Monday, October 29, 2007

The Light Bulb

Everything is too difficult these days.

I had some work done on my car a couple weeks ago and they told me that one of the four brake lights was burned out so they removed it but did not have a replacement in stock as they don't see a lot of cars like mine. Carlos gave me the burned out bulb so I could see it was burned out and said, "Well, Bob, bring 'er on back down here tomorrow or the next day and we'll stick a new one in there for ya. No charge."

So I went back a couple days later in my other car to get the brakes on that one fixed because they were making an awful noise. And after they fixed the brakes and I paid them 787 dollars for that, I figured I could just take the new bulb home and stick it in the other car myself, so I said, "Say, Carlos, I seem to recall you owe me a bulb for my other car." And Carlos said, "Well, Bob, you got me dead to rights there, ol' buddy, but we kinda forgot to get a new one for ya. Now what number was that ol' burnt-out bulb we took out of 'er the other day? "

So I said, "I don't exactly know, Carlos, 'cause I left the bulb at home." And Carlos said, "Well, Bob, when you get home you just give us a call and give me the number and I'll get a new one and you can come on back down and we'll put 'er in there for ya."

So I started to drive home and got about half a block and the brakes were making an awful noise even more awful than the noise they were making before. Plus the brake pedal went all the way to the floor before the car would even think about stopping. This did not seem quite right.

So I turned around and drove back to the car place and when I drove in Carlos said, "Whoa!, Bob that don't sound right! I think you got a problem with them brakes we fixed." And I said, "You know, Carlos, I thought the same thing myself."

So Carlos had the boys check 'er out and, sure enough, they kinda forgot to do a thing or two when they fixed the brakes earlier that day, so Carlos said, "Well, Bob, just have a seat in there in the waiting room with the big fuzzy TV and the artificial coffee machine and watch Fox News and have a cup of artificial coffee on us while we make 'er right for ya."

So after half an hour or so of "Fair and Balanced" Carlos came into the waiting room and said, "Well, Bob, she's all done now and sorry about the trouble. And there's no more to pay than the 787 dollars you already paid." And I think he thought I was supposed to think he was being pretty generous about that.

So I got on home late for supper and I found the old bulb on the dresser under the cat and I called up the shop and this voice said, "Well, now, we're closed up and won't be open until tomorrow morning so give us a call back then."

Next morning I put the old bulb in the pocket of my old jeans and went to work and when I got there I picked up the phone and dialed up my old buddy Carlos and when he answered I said, "Howdy, Carlos, this is Bob and I got that bulb here to give you the number." And he said, "Bob? Well, now, what Bob is that and what bulb are you talking about?"

So I told him the story just like I told you and he said, "Oh, yeah. Bob. I remember now. So what was the number on that bulb and I'll order one up for ya." And I reached down into the pocket of my jeans. Now there is a reason I don't often wear those jeans even though they are my favorite pair and that has to do with the fact that there is a little hole in the pocket of those jeans that small things, say the size of a brake light bulb, can slip through and never be seen again except by some guy walking down the street who says, "Well, now, lookit this, what have we here? Why it seems to be a burnt-out bulb of some kind."

So I said to Carlos, "You know Carlos, there seems to be a little complication here and I guess I don't really have that bulb any more." And Carlos said, "Well, Bob, you can just pull out one of the other bulbs and read the number off of it and it'll be the same number."

But I did not have that car with me at the office, of course, so I said, " I'll get back to you on that tomorrow or so, Carlos." And Carlos said, "Good enough, Bob. We are here to serve you."

So when I got home I went down in the garage and I took another brake light bulb out of the car and went back upstairs and called up Carlos and he happened to be there and he said, "Well, Bob, I'll order up that bulb and you can come on down here tomorrow afternoon and we'll put 'er in there for ya."

Now it was kind of complicated to get that bulb out of the car the way they make those things these days, so I figured I'd just let the boys down at the shop put both those bulbs back in there, the one that was burned out and the good one that had supplied the number.

So the next day I drove the car with both missing brake light bulbs to the office and I left work early and went over to the shop and Carlos wasn't there. So I said to one of Carlos's boys, "Hello there. I'm Bob and Carlos said he ordered a bulb for my car and you boys would put it in there for me, but I don't see Carlos around here this afternoon."

And one of Carlos's boys, the tall one with the beard and the deep voice, said, "Well, now sir, you are right on the money on that one; Carlos is not here and I don't know nothin' about this bulb you are talkin' about and from the looks of that car we don't normally have those bulbs and we would have to order it up for ya." So I said, "But you see Carlos said he already ordered up a bulb so it must be around here someplace."

And as he was just about to shake his head another one of Carlos's boys who was busy wiping the grease off his hands with a dirty red rag said, "You know I think the man is right because I heard Carlos say he got that bulb and he put it in the office on his desk in there in case this man come back to get the bulb put in."

And a third one of Carlos's boys joined the circle of us standing around a grease spot there in the middle of the shop and he said, "That's right. That bulb is in Carlos's office because I seen it in there myself just after lunch."

And the first one made kind of a humming sound and thought about that while he took a pack of smokes out of his shirt pocket and put one in his mouth. And after he lit it up and took a suck of his smoke he said, "Well now that's a good thing." And then he coughed a bit before he went on, "but the bad thing is, you see, Carlos's office is all locked up now and he won't be back until Tuesday, you see, because he is off fishing until then."

Now of course nobody had a spare key for Carlos's office and I said that did not seem like a very smart way to run a business and they all agreed that, no, that wasn't a good idea but that was how Carlos wanted it: only one key and that one in Carlos's pocket.

So when Tuesday rolled around I drove the car with the two brake lights missing over to Carlos's shop and he said, "Well now, Bob, where you been? I got this brake light here for 'ya, so pull 'er right up into the bay here and we'll stick 'er in there for 'ya."

And I said, "Well, thank you Carlos I'm glad to hear that and I wonder if you got the time to stick in the other bulb I pulled out of there to check the number." And Carlos said he sure did and that would be no problem at all.

So as I asked him if he'd caught any fish I reached down into the pocket of my favorite old jeans.

And then I said to Carlos, "Well, now, Carlos, you wouldn't happen to have another one of those bulbs now would you? And Carlos said, "Well, no, just this one. But I could order one for 'ya."

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