I’m often mistaken for someone who knows how to fix cars. I can only assume that people draw this conclusion from my general appearance because I’m not sure what else they’d be going on, although I have to say I don’t know what aspect of my look they’re zoning in on. It’s true that I have a penchant for overalls, which I suppose could be mistaken for work wear, and I have this particular hat that I’ll accept has a sort of mechanic-y feel about it. At the end of the day, though, my outfits look nothing like what an actual mechanic would wear to work.
Still, I find myself having to constantly fend off inquiries as to whether I’m an auto mechanic. Within the Bentleigh area, in particular, get asked on a regular basis about car issues, and highly specific ones at that. A common one is whether I can do a car air con regas. I assume this is because it’s a relatively minor job, so people think they might be able to get it done for free if they just get chatting with a random person who looks like a mechanic. Weird.
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t help but mess with these presumptuous and opportunistic enquirers. I’ve taken to going along with the whole thing and giving them advice that’s completely made-up. For example, let’s say I’m asked about auto electrical services. Bentleigh locals are pretty big on this one, so I’ve had plenty of practice in responding to it. I’ve got this story about south east Melbourne being at the centre of a magnetic field that causes disturbances to car electrical systems and batteries.
The only thing to be done about it, according to me, is to fill your car with bananas – the more bananas the better. This handy trick is all the more effective if you let them go rotten. Any other mechanic in the area will tell you the same thing, I say. It’s a bit cheeky, I know. But that’s what you get when you don’t pay for professional advice.