US Road Trip Epilog: 18th August 2005

Another change of hotel, this time just over the road to the Union Station. I was surprised to find that I could get a room here tonight for about the same as the Holiday Inn Express. $109 plus taxes isn't cheap, but it isn't extortionate either.

The lobby in Union Station
The lobby in Union Station.

This is one of those places that want $10 for car parking and another $10 for internet access. I don't know why they don't go the whole hog and install meters for the electricity, TV and hot water that need feeding $5 bills at regular intervals. Being at the pauper end of the guest scale my room is in the basement, between two lift shafts and overlooking the train tracks. On the plus side, it's a nice big suite - so much so that at one point I have trouble remembering where the door out is. That could just be senility, of course.

Now a bit of English slang, for the benefit of any American readers. In the words of my UK Penguin Dictionary, 'cowboy' can mean the following:

An incompetent or dishonest trader.

That would make Precision Autohaus of Nashville a bunch of cowboys then. I've been phoning them since I left the car there on Tuesday to get a progress report on my car and the repair to the harmonic damper. I've heard every single excuse under the sun, never had any of the promised return calls, and generally been given the runaround.

Having run out of patience, it's time to go and get my car back. The final insult? A bill for $420 for the tune-up. This is broken down as follows:

Ever get the feeling you've been had? Yes, I've been ripped-off, taken for a ride, scammed, fleeced, by the bunch of useless bastards who call themselves Precision Autohaus. They never had the slightest intention of fixing the harmonic damper. All they wanted was to part me from over $400 for work that, even I know, shouldn't cost anywhere near that. To say that I'm annoyed would be a massive understatement - as well as the money, I've wasted the better part of a week here. I hope their black hearts rot in hell for eternity.

I need to point out here that I didn't take the car to Precision Autohaus from any recommendation I was given by the Riviera guys. It was the Best One Service Centre who pointed me in their direction. They can, therefore, go and rot in hell as well.

A better man would, once he's got his car back, try to calm down by listening to dolphin sounds or calling his therapist or something. Me, I'm going out to get drunk. Of course, this isn't always a good plan when you're in a bad mood (maybe it isn't ever a good plan - I'll leave that one to the scientists).

One thing I do love about country music is that there's always a song about someone who's worse off than you are. After a few hours in the Second Fiddle on Broadway, listening to a band try out some songs for their set later this evening when they might have an audience, I've got things back in perspective. Downtown Nashville does seem strangely quiet, though, and the reason can be found down by the riverfront.

This is some kind of regular Thursday thing called Dancin' In The District. $8 to get in, and $5 for a can of beer, but it has to be worth a look.

Dancin' In The District as a riverboat passes
Dancin' In The District as a riverboat passes. With the benefit of hindsight I'd have bribed the captain to ram the stage and set it floating off downstream.

I really can't imagine what they were thinking of when they booked this band. Prog rock. Remember prog rock? Dreadful songs that go on forever and seem to eat away at every minute of your remaining time on the planet as you listen to them. After half an hour I've had enough and head off back to my hotel.

Of course, I found out later that Buddy Guy was top of the bill and I should've stuck around. It's just been one of those days.

US Road Trip Epilog: 19th August 2005 >