Saturday July 5 2014

Express mechanics and DMCs

By Eugene Mugisha

I’m all for educating the girl-child, and building nations and all those women empowerment initiatives. But, she cannot use that as reason for my extreme dislike of her latest effort to empower herself by acquiring knowledge. Knowledge about cars.

Now, all of a sudden, she is an expert on cars. Yes, just because she attended the Daily Monitor car clinic. She had to cancel another event to attend the clinic, and yet she doesn’t even own a car. I didn’t give it a second thought until the next day when we were leaving for church.

I found her examining each of the tyres. Before, I doubt she was even aware that car had tyres. Then, as a matter of fact, she informed me that the one on the left did not have enough pressure. Yes, it wasn’t critical. We got into the car, and we were on our way. As we waited to turn into the main road, I put the car in neutral and then she said, “That rattle you hear, its the clutch.

You misuse the clutch.” And she zipped up. I looked at her, to see if she was kidding, but, she wasn’t. Yes, there is a rattling sound, but it is just a few loose things that rattle when the car is in idle. It has nothing to do with the clutch. I told her this, but she didn’t respond. She had been informing me, not discussing the issue.

Then, suddenly, I lurched onto the road, and tore down the hill. I shifted from gear two to four, and I could see her turn to look at me to see if I was alright upstairs. Thankfully, the church is not very far, so, within a few minutes, we had arrived. I parked, but she made me park in reverse. I don’t know what that has to do with maintenance, and I didn’t ask.

She also noted that I had burnt the clutch getting into the church parking, and I shouldn’t over use it. I was beginning to get seriously irritated. Not because she wasn’t right, but because of the smart-ass way she was laying it on me. Church went without incident. Thankfully, no mention of cars or gears or engine oil. After church, she wanted me to drop her off at the salon.

As chance would have it, I nearly ran over a motorcycle guy as I turned off the main road. These guys are careless, every one knows it, that is all of a sudden, besides her. I had indicated well, but the guy must not have seen it.

After he got out of the ditch, he came at me shouting how I had turned without indicating. but I had, she had also seen it, since she had been watching me like a driving instructor. When we checked the indicator, it wasn’t working.

She looked at me, horrified at the prospect that I drive a car in extremely Dangerous Mechanical Condition, possibly with non functioning brakes, and shaking her head like I was too tiring to be around with, walked off into the salon. When I asked her what time she wanted me to pick her up, she gave me a polite “No, thank you, I will take a cab”. Now, all of a sudden, my car is a DMC? Not safe enough for her royal highness!

Thank you Daily Monitor, but, shouldn’t such trainings be preceded by some kind of user-friendliness counselling?