Generational Chips (edited)

Generational Chips (edited)

A Story by Willys Watson


GENERATIONAL CHIPS


1.


While inside a 7-11 buying his daily morning newspaper and coffee to go an older model compact pulled into a space near his truck. When leaving the store Doc noticed steam bellowing out from the sides of the hood and two women, perhaps around thirty, staring at the car from the safety of the sidewalk.


"Pop the hood and I’ll see if I can give you a hand," he suggested and when one woman nodded he grabbed gloves from a side-mounted tool box and approached the car.


With the hood raised Doc loosened the radiator cap to release the pressure and allow what was left of the boiling water to evaporate. After doing this he grabbed the two jugs of water he kept in his truck and placed them near the car’s fender. As the steam dissipated into the air he quickly figured out the cause of the engine over-heating was a split in the upper rubber water hose coming from the radiator.


"How far do your ladies need to go from here?"


"Why is that important?" the first woman, the car’s driver, asked in what sounded like a tone of veiled suspicion.


"Well, I’m just trying to get you safely there and how far you’re driving matters," Doc answered.


"About six miles I supposed," the second woman offered.


On hearing her reply he assumed the car overheated on the freeway and they took the closest nearby off ramp. And six miles South likely meant they were heading into Sherman Oaks because they either lived of worked there.


"Okay. The reason it overheated is you’ve got a leak in your water hose and I’ll refill your radiator with water. You’ll probably get there safely enough though you’ll boil out half of the water to get there, so you really need to get that hose replaced a.s.a.p. And once it’s parked don’t try to drive it again till the hose is replaced and coolant is added."


"Thanks for the help and advice," the driver responded as she grabbed one of the water jugs.


"No, no, no, not yet!" Doc cautioned her. "You need to let the engine cool down at least a half hour, though an hour would be better."


"A half hour? An hour?" the second woman meekly protested. "But we can’t wait that long because it’s my first day on a new job."


"What’s the waiting for?" the driver, with dwindling patience, almost demanded to know.


"You pour cold water into an overheated cast iron engine and it’s likely you’ll either crack the block or warp the head, or both," he explained.


"You ever hear of that?" the driver grilled her friend. When the second woman shook her head no the driver turned back to Doc. "You’re saying cold water is strong enough to break iron?"


"Not break it but crack it. It has to do with the thermal shock effect on the metal."


"That’s not anything I ever remember from physics or chemistry," the driver said without trying to conceal her tone of sarcasm. Then she looked towards her friend for reenforcement.


"I’ve never heard of this," her friend commented while shrugging her shoulders. "It sounds like an old husband’s tale to me."


"You could call your new boss, then a cab and I could push your car over to that side street just to..."


"Thanks for the advice, water and mansplaining but I’m sure we’re good," the driver interrupted in a condescending voice as she started pouring the water from the first jug into the radiator.


"It’s not always mansplaining if someone with knowledge is trying to help," Doc responded, shaking his head sadly, as he headed to his truck.


"Call it what you want," the driver’s friend replied snidely.


"I wish you both luck," he sincerely mumbled as he backed out of his parking space.


2.


Four days later Doc drove into a service bay at a Pep Boys for an oil change and noticed the young woman’s car parked, with it’s hood raised, in another one of the bays.


"Cracked block, I bet?" he asked one of the mechanics while pointing to her car.


"Yep, and a blown head gasket and burnt wiring harnesses," the mechanic answered. "A pretty young girl had it towed in here a few days ago and I had to tell the poor thing what caused the damage and it would likely cost more to fix it than the car was worth.


"I’m sorry to hear that."


"And we haven’t started on it yet because we’re waiting to hear back from her," he continued.


"I suppose she has to think it over because that’s a lot of money if you don’t have it."


"Guess you’re right and I should feel sorry for her but she pissed me off because she kept asking if I was sure and then she started texting like crazy on her phone."


‘Different generation and maybe some of them react this way when they’re stressed out. We had our own ways of coping and learning from our mistakes," Doc added.


"Maybe, but what stress? These whiny kids today have it much easier than we did," he countered.


"I don’t see a lot of whining. And it’s kinda funny how my gramps used to say the same thing about us, about how easy we had it when we were young. But really, some things are easier, some things are harder today. For one thing, we didn’t have all the fake claims being made that the kids today have to deal with now," Doc offered in her defense.


"Even if that’s true there’s no excuse for their rudeness and bad manners."


"You’re right, but did we always have good manners at her age?


"I certainly did," the mechanic proclaimed.


"You probably had better role models than some of the role models we’re offering them."


"What does we’re mean? Are you blaming guys like us?" he asked.


"Of course not. We’re both honest, tolerate dudes. I was thinking of people like the guy we just elected president. You and I would never support a public figure who lies so much," Doc suggested as he turned to head towards the in-store service counter.


"Listen, buddy, I voted for him and I’m proud I did."


Doc thought to reply but didn’t because he knew in advance no minds would be changed in a continued conversation with the mechanic. And he also understood that from one generation to another many carry large chips on their shoulders, some of which are justified, many of which are not.








© 2017 Willys Watson



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Added on June 27, 2017
Last Updated on June 28, 2017
Tags: Politics, youth, generations, fears, hopes

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Willys Watson
Willys Watson

Los Angeles, CA



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