too many words by laura lemay

The oil change

This last saturday I paid homage to the god of oil changes (who requires worship once every 3K miles). I like changing the oil in my car. It gives me a nice feeling of superiority over many members of my sex, not to mention allowing me to get really gritty (I don’t have many opportunities to get gritty as a writer. Well, I suppose I could purposefully get gritty on my own, but it woulnd’t be the same).

At the start of the oil change, I kept having this really strong premomition that I was going to do something really stupid. I don’t often get this premonition; the last time I did it I was in the process of typing rm -rf *.doc in my home directory (I don’t think I need to explain what it was I actually *did* type. 🙂 So, I was really careful throughout the oil change. I didn’t cut my knuckles on the manifold when the oil plug came loose. I managed to unscrew the oil plug without dropping it into the pan, and I got the pan centered properly under the oil. I got the oil filter out without burning myself, or dribbling the oil that was in the filter all over the engine. I put in the oil filter with a minimum of turning the filter wrench over, backwards and upside down to try and remember which way it goes to get it to turn in the right direction. I remembered to put the oil plug back in, And I even managed to put in the right amount of oil without spilling any.

So I got into my car to turn it on, and the oil light blinked right off. Easy, thought I. No problem. But then, I heard a strange noise. A sort of gurgling noise. Thats funny, thought I, I’ve never heard that before. I got out of the car, with the engine still running, to see if I could hear more clearly where the gurgling was coming from.

I looked around the hood, which was still up, and was met with the reason why I had my stupid premonition (and the source of the gurgling noise). I had neglected to replace the oil cap after I had put the oil in, and the workings of the engine were happily spewing oil all over everything, much in the way juice in a blender on liquefy would react sans lid.

“Well,” said I (this being a short summary of what I actually said), turned off the car, replaced the oil cap, and mopped up the engine, the hood, the fenders, the bumpers, and the driveway.

I figured I had gotten away cheap; it was a stupid thing to do, yes, but not nearly as painful as some of the other stupid things I had done. So happily I got back into the car to put it rightways into the driveway. I drove out into the street….and I realized that I had left the pan of old oil under the car.

Scrape scrape dump oooze.