Turn Your Wheel and Cough

: Tracy Beckerman on

I'll be the first to admit, I don't really know much about cars. So when my car started making a funny noise, I had no idea what it could be. I knew this noise wasn't its regular noise. The regular noise usually sounded like "vroom-vroom," but this new noise sounded a little like "cough-cough." Although I wasn't very car-savvy, I was a mom, and being a mom, I was pretty sure I knew what the problem was.

"The car has a cold," I told my husband.

"Excuse me?" he replied from his place on the couch where he usually sat when I told him something was broken and was going to cost us a lot of money to fix.

"It has a cold," I said. "It seems very low-energy, and it has a cough."

"Cars don't get colds," he said.

"Well, its symptoms are very flu-like," I argued. The car reminded me a little of my husband when he got a "man cold." It was coughing and sluggish and needy. The only difference was, the car didn't look up its symptoms on WebMD.

"Cars don't get colds," he repeated more slowly, as though saying it slower would make me agree with him faster.

"OK, so maybe not a cold," I said reluctantly. "Then it's probably, um ... the carburetor!"

He shook his head. I knew he thought I had no idea what I was talking about because, to be honest, I did have a history of having no idea what I was talking about. In these instances, I would guess it was something I knew the name of, like a carburetor, so it would seem like I did, in fact, know what I was talking about, although it was highly unlikely that I did.

"Do you even know what a carburetor does?" he asked.

Yes," I said enthusiastically. "It berates the car."

He raised an eyebrow dubiously.

"What about the transmission?" he asked.

"It transmits things," I said. "That is its mission."

He shook his head and looked at the dog for support. The dog wisely stayed out of it.

"You know nothing about cars," he said. "Just admit it."

"I do so," I argued.

"OK, let's try something easier. Where does the washer fluid go?

"On the windshield."


"No. I mean, where does it come from?"

"The store," I said emphatically.

"Where do you put it in the car ?"

"In the backseat until the gas station attendant can pour it in."

He exhaled deeply. "... And where does he pour it into?

"The car," I replied.

He got up from the couch and banged his head against the wall.

"Forget I asked ... anything. Ever. About cars," he said.

I shrugged. I could understand his frustration. We'd had similar conversations about women's shoes.

"OK," I said. "Well, I guess I'll make an appointment with the mechanic to figure out what's wrong and get it fixed."

"You don't need to do that," he replied.

"Why not?" I said.

He picked up his laptop.

"I'll just look up the symptoms on CarMD."


Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, "Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble," available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at


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