And Bob's Your Uncle

06/16/2010 12:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011


As much as we all have fantasies about knowing what is under the hood of our car, for most of us, if we are honest, it is as mysterious as intergalactic space travel. We can imagine rolling up our sleeves getting our hands a little dirty, lifting the hood and actually knowing where to put coolant, or a new battery, or even how to change the oil. Because it's a fact we would be "hot" if we knew how to. Just like those people we are all jealous of, the people who can order fine wine and actually know what they are talking about, make bookshelves, or shoe a horse. For the rest of us we make do with what little skills we do have -- driving, filling the car up with gas, and ordering whatever the restaurant serves by the glass.

But there is something I am sure we all excel at in the car world, and that, my friends, is ignoring the check engine light for a really long time, or turning the music up so the weird rattling sound fades away in to the distance. And it's only when your car blows up, or just plain old wont start, or jiggles slowly off the exit ramp, that the sinking stomach feeling takes over. Sitting in a parking lot with a failed starter your mechanical ignorance will shine. You know nothing. Triple A arrive and they know something, more than you at least, and while you are busy promising to fill out the satisfied customer report, you ask if they can drive you to "Bob's place."

Bob is the gregarious owner of La Cañada Auto. He is the happy face in a happy place, and he always makes it all right.

"What seems to be the problem?" He asks gently and then listens patiently to the women who usually without fail say something like this... "Well, it's making a weird noise." Completely wihtout judgment, he listens to the men who for machismo's sake will always take a stab at a diagnoses... "Well, Bob, I think it's the transmission and the fan belt cause it just... well, it could be the alternator, come to think of it."

Bob does not judge or roll his eyes skyward, he just lets the men try being men and the ladies be ladies. Bob is good, Bob is fair.

As a general rule, mechanics have you over a barrel, because, let's face it, they know that most women and all metrosexuals know nothing about how to fix a car, and will take full advantage of this situation. But Bob -- good, nice, funny Bob -- is the hero of the average Joe. His prices are fair (but negotiable with a little flirting), and for the men he may just take pity on you for not being as cool as he is. He has hugs for the old ladies, he will help you find the mid life crisis vintage sports car you always wanted -- his specialty. But Bob's hospitality does not end there, he might drive you to the car rental place and take you skiing or surfing depending on the time of year. And if you don't have a mechanic complex yet, you will, because everyone loves a mechanic, and next time your car breaks down you might actually be happy about it -- it means you get to hang out with Bob!