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Driving: Unfiltered

The story of how I persevered through many trials in an attempt to replace my air filter and check my engine light.

I had to make it. I just had to. The dangers might be great, but there was no other option. The check engine light in my car had been on far too long, and I needed a new air filter. Never mind the below zero temperatures! Never mind the terrifying city drivers! Those were risks I had to take. A true Dashing Galoot would not quail before such hazards.

I started out. Leaping into my car, I turned the key. The car revved up. Good, one potential disaster out of the way.

I backed out of the driveway, and I was off. The nearest place to get my lights checked was 8 minutes away, and I completed my journey without further ado. Little did I know that everything was about to get more complicated.

As I pulled into the small parking lot, I was faced with a mild dilemma – there was one spot open near the building and a few others at the other end of the lot, with a sizable gap in between. Where to park?

A normal person would have pulled in near the building. A Dashing Galoot, though? Never! Eschewing all the parking spots, I left my car sitting in the middle of the lot. I got out, dusted my hands off while admiring my fine parking job, and realized it was really cold and shoved my hands into my pockets. I promptly scurried inside.

Towering full of various auto parts, the vast shelves filling the building astonished me. How could the average employee (one not as well-endowed with height as I) reach the upper shelves? I soon forgot this ponderance since it was my turn at the register.

How could the average employee (one not as well-endowed with height as I) reach the upper shelves?

“Two things,” I said to the cashier. “First, I need a new air filter.” She obtained one for me. Tragically, I was too distracted by the exorbitant price to see how she got the filter down. Dang it.

“Also, I need my engine light checked.”

“Sorry, our scanner is not working right now.”

Huh? What? Surely not! I had endured the cold, the bad drivers, and my own idiosyncrasies only to be denied by a claim of faulty hardware? Preposterous! Although technically I would have had to put up with myself even if I had stayed home.

I had endured the cold, the bad drivers, and my own idiosyncrasies only to be denied by a claim of faulty hardware? Preposterous!

Unfortunately, I did not deliver this monologue to the cashier. Instead, I gave her my best puppy dog eyes above my mask and trudged back out into the cold. I replaced the filter and then huddled miserably in my driver’s seat. What would I do? If they wouldn’t check my engine light, who would?

I had it! Another location of the same store would do it!

I found directions and pulled a u-turn out of my stupendous parking spot. As I did, another car was pulling into the lot. I assumed they would not mind a Dashing Galoot squeezing past them, so I did. They minded.

Feeling smooth, I slid through the small space between their moving car and the boundary. Suddenly, I heard frenzied beeping behind me. The guy was glaring at me! The nerve! Well, he couldn’t get me if he couldn’t catch me, so I zoomed off and proceeded to miss my next turn in my haste.

Eventually, I made it to the other location. I strolled in, trying to look cool while inwardly panicking that maybe they also wouldn’t check my car. If the first location’s thingamajig wasn’t working, does that mean that all the thingamajigs were broken?

In line in front of me was a man with a car battery, paying a few Benjamins to the cashier. He then walked off without his battery.

“Uh, sir?” the cashier called. “Uh… mister? You left your battery behind?”

He still wasn’t turning around.

“Sir!” she yelled. He turned. “Your battery,” she pointed, looking rather flustered at this point.

“Oh. I’ll just leave it there until the guy puts it in for me,” he said.

“Ok?” She was extremely confused by the time I approached the register.

“Hi, I just need my engine light checked,” I said.

Although (as a Dashing Galoot) I hate to be ordinary, she seemed relieved at my more normal request. Apologizing for bringing her out into the cold, I turned my engine on. When I got out so she could insert the scanner, I smacked my head on the car door. I am still not sure how I managed that, but it was certainly embarrassing.

I look too happy to have just gotten hit on the head, don’t I? Well that’s because I staged this picture. I didn’t actually take one right after I banged my head.

Anyhow, she got the reading, we ran inside to warmth, and I finally had a reason for the check engine light. It turned out to be a faulty sparkplug.

I had conquered the elements, I had survived feisty drivers who were clearly the ones at fault, and I had returned triumphant. Except, I still had to get the problem fixed. But that’s a story for another time…

Are you jealous? Did you have a more exciting adventure recently? How do you think they reached those top shelves in the store? Are you planning on staging a coup to usurp me as Prime Dashing Galoot? Let me know all about it either in the comments or in the Galoot Life submission form below!

Dashing? Not? Say how you feel!