Sunday, September 11, 2005

AirCare - something to care about

I did something for the first time yesterday. I brought my car in for emissions inspection.

Here in BC, we have to do this every year before we can renew the vehicle registration. Mine was expiring this week so I had to go for this test with enough lead time for repairs and reinspection in case it fails the first time.

I was so anxious. Nobody likes to fail the AirCare test. No one wants the possibility of failing a second time or getting his or her vehicle grounded.

Malcolm of Honda told me two months ago that all I needed to do prior to the test was to drive for 30 minutes and to keep the engine running at the lineup.

Yesterday, I decided to go to the AirCare Centre in Langley. At the entrance, the sign read “Wait Time: 11 minutes”. There were three lanes and a few vehicles at the lineup. I made sure I kept my engine running. I kept my prayers running as well. “Oh, God, you know I can’t afford not to have a car. I have kids to take to school and I need it to go to work…”

The AirCare Centre looked like a big garage with several testing gadgets. When it was my turn, a big guy signalled me to drive in and park at the first of three stops. Big Guy looked through my window.

“Please pull up your emergency brake,” he said.

“Which one is that?” I asked. When he pointed to the hand brake, I felt so stupid.

“Open your gas cap, please,” he continued. I got this one.

The inspection started and after I had paid $23, I was told to drive forward to the second stop a few feet ahead where Medium Guy was waiting. He attached a huge hose to the muffler (oh, I got this one too..) He told me to step out of the car, and he hopped in to do his stuff. I went to the washroom to do my own stuff as the tension mounted.

When I came out, I saw a computer monitor in front of the car displaying some readings, which I didn’t understand. Medium Guy went out and motioned me to get into my car.

“It’s good, huh?” he smiled at me.

“Did my car pass?” I asked.

“Drive forward and I’ll give you the results,” Medium Guy said.

I drove to the third stop. Just before handing me the print out, he asked, “What country you from?” He was East Indian, an immigrant like me. Most of the attendants were.

I smiled, unsure if I should tell him where I came from in case Big Guy had told him about me. Small Lady doesn't know her emergency brake. Not a good reflection on my home country.

Coyly, I said, “Philippines.”

He flashed a big smile and told me my car passed.

I was deliriously happy, so delirious I screamed insided my car as I was driving away.


I was glad nobody was around to watch or hear me. And even if there was, who cares? My car passed. I have another year to drive my trusty Honda Accord. For now, that is all that matters.


ellen b. cortez said...

dearest Le, just had the chance to read your entries. Ang galing mo talaga mag-journal.I miss you na. Heard Gino made it to the University of BC. M so happy for you! Balitaan mo naman ako.Sulatan mo kaya ako e-mail eyriche. Parang nai-imagine ko yung hitsura mo after ur aircare test.ha ha ha. Warmest regards and love, Elle

le said...

hi ellen! great to hear from you. will keep in touch before the Rapture :-)