There was a strange complaint that Mary made on the way to work this morning. She said, "I feel bubbly." I said, "that's good. So do I." But she didn't seem too upbeat, so I asked if she was feeling alright, and no, she said she was feeling bubbly. We drove on for some time I think before we reached the store (not that anywhere is particularly far in Sparrow Falls), and poor Mary's engine light went on. She said, "Livi, I'm feeling bubbly again," or something to that effect. And it was then I knew.

"Gosh Mary, I'm so sorry for pushing you. I know you said you were feeling a bit worn yesterday. We better take you to the mechanic. It was quite a long drive to the Falls." "Thanks Livi." And that was that for a bit, I mean, I had to work, but I couldn't stop thinking about the long drive up I took her on. You know, you sometimes get so used to things that you don't stop to think they're taking a toll. Stacked the chips and the sodas, then went back and drove Mary straight to the mechanic, Sparrow Auto it was. The building was easy to find, red-and-white from the road. Definitely recommend it. Anyhow, I pulled up, told Mary, "now I know you want to go in and say hi. We will, be patient while I fill out a form or something." And so I went in. The poor man was on lunch break, but anyhow was nice enough to stop and help. He saw at once I wasn't from town (is that becaue I dress weird or something?) and asked where I was from. I said I'd moved here to Sparrow Falls not even a week ago, and was enjoying it. He asked what I was doing, and if I came with anyone else - "do you have any kids?" It was then that Mary started playing La Cucaracha again. "Still debating that," I said.

We then quickly changed subject, and he asked how he could help. I said Mary was feeling bubbly. He congratulated me on having a dependent with such a cheery disposition. I then said that no, actually she's feeling terrible, and that I think maybe air had gotten into her fluids or something. He seemed to panic for some reason, so I told him that it was ok, Mary was not running anymore, and she's asleep. Then he panicked even more and told me he knew CPR. I said Mary doesn't need CPR. He said then let me call an ambulance. I said I didn't think paramedics were trained in mechanical arts. He said "what?" I said "what!" And then we stared at each other for some time in mutual confusion. He said, "if your kid was feeling bubbly a moment ago and now is suddenly asleep, with air in her veins, why are you so calm?" I said, "oh, Mary is my car."

The conversation lightened a lot after that, and we laughed. Mechanics laugh, a friend told me, around 78RPM. Then we settled down to the business, and I said, "yes, Mary is feeling bubbly." "Can you elaborate?" "Not really, that's what she told me when the engine light came on." "Oh, you heard a popping sound in the engine bay?" "No, it just went on. Mary specifically said to me, "Livi, I'm feeling bubbly again." "Ah," he said.

I remember when I was in grade-school I invented a ranking system for surprise, as shown in facial expressions. The chart ranged from "cucurbita is the latin word for melon" to "I suddenly discovered my sister is a Martian." I had never been sure what the top end of the scale physically looked like before.

So there I was, signing paperwork, apologizing for the awkwardness of it all, so I kind of quickly made my escape, figuring he'd come to understand what I was talking about sooner or later. It turned out it was sooner. I had a call within ten minutes saying that he couldn't do anything to Mary because she kept trying to chat him up. And when he put a wrench on, she screamed out (in the background, but I could hear) that he wasn't even using any anaesthetic. I said, "put me on to her, please." Suddenly the call went quiet. I said, "Mary, you're a car," and hung up.

You don't know what you get into when you take Mary places.

- Livi