Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Stupidity leads to rewarding chat

My garage doors are 83 in. wide; my car 78 in. That’s 2½ in. clearance on either side of the wing mirrors. Believe me, it looks less.

Entering and leaving the garage are just one problem. Inside, I ease the car inches to the left so I can open the driver’s door. Chalk marks on the wall help position the car longitudinally; carpet attached to both walls protects the bodywork. For ten years I have managed these mini-journeys successfully but three days ago I scratched the offside front wing (US: fender) on a quite different variant of the exit route.

The man at Auto Chips said it would cost £150. I thought the rate was about £40. “That’s if you’re shortly going to sell the car. If you’re keeping it you need something permanent.” My aim was to obliterate evidence of my own stupidity so I opted for the latter. I asked questions and he answered them fully, pleased at my interest.

The higher cost covers repainting the whole wing and then drying it in an oven. While it’s still on the car! We stood in a car-size chamber heated to 75 deg F. “People get the wrong idea about our oven,” he said, grinning. There was more. He knew his stuff and enjoyed explaining it in detail. It was (professionally), and still is, one my great pleasures to talk to a communicative expert – on anything.

I told Mrs B that the car was destined for the inside of an oven. “Remember to take the long-distance sweets (US: candy) out of the door compartments,” she said.


Julia said...

For the paint job not designed to last, do they paint it and not heat it? Is it possible to mimic the effect with a very hot blower of some sort?

Last question - what long distance sweets (called bonbons here) do ya'll favor? We're gummy bear fans ourselves.

Plutarch said...

Simkins. "travel sweets since 1921"?

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: It's as if you're still editing me (sympathetically) by way of a mystical variant of a TV remote. Given my sub-300-word limit I wasn't able to explain what a paint job "not designed to last" consisted of. And here you pop up and encourage me to do so as a comment. In fact it's done either by an aerosol plus a bit of "feathering" or mixing up tubes of the prescribed tints with a volatile base. Both of these systems only treat the local area whereas the expensive system does the whole wing. Interestingly the oven is far gentler than a blower and I believe the slower drying contributes to the job's longevity.

Sweets. First they've got to be hard, they've got to last. Werther's, a toffee which breaks up into shards as thin and as sharp as glass are popular. Transparent fruit thingies (made by the company that does Fox's Glacier Mints) are also preferred. The French try vainly to compete with something called acidulées but I am the only member of our family who can stomach them. We do make an exception, like you, with the UK gummy bear equivalent called jelly babies. To slow down their ingestion the idea is to perform post-mortem surgery on them using just the tongue.

Plutarch: New to me, but clearly not new to the world. To tell the truth I could so with a handful. I've just finished a Miltonian sonnet without hallucinating, but it was a close-run thing.

Julia said...

I had a feeling your 300 word limit was hampering a full description so thought I'd dig a bit!

By the way, did I ever pass along my idea for an alternative to the 300 word limit? I thought it might be fun to start the week at 150 words, Tuesday at 200, and continue to progress to Friday's 700.

Werthers are tasty. We'll have to try them on our next trip!

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: From 150 - 700 words. An ingenious idea but you're forgetting my avowed technology theme (somewhat blurred at the moment by my amateurish attempts at versifying). There are subjects I know will bore most people stiff; I do my best because they interest me and accept the lack of response. As a compromise, and as a way of imposing self-discipline, I observe the 300-word barrier. I fear that a curve describing reader response to a series of posts gradually increasing in length would follow a sad a predictable path.

Julia said...

I'm sure you could make 700 words about technology interesting, but on the other hand, having a regular limit is freeing to the brain, allowing it to worry on more important stuff (like subject matter, and how to keep your sausage uncurled).