Yesterday, I went to have a transmission flush for my SUV at the local Ford dealer. I expected to pay around $200, and ended up paying $1,000 — for sundry leaks and belts and other machinery that they said needed changing.
Now let’s keep in mind that the majority of Americans nowadays couldn’t meet a $400 unexpected expense.
We will get back to that in a moment.
Meanwhile, on Monday, I noticed that the car radio had suddenly died.
So I asked the Ford deal guy how much to fix it? A grand, he replied, maybe more, if they could get the parts — and this expert opinion rendered only after I agreed in advance to pay $65 for a mechanic to inspect the radio.
Now keep in mind that changing out a 1 or 2 din satellite-ready radio with CD player cost no more than around $120 at Best Buy, including installation.
But this was not possible to do with my 2010 Escape.
What Ford did with the 2008-2105 line, you see, is cobble together a solid block “Entertainment System” that is extremely elaborate and time-consuming to fix. Not to bore you to death, but it consists of two key modules (which I only found out about after the radio died):
- a Ford Escape Mercury Mariner Information Display Screen (this is what you see up top, that used to display the station, time, and direction the car was going, and
- a 2010 Ford Escape Mercury Mariner Radio with CD player.
These were wired together as an integrated system, that Ford called Sync 1 or 2 or 3 (depending on the Model year and trim), with a complicated back-end setup that I will not get into here.
I found out, last night, that the companies (among them Microsoft) that provided the parts and software for our SYNC system have either ditched Ford, or gone under, and now it is almost impossible to fix this radio. (As an aside: who ever heard of a radio “breaking down”?)
So instead of being able to drive up to Jensen Beach to Best Buy and have the Geek Squad boys slip in a new radio for a hundred bucks, installation included, plus a warranty for a nothingburger extra, I now have to find some trustworthy car radio after-market specialist and have the entire front dashboard of my car reconstructed.
Fuck this tedious shit.
I will see if I can it fixed tomorrow, and will provide an update — if I am successful in this endeavor, but for the time being, let’s recap:
Cost of transmission flush visit TO a Ford Dealership
Cost of changing the car radio for an Escape at Ford Dealership
Unexpected expense that would send mANY Americans to the poor house
Got all that?
Meanwhile the vile orange pig spent yesterday visiting Tampa (at the US tax payer’s expense, of course) to rally his base in the shithole known as Florida.
This base — an apter term has never been coined — now seem to believe some bizarre conspiracy theory (known as “Q”) that holds that Hillary is somehow associated with some sort of government underground pedophile ring (in some particularly rancid twist, Tom Hanks, the beloved actor, is involved in this rigmarole), but that Trump is the promised savior, who will soon set all this right, for the
conman’s President’s rise was somehow foretold in the Bible, as the One who would signal the second coming of The Messiah in the Holy City of Jerusalem, with end times now looming soon upon on us all as a tangible reality.
These quislings must be really bored with their lives.
Meanwhile, if end times in Florida are to come, it will no doubt be from climate change, which the ignoramus porkers who support the orange malandrinus think is, at best, an unproven opinion, even as the hurricanes and tropical storms get deadlier and vast fishkills take place at their very door step, due to the overwhelming toxicity of Lake Okeechobee, which is seeping industrial poison everywhere in South Florida’s underground water supply and once pristine waterways.
But they don’t care about that, the porkers, so long as their (con) man gets re-elected, and America keeps on getting greater and greater, and they can cling to their Bibles, and of course stroke their guns in the garage late at night, when no-one is looking, as the vulgarian and his band of thieves fuck them up the ass every day of the week till doomsday, yet they cheer on, like the blithering, twisted idiots that they are, believing absolute nonsense as the revealed word of some imaginary God.
In the current American climate, which consists largely of a perfect nightmare of massive political, economic and social dislocation, there is only one thing to do: get the hell out of this place, and as soon as possible at that.
Next week my wife and I will be in New York for ten days.
I will put up some touristy pics of the Big Apple, which is where we come from, and maybe have a Mortadella bagel at Black Seed Bagels‘ on Elizabeth Street in Little Italy, but our real sayonara, babe trip will start in mid September, where we are seriously thinking of visiting the South of Portugal — but only after the red-faced Night of the Living Dead Birkenstock-and-woollen socks summer crowds of the Algarve have thinned out.
I am not going to rent a car there — copping an automatic in Portugal costs a ridiculous amount of money, and I am not ready to deal with a stick in some proximate Deux Cheveaux– but will take the train (dirt cheap!) from Lisbon, to Faro, then on to Tavira.
We will look around and see what there is to see.**
I am not wild about willingly being locked again in some overly sunny geezer retreat in the middle of nowhere — which turned out to be the case of our disastrous move to the larcenous shithole known as Florida.
Thus, we plan to exercise great care before committing ourselves to living semi-permanently in a place like Tavira.
Unfortunately Faro and Albufeira are now way overbuilt now (unlike how they were when I spent a month there as a young man in the early 70s): and some of these places are deader than a burro’s cadaver in winter, so… there’s that.
I guess what we’re really looking for is an affordable and smallish town or city (but not too small! I was so hoping that Nice, last year, could have turned out to be that place, but it was too expensive) by the sea, where there is actual stuff going on (other than aimless walks or getting crocked in pubs or having to deal with bullshit folkoric festivals), and where one would not be isolated most of the year, yet have reasonable privacy, with normal people to talk to: people without agendas, educated people, one would hope, sans the sort of repellent right-wing opinions that make you want to puke as soon as they look the other way.
So Portugal beckons, despite the 20 per cent unemployment problem amongst the young, which can lead to problems.
I like the idea of living in a quasi Socialist state (and would have like to feel the Bern in 2016***), but I wonder when the piper will have to be paid in Portugal, following their No Austerity policy, particularly if the Euro ends up collapsing, and Portugal is completely flooded by rapacious speculators seeking to lock in shrewd real estate profits at ten centavos on the Escudo — further driving out the local populace out into the barren, penurious hills, that is to say, the gorgeous but wildfire-prone back country, where privileged geezers with fanny packs just love to hike or drive though, but where no one actually thinks of living as a serious proposition.
Yet I hope, I hope, I hope, that this Portugal jag works out, for as the United States inches ever closer to all-out civil war, the time for permanent vamoosing has now arrived, with a goodbye bird in each hand.
It is, after, the only civilized thing left to do.
* The cost of round-trip airfare for my wife and to go from PBI to LIS between mid Sept and the 1st week of Oct is only $400 more than than what our Ford Florida ripoff car dealer charge me yesterday for fixing a few simple things in our Ford Escape
** Two things already enchant me about Lisbon: Bica, which was my late father’s private nickname for me Mum; and then of course there ‘s the incomparable Ana Moura, seen here with the The Stones. What’s not to love?
*** Re Bernie, the guy who drove me to the nearest Enteprise to get a free loaner while my car was being fixed mentioned that the Ford Dealership had offered all its employees health insurance, but at $700 a month; no one but management had participated. Dems: run on Medicare for all, or not all. Affordable healthcare should not just be available to worm-faced geezers, as many if not most Americans past age 40 worry about medical cost bankruptcy. I should know: I spent $200,000 on insurance premiums in FLA over a twelve year period. You try that one on for size, pendejo, especially here, where even the cost of dyin’ ain’t cheap, and Republicans would just as soon watch you die on the sidewalk outside the Emergency Room than look at you.