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Brakes & Vipers

April 25, 2003

Yesterday I started my car and headed in to work. A normal day, right? Well I noticed as I pulled up to a red light that there was a loud grinding sound coming from my car. Or maybe it was a plane flying overhead -- but airplanes don't normally pass over Ybor City.

I stopped at the next red light, and there the noise was again, even louder this time. It was a loud grinding and screeching, as if an agitated cat was stuck inside my engine or something. But once my car came to a halt, the noise subsided. Brake problems. Bad news.

Luckily I made it to work and back without trouble, though the horrid noise made stop-and-go traffic even less pleasurable than normal. As soon as I got in, I called up "Just Brakes", a company that advertises on the Bubba the Love Sponge show (always like to give my business to show sponsors). They told me they opened at 7 AM; I booked an appointment to be there then.

6:30 rolled around awfully early this morning, but such is life. I got to Just Brakes just after 7. They took apart the tire sections of the car and then showed me the damage. Worn rotors, almost completely depleted brake pads, etc. Total bill: $675. Ouch! I'm not a car expert, but their descriptions of the problems with the brakes didn't look good. At all. And better that than brake failure.

Waiting around in the lounge area was slow. They had several magazines, but they were all car-related. Would a Sports Illustrated or a Time be a little too much to ask? A blonde with a Reese Witherspoon look going on came in at one point. It was funny watching her interact with the Just Brakes crew; they wanted to charge her $900, but she got her dad on her cell phone and decided to forego replacing the rotors for the moment (lowering the cost to $475 or so). Unfortunately for Blonde Ambition, her credit card limit was low. A $450 charge wouldn't go through; ditto for $400. Finally $375 went through. It was like on The Price Is Right when the contestants all overbid. She then paid the remainder of her balance via check.

I guess she had a ride, because she left (and I went from checking out her legs to flipping back through the Auto magazine selection). It was interesting running across a blurb about Warren Mosler in an article about specialty high-end car creators (it turns out that the vast majority of them fail in their efforts, which makes Warren's success all the better). And toward the end of my wait, I found a really sweet section about the Dodge Viper. I love that car. If I have the cash someday to buy one, I'll learn how to drive stick-shift; it'd be worth it for that bad boy.

Barring something unexpected, I plan to go to Livestock tonight. Should be a wild time. I'll tell you all about it on the flip side...

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