Shortly before departing for FOSDEM, I dropped my car at the mechanic’s to fix an engine issue. Some number of weeks later, I finally was able to pick the vehicle up today, fully repaired and ready to undergo further damage at the hands of yours truly.

Earlier this week I called the shop, after not having heard from them for a couple weeks, wondering what the status of the repair was. The mechanic’s response was something along the lines of:

Oh yeah, we tried to call you but the number was busy or something every time. Anyways, your car needs a new flux capac..

“Well, I was out of the country” I thought, my line had effectively been disconnected, so I suppose that’s what the mechanic had experienced when he tried to contact me. Something still seemed a little fishy to me.

Before hanging up the phone, I asked him what phone number he had for me, just to make sure they could contact me again after they made a few further repairs:

Uh let’s see here, 475-7..

If you’re a bay area resident you can see the problem, the area code is 415, not 475.

Simple enough of a mistake , but what really bothered me about the mistake was that it seems (to me) so obvious or clear to resolve. In fact one simple hypothesis (“this is probably a wrong number”) and an experiment (“what if I call 415-etc”) would have saved over a week of time spent “in limbo.”

Like most city garages, this place is certainly limited for space to store cars that are either waiting to be fixed or waiting to be picked up. I’ve also been to this mechanic three or four times now, so they’ve previously been able to reach me. On top of that, area code 475 is in Connecticut of all places; this mechanic is good, but not good enough to justify that kind of commute.

A little skepticism would have cut the amount of time the car spent in the shop from 3 weeks to about 4 days.

I’m clearly obsessing a little too much over this minor inconvenience.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that perhaps everybody doesn’t think like me, doesn’t question or care about every little detail in the same way that I might.