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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Feisty Mechanics

Of all the things that I thought would get my car boys all in a tizzy, I never would have guessed that feisty drama would come in the form of a discussion on dash lights. Yes, dashboard indicator lights. Those lights that tell you when you need to perform maintenance on your car, or when something is wrong, or when you have the ABS system turned on. You see, things never stay on the same topic with these boys. They go from one extreme to the other, following a flow of consciousness that defies my logic.

But first, at the beginning of class while we're patiently and quietly waiting for Mr. Shado to begin speaking, Kicks (so named because he came into class one evening with a sweet pair of green Converse on--I haven't written of him before) got a new text message. We know this because through the silence came his loud text message notification: "You got another fucking text message." I can't help but wonder if his momma knows about his cell phone's proclivity for profanity.

Ah, dash lights. Dash lights led to a discussion on how often you need to change your oil. Mr. Shado offered every 5-6,000 miles, to which The Bandit doubtfully groaned, “I don’t know about that, man. I’d do it more than that.” Which led to a discussion on owner’s manuals (and how I happen to still have mine in my bag from a previous exercise—they all thought I carried it around with me all the time) and how even if your owner’s manual says to change it every 5,000 miles, many of the boys agreed that you should still do it every 3,000. In the end, no resolution was agreed upon and the discussion meandered to how long people have gone without oil changes and all the guys who work in shops compared stories for a while. The longest time between oil changes was 22,000 miles. Seriously. Twenty-Two Thousand Miles. Even I know it should be changed more often than that.

Dash lights then led to a discussion on the high-end vehicle components, like the Heads Up Display that will show your MPH on the windshield as you drive, or the new night vision technology that will project a night vision display onto the windshield on top of the view from the headlights.

All-American: “Yeah, cop cars are being equipped with that these days.”
The Amateur: “I don’t know, man. Every time I’ve been arrested, there wasn’t a night vision camera on the cop car. I mean, they have the front end camera and the GPS and the lap top and the handcuffs. But no night vision camera.”

Later, Boom Box (as he is wont to do) asked Mr. Shado a random question about engines as we were coming back from break:

Boom Box: "Hey Mr. Shado. Do you think they'll ever make a 2 stroke/V8 engine?" (Now, please note that I have no idea what a stroke is in relation to the cylinders in an engine, but there wasn't an opportunity for me to ask as the room erupted into heated discussion. I may get some of the conversation wrong here--there were so many stroke/cylinder combinations coming by in a flurry that I couldn't get it all straight in my head.)
Mr. Shado: "No, I don't think so."
All-American: “Aren’t some aircraft engines made like that?”
Boom Box: "If someone wanted to make one, could he?"
The Bandit: "Well, they have 2 stroke/4 cylinder engines in lawn mowers and stuff."
The Amateur: "I have a 4 stroke/4 cylinder blower that's the most powerful blower on the market." (Many groans of disbelief.) "Seriously, I have a lawn maintenance business and I'm tell you--"
All-American: "So do I and I don't think---"
The Bandit: "My weed whacker has a cord that plugs into the wall, dude."
The Amateur: "You need to get more power, dude. Seriously. I'm telling you. You can't get a more powerful blower than the one I have."
The Bandit: "Oh yes you can. Her name's Alyssa and she's at home."

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