Monday, September 22, 2008


I’m running on reserve this morning. Actually, it’s the reserve tank on my daughters car, which I’m driving because I’m in a dispute with the State of Washington. My car failed its emissions test on Friday. Except for the fact that my car is easily the nicest and best running vehicle that I’ve taken through this ridiculous test in 8 years, and the only one to not pass, I’m not bitter. It is what it is. If they say that it’s a rolling case for global warming, who am I to argue. After all, I wouldn’t expect any less from the great green state of Washington than to be on the prowl for noxious offenders like me. I could even respect them for it. Until….
Until they gave me the explanation and the “packet of approved mechanics” which they recommend taking the offending vehicle to. Apparently, if you take your car to one of the mechanic mafia, spend “at least” $150 and it still doesn’t pass the test, then they will take pity on you and pass you anyway. My first question is, “what kind of solution to global warming is that?”. My car would still be driving around burning a hole in the ozone and making Seattle look more like L.A. everyday. Apparently it’s more about economics than environment. The important thing is that there would be $150 more out there in the economy. My second question is “who really gets my money?” My wife, who is a far better accountant than I am, seemed to have a quick solution to the problem. She offered to “cut out the middle man” and just give the $150 to the testing station. They weren’t biting though. Apparently at least some of the cut needs to go to the mechanic mafia, and I’m sure there would be hell to pay if they thought someone was skimming from the top.
One explanation given, which I can believe since I’ve lived here long enough, is that the law wouldn’t really be fair to lower income people who can’t afford more than $150 to have a repair done so we shouldn’t penalize them for destroying our environment. I wonder if that applied to the guy next to me, who passed by the way, in a car that obviously burned more oil than gas. Apparently, it’s not the choking black petroleum based smoke that will kill you, it’s the unseen vapors leaking inconspicuously from a smooth running engine. Those are the ones you can’t trust.
So I don’t get mad, I just get even. I’ve parked my offensive purveyor of pollution until I can get it in to see my mechanic who, by the way, is not a member of the mechanic mafia. In the mean time, I’ll drive my daughters car, which I was supposed to sell two months ago. Apparently God knew this day would come so He blessed my procrastination to provide me with a state approved “clean running vehicle”. Her car, which did pass while often times idling like a big diesel rig, is in desperate need of new Oxygen sensors which are pretty important in the emissions department. But don’t worry about the smoke and the fumes, the state says it’s just fine. The only problem with it this morning is that it’s still running on reserve.

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