Wednesday, February 15, 2006

car aerials and vaseline

When I bought my car a few years back it had one of those smart aerials that retracts when you switch off the engine and wander away. This was dead handy as destroying car aerials appears to be something of a sport to the delightful, youthful and often booze fuelled induhviduals that use our road as a shortcut. On my last car I had four aerials destroyed so decided that instead of putting in yet another metal aerial that was obviously inspiring these miscreants to create the new art of 'metal origami' I would install a rubber aerial. Needless to say they were obviously frustrated at my attempt to stifle their newly found creativity so they ripped the entire thing out of the side of the car, cable and everything.

So I decided to give metal aerials one last chance. Upon fitting the new aerial I covered it in a healthy dollop of Vaseline and set about decorating it with various lumps of mud and old fag ends. It looked like someone had covered a stick in treacle then set about fishing for second hand sweetcorn in one of those dog poo bins. I knew that within days it would be destroyed, but I took some solace in the knowledge that it would be bloody unpleasant for the perpetrator.

Once that aerial was destroyed I decided to quit spending money and used the traditional aerial replacement method of jamming a metal coat hanger in the whole. Yup, you guessed it, they even vandalized my coat hanger.

Anyhew, about six months ago and just like a horse that’s been out to stud for too many years, the aerial on my new car failed to rise to the occasion. Normally I would have fixed something like this a lot faster than six months but the problem with my current car is that it’s a Honda. Now don’t get me wrong, Hondas are damn fine cars, indeed this is the first car I’ve ever owned that I actually like! BUT, if something goes wrong with them you can’t fix when without a 23,000 piece Honda only toolkit. People say the Japanese language is the hardest in the world to learn, but I think it has to be the most complex just to deal with repairing Japanese made cars! So I eventually missed listening to the radio while scooting around the Suffolk countryside so much (and thanks to a little gentle nagging from my better half) that I decided to dig deep and take it to the main dealer to get repaired. Over the phone they told me that it sounded like the mast had gone, I decided that anyone with enough skill to hear my knackered aerial even while it wasn’t doing anything, and with the ability to form a diagnosis based on this must know their stuff. So I sucked in my breath, cast aside any manly assertions that I should be making this repair myself and booked my car in. When I arrived I was informed that the repair should cost no more than £70 and should take no longer than an hour. Had I known what the price was likely to be I would have placed a lump of coal between my buttocks and the resulting diamond would have more than covered the cost. I was politely pointed towards their ‘hospitality suite’ which comprised of five chairs each designed by ruthlessly efficient Japanese designers, to hold ruthlessly small Japanese bottoms. An hour passed by with the worlds loudest dog barking at anything bigger than a peanut when it moved within 100 yards or it’s bound muzzle (which was often as we were next to a main road), and each time it barked it was sternly told off by the worlds oldest and smallest woman. Eventually some lad in a suit came over to me and informed me that it wasn’t in fact the mast that was dead, it was the motor. So much for that sense of hearing then bubba. I asked how much that would cost to replace, at this point I should have learned my ‘coal lesson’ from the original quote and I may well have become the richest man on earth. I politely exclaimed, and possibly resorted to the language of my Anglo Saxon ancestors to express the point that the price they were quoting me was in fact more than my first car actually cost! How much did they want I hear you ask, whilst teetering on the edge of your seat, well, the conservative estimate for replacing a car aerial on a Honda that is nearing it’s tenth birthday appears to be somewhere in the region of £334!!! On the way home I went to Halfords and picked up a good old fashioned aerial for £12. The moral of the story is, while I was indoor writing this for you some bastard was probably outside attempting to make a pretty wire swan from my new aerial.

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