Keep On Keeping On

Oh, my. Two months without a vehicle, and my car still isn’t ready.

I took my ancient VW to a recommended body shop to be restored. He said it would take three weeks and every time I called him after those initial weeks, he’d tell me the car would be done in another ten days or two weeks or “soon”, reminding me every time that old cars take longer than expected because so much of the damage is hidden until the vehicle is taken apart.

I finally got a chance to go see what is going on and found my car the way I left it minus the chrome. That’s all he’d done. Take off the chrome trim. It turns out the car he was talking about with all the hidden damage was another vehicle he was working on, a 1930’s truck.

Oddly, I wasn’t angry. Just devastated. I trusted the guy, and he’d been lying to me. Even worse, I started crying. I didn’t expect that reaction, but I suppose it’s natural. I’ve endured so many losses in recent years, and the car is all that’s left of that earlier life.

The guy’s wife was there, and she hugged me. He said nothing. When I asked why he didn’t tell me that he couldn’t get to it for two months so I could keep driving the car instead of leaving it sitting there, he said that he’d made a mistake.

Normally when such things happen, I get angry, demand my deposit back (and in this case would also have demanded that he put the chrome on immediately), but I walked away. Left my car there. I just couldn’t deal with the situation. I have a lot of things going on this week, such as dress rehearsals and performances, and I don’t want to lose focus on that.

Besides, if I took the car back, it would never be restored. He was the only one who offered an acceptable estimate, and there’s no guarantee that anyone else would treat me better.

So we’ll see. If in another week nothing further has been done, I will negate the deal. Until then, I’ll keep on keeping on.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)


10 Responses to “Keep On Keeping On”

  1. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Oh my. So sorry, Pat. Why do people do these things to other people–especially a nice person like you who is in desperate need?

  2. kencoffman Says:

    Wow, This guy better get busy or he’ll find himself depicted a horrible villain in your next book.

  3. snakesinthegrass2014 Says:

    I’m new to your blog, and as I’ve been reading your posts I have been wondering exactly what kind of work is being done to your car. I suspect the restorer’s wife will do your bidding for you to light a fire under his rear end. Keep the faith. Most important, keep writing.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hi and welcome! I’m having my 43-year-old VW bug de-dented, de-rusted, painted and re-upholstered. It’s the only car I’ve ever owned, and I’m the only owner it ever had. Getting it restored seemed a nice way of embracing my own renewal in life.

  4. rami ungar the writer Says:

    “A mistake”? He lied to you! What a prick. He should make your car his first priority. Either that, or he should face some sort of consequences for lying to you and making you wait so long.

  5. Paula Kaye Says:

    Oh my gosh. The fact that you didn’t get angry is interesting to me. I can’t imagine what I would have said!

  6. Mary Ann Says:

    That’s such a bummer. I hope your tears made him realize what a mess he’s made and that you’ll get your car back soon. Good luck.

  7. Coco Ihle Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this news about your restorer. I think “snakesinthegrass” may be right in saying the restorer’s wife will set a fire under him. Let’s hope so, anyway!!! I’m sending positive vibes your way for your car to get fixed and be/look great!!!!!

  8. Pat S. Says:

    You know, there is a time for being easy going and going with the flow, and there is a time, as my grandmother would say, for setting somebody’s um, “hair” on fire. I’m going with Coco’s “snakeinthegrass” assessment. This is uncalled for. Fixing paint and dings shouldn’t take that long ever. Aside from that, while cosmetic fixes are nice, you’re going to be totally dependant on this vehicle (which I find terrifying). What needs to be in tip top shape is the engine, the guts, regardless of the paint. I’d be down there every single day. Show up with snacks and lunch and just sit there until he’s finished. And don’t let him add on any charges for stuff he “finds” wrong with it. I’d have cried, too. And then, as the saying goes, I’d have used his guts for garters.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The engine is in tip top shape otherwise I wouldn’t even have considered the rest.

      Maybe my fear meter is out of whack. I seem to be the only one (besides my mechanic) who thinks depending on the car is a good idea.

      If nothing has been done by next week, I’ll go the garter route. This week I have as much as I can handle with rehearsals and performances.

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