Scary stories from a lovely place

Dodgy grease monkeys

If I think of the occupation that has the worst reputation amongst its customers it would be a mechanic. Am I right? We all mistrust mechanics. We all assume they’re lying to us about how much something costs, breaking one thing while they’re fixing another and generally just messing around with our cars. I don’t know if it’s a few unscrupulous fellows who have given the rest a bad wrap or if indeed, generally, mechanics are scoundrels.

All my life my dad insisted using friends as mechanics. They were all lovely men, Christians no doubt, but I often felt like things weren’t any cheaper with them than guys who didn’t have a Christian fish sticker in their workshop. I think the hope was that a Christian mechanic would be more honest in an industry of dishonesty.

Happily here in Joburg, with its ‘trust no one’ mentality, I have discovered a lovely mechanic named Andre. I don’t think he’s a Christian but his workship is in walking distance from my house, and so far I have no sense that he is cheating me. Rather he seems genuinely excited about all aspects of fixing cars and takes great delight in explaining everything he’s doing to my car, as well as showing me each part of the engine and what it does. The other bonus is that his workshop boasts a rather spectacular view south over the mine dumps to the extraterrestrial looking new Soccer City stadium, which warms my heart in a World Cup sort of way.

At this stage though my one complaint with Andre is that he seems incapable of sticking to a schedule. I took him my car last week Monday and was promised, that although it needed major engine repairs, it would be ready by Friday. On Monday he said Tuesday for sure. This morning he said it would be this afternoon. I still have no car. I’m actually not that annoyed and haven’t rung him this afternoon to chase it up because I don’t want to listen to another longwinded explanation of all the things he is fixing. Hopefully it will be back before I go into labour.

Finally, this week Stephen has also had a very pleasant encounter with another mechanic. Two weeks ago he took his motorbike to a mechanic in Vrededorp, a rather shady area, for a service. It was back a few days later, all in good working order. Since early last week Stephen has been tearing the house apart trying to find his wallet, ardently believing that it hadn’t been stolen. Yesterday the bike mechanic phoned to say that he had found the wallet, Stephen had left it on his desk. Two honest mechanics, working out of two suburbs with bad repuations. Happy times.


3 comments on “Dodgy grease monkeys

  1. ellidhcook
    May 20, 2010

    When did Stephen get a motorbike?

  2. kimlovesjozi
    May 21, 2010

    Last year October or November. Weren’t you still here? He sold his car. Are you going to judge me for letting him have a bike? I’m pretty good at taking that by now….

  3. Bec
    May 24, 2010

    I’m going to judge Stephen a little for getting a motorbike… but not too much cos I know it made for a lot easier situation for you guys…
    I’m not sure if mechanics have the worst rep… probably close, but what about lawyers?? or Real Estate agents?? or Bankers??
    Maybe cos they’re more white collar they’re just expected to stuff us around or something?

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This entry was posted on May 20, 2010 by in Home, Life in South Africa and tagged , , .
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