All the way through your working life, you'll encounter all manner of folk asking you questions. After all, it's an adult way of learning; nothing more. Particularly if you're a mechanic, or whatever. It rather seems that such things as electrical circuits and motor vehicles come under the heading of "black arts"; both of which are insignificant until you find yourself with a need to know. The most amazing of these is the lack of comprehension when it comes to reading maps, particularly amongst drivers. How some people find their way to the corner shop defeats me! In my time as a recovery driver, you wouldn't believe the amount of times I've been asked "which way is ........" at motorway services. The all time classic must be the lady that approached me today with a ream of questions whilst I loaded a customer's vehicle. She was driving a rental car, and a warning light had come on. Sensibly, she had pulled into the services, and sought assistance.
"I have this car on rental, and don't know where anything is"
"Okay ma'am. What's your problem?"
"How do I check the oil?"
"By using the dipstick, ma'am"
"What's that, and where do I find it?"
Today is going to be a long day. I have this feeling that this conversation will turn bad.
"Under the bonnet, ma'am."
"But I don't know how to open it!"
At this point, I figure that whichever company hired this vehicle must be manned by morons. Or they like to give us more work than we can handle. These are the basic requirements of vehicle ownership - knowing where to put oil, water, etc. So I finish what I'm doing, and render assistance. To find she isn't watching.
"This lever here releases the bonnet. The safety catch is here - pull it out to open the bonnet. This here is the dipstick. I'll check the oil for you!
To find the oil level at the barest minimum. Words fail me. "You'll most likely need a couple of litres of engine oil in there! This is where you pour it in."
Problem solved. Or so I thought.
"I've got another question before you go. How do I get to the A14? Am I heading in the right direction?"
Usually, I'm known for keeping a straight face, but this is a cracker! I attempt to hide a wide grin which I know will look like a smirk.
"No, ma'am, you must have passed the junction to get here. But not to worry; if you take the A508 to the left (please God, let it be she knows left from right) and follow that, it turns into the A45. Continue following it until you see signs for the A14, at which you turn right."
"Ooh, thank you ever so much. Do you think I should put some oil in the car?"
Santo Christi! This woman must be using hair dye! After being shown and told that her car is low on oil, she comes out with that. I just can't wait to get into the truck and go. Anywhere!
There should be a law passed that every motorist must have a road atlas.
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