Friday, October 22, 2010


The spy car.  Notice the colour of the other vehicles.

Yesterday, the spy car had a flat tire.

It came with a lifetime supply, (its lifetime not mine), of GM roadside assistance so I called the toll free number.

A machine picked up. " Welcome to GM Roadside Assistance. Do you need assistance with a GM product or with a ..."


I was phoning GM Roadside assistance wasn't I? What else could they possibly help me with?

"Push '1' if you need assistance for a GM product. Push '2' if you need help with a ...."

Hoping I wasn't giving up an offer to have one of GM's accountants find tax loopholes for me, I hit number 1 on the key pad.

The same voice said, "Thank-you. Please enter the last six digits of your VIN number."

My VIN number?

Where on earth was the spy car's VIN number? I looked around frantically wondering if other people actually know these things. I spotted a long number on the card I was holding.

I took a chance and entered the last six digits.

The line connected and a real person answered.

"Hello, my name is She-who-knows-cars. How may I help you?"

"Oh hi," I imploded with relief, "I've got a flat tire."

She-who-knows-cars said, "Do you have a spare tire, Ma'm?"

I had no idea if I had a spare tire.

"Welllll, it's a 2009 ... I must have a spare tire?"

My voice rose because I was really asking She-who-knows-cars if she knew if I had a spare tire.

She didn't tell me.

"What colour is your vehicle, Ma'm."

"What do you mean what colour is my vehicle? It's a spy car and Judging by the number of cars that are the same colour as mine in every parking lot in Canada it's the only colour you guys have!"

Okay, after I got home that's what I imagined myself saying.  What I really said was, "Wellllll, it isn't white. It's beige, I guess. No wait, maybe a cream colour. No, I think it is actually kind of a bland colour."

She accepted that. I guess 'bland' is a GM car colour.

They aren't proud.


She-who-knows-cars said, "What is your licence plate number, Ma'm."

This was going from bad to worse. Remember when you were a kid and you learned to spell 'geography' by memorizing 'George Eton's Old Grandmother Rode A Pig Home Yesterday?

That's right. My licence plate starts with All Zebras Yell Viciously. Which is a great gimmick if you are writing it down but not so good if you are telling someone.

"Welllll, it's...," (I had to pause while I pictured the first word), "A..."


(Another pause while I pictured the second word), "Z..."

She made me get out of the car and look at the licence plate.

Then she said, "What city are you in?" (Probably hoping I was somewhere far away from her.)

I, however, was totally happy that I finally knew the answer to something.

"I'm in St. Catharines!" I said triumphantly. "I'm at the Museum."

If She-who-knows-cars had been a little friendlier I would have told her about the cool doll house my friend Linda had catalogued that day, but sadly we weren't bonding.

"What street is the Museum on?"

"What street is the Museum on?" I repeated like an idiot.

I could see the street from the parking lot.

I drive from North Pelham to the Museum every week.

But I had no idea of the name of the street.

I turned around and looked at the canal.

"Wellllll, I don't know about a street name but it's at lock 3. Lock 3 of the Welland Canal!" I said as if the Museum could only be reached by ocean liner.

I nodded enthusiastically into the phone. Maybe there was still a chance we could be friends. I was dying to tell somebody about the doll house.

She disconnected for a second.

"All right Ma'm," she said when she returned, "We'll have someone there in about 45 minutes. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"

There it was again. GM offering their crooked accountants.

I have standards.

And I was mad she wasn't going to give me the time to talk about the doll house.

"No thank you," I said coldly.

The tow truck came within 15 minutes and the driver said that 'I' had a slow leak.

I pondered this while he filled the tire. 

He told me to go to a garage.

As I pulled into the tire and battery shop I thought to myself, "Well that wasn't too bad. It was free and now I know everything I need to know about how to get a flat tire fixed.

I drove onto the lot and then stepped out of the spy car with a smile.

I was a woman in charge of her own life. Knowledgeable about the ways of the road, automotively informed, vehicley literate.

Nothing could stop me now.

"I'll need your wheel key," said the mechanic.




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