More Stuff

There’s one more thing in the car repair saga. That left-turn signal light that popped out on impact? I was able to reinsert it temporarily, and I thought it was just a matter of replacing the screw to hold it in place. Nope, the part was broken, too. Though the screw that had held it was still in place, the part had broken away from it. Plastic.

OK, so I figured this was a cosmetic blemish that I could remedy in due time as long as the light stayed in. I know how expensive Honda parts are. But after the short jaunt home from Firestone, there the thing was dangling again.

I can’t risk it flapping around and scratching the paint, becoming lost completely, and/or I suppose such an offense (“non-working turn signal”) might be worthy of a traffic ticket? You know I don’t need that. To address the former, flapping possibility, I unplugged the bulb, let it hang down inside, and removed the signal assembly altogether. The gaping socket stared sightless, while its reproach was heard clearly, “See what you did to me!”

Obviously, I was not going to be allowed to ignore it. To address the latter, legal liability possibility (as well as the cosmetic insult), I went to a Honda dealer to get a new part. I first asked whether the housing and lens I had in my hand was actually one part or two. You would hope the lens would be separate. But of course it’s not. And even the Parts guy did a double-take at the price – $90. Then he kindly volunteered the existence of a salvage yard that was exclusive to erstwhile Honda cars, Honda Heaven. Perhaps salvation awaited me there, and so I was on my way to heaven.

Predictably, salvage heaven was a ways out from town, down a pot-holed country road. But the car was hanging in, and I, too, was up for an encounter with the good ole boys who will be my sal-vors. When I walked in with my damaged 1995 Honda del sol “L turn fdr mt”, the guy in the corner muttered, “Nope, can’t find parts.” The guy behind the desk, however, searched in his computer, and lo, he had one, the left-side one, the one I needed.

“It’s forty-five dollars,” he said.

“Wonderful.”

“That was too quick. It’s fifty-five,” he quipped.

“Uh, Nope!”

He went out a door and shortly came back with the part. Black dirt clung to it, as if just unearthed from the grave. Appropriate, I guess… I brandished my MasterCard, upon which he said that he couldn’t run a credit card when the weather is sulky, his communication system was down. The utility infrastructure out there was just a few generations behind on bandwidth. (I told you it was down a country road.)

“There is a Wells Fargo down the road with a drive-in ATM,” he offered kindly, “and the total is $48.71.” Obviously, there was no point in asking if he’d take a check, or take my card number and run it later. I’m just that suspicious looking.

Dang! I abhor paying money to access my own money. It doesn’t make sense. I’ll have to pay a fee at this ATM. But I’m here, and they have the part. No sense either in having to make another trip back later just to avoid the fee. I found Wells Fargo and made a successful withdrawal of $60 plus the three-dollar fee, which now makes the part $51.71. Well, that’s still better than $90 plus tax.

Back at Honda Heaven, I tendered the three 20-dollar bills. In change, he gave me 12 dollars, after rounding down in my favor. That shaved my out-of-pocket cost to $51. Picking up my “new” Honda part, I asked if he would dispose of the “old” part that was broken. His reply: “Oh.”

As I left, the guy in the corner said, “Take care of your car. Can’t find parts.”

Driving toward home I realized that I’d just made another mistake! They would keep my damaged part to sell to the next Del Sol devotee who would gladly pay, say, $45? for a slightly damaged part to replace one that was completely shattered or missing.

The three-dollar ATM fee, which I incurred knowingly, was nothing compared to this lapse. I hate it when I throw money out the window like that, or was it over the curb, in this case? “Can’t find parts!” But now I have no choice. I will never again have a need to replace that particular part. It won’t happen. Not an option. So be it. Amen.

Then I won’t need to regret that mistake all over again, too.

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