oil changes weren't all that important because none of the vehicles I drove had the ability to hold oil for the six months between prescribed oil changes.) I also needed to get an inspection done, which is always stressful because Gretchen and I tend to drive the kinds of cars that auto shops like to fail, if only for the leftist (though increasingly popular) sentiments expressed on their bumpers. I was driving with no particular destination in mind; I just knew that Ulster Avenue is a habitat conducive to auto service companies. Sure enough I came upon an instance of the Valvoline franchise. The guy with whom I entrusted my car didn't look like he'd solved any differential equations recently, but this errand was more about faith than most of what I do in an average day.
Conveniently for those who drop off their cars on Ulster Avenue, there are a number of places within walking distance to idle away time. The closest was the Ulster County Library, a modern building with expensive sliding doors and obviously experienced librarians staffing the desk. I mostly went in there to take advantage of their clean public men's room, but then I felt obligated to engage in something resembling library business. At first I thought I'd check out the periodicals and newspapers, but they were neither as current nor as complete as your typical dental office. So then I wandered back to the stacks to see what could be found and was left wondering what the record was for the smallest collection of books indexed by the Dewey Decimal System. The Ulster County Public library does have a fair number of internet-equipped computers, where most of the patrons were seated. We live in post-book era.
More interesting was the Salvation Army, where I looked fruitlessly for a pair of trousers in dimensions compatible with my body.
In the end the car passed its inspection and I felt like I'd won the lottery. Just a few days before the check engine light had come. I'd cleared it with the diagnostic reader but had done nothing to correct any underlying problems.
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