There’s a Chevy dealership 8-9 miles north from where I live, a quick hop on the expressway ramp within three minutes of my house and I’m there in no time at all. I’ve bought and sold three vehicles there over the past 18 years and I’ve gotten all our service work there as well. The place is in the middle nowhere but in between several small towns and their waiting room is usually full of friendly, country people who talk to each other---no heads buried in their phones.
Until a few years ago, they had young female service manager
who really knew her stuff. My husband adored her and no wonder. She looked like
Pete Pan, talked diagnostics and was one of the few people in our world who
actually understood how to interact with someone who lost their speech due to a
stroke. One time I asked her how she got interested in working on cars and
trucks and she said her mom was a single mom who drove cars that were always
breaking down so she got books from the library to study what was wrong with
them. By the time she was 10-12 she was changing spark plugs and air filters which eventually led her to getting a degree in automotive technology and repair. I’ve loved
that service center. There's always a good back story to glean from someone.
I had to go up there this week for an oil change and tire rotation and when the newish service guy came out to the waiting room to get an estimate approved for a few other Mickey Mouse things that needed doing he said he’d measured the tread depth on my tires and I needed a new set to the tune of $667. I laughed and said, “Are you telling me I came in here for an oil change and you want me to leave with a new set of tires?” “Pretty much,” he answered. “How long is all this going to take?” I asked him. I had another appointment to get to so I had him schedule the tires for another day. I think it shocked him with how easy his sales pitch went but what he didn’t know is that getting new tires was on my list of things to do before I move. My money will be much tighter afterward and I figure they’ll be the last tires I’ll ever have to buy. He also didn’t know that back in my heydays I questioned the depth of tire treads on some of the trucks my husband owned so often that he bought me my very own tread depth checker. I kept it on my key chained and with nine pickup trucks, 3 front-end loaders, a street sweeper and a Corvette it became a joke that whenever we’d be near one of those vehicles I’d be checking out the tires. The joke was on me, though, because I officially became the person who got sent down to the tire place to wait when tires needed replacing.
I’m back from my walk down Memory Lane and let me tell you my recent wait at the dealership service center was not the pleasant experience I usual have in the place. It started out with me and another woman in the room but soon after I sat down a man showed up and announced that he wasn’t going to sit by me because I was wearing a mask and he didn’t believe in them. They are still state-mandated in my state but I didn’t say a word. I just got my Kindle out, pretending I didn’t hear what he said. The other woman, however said, "You're talking my language."
That began my hour spent in Conversation Hell as the two of
them talked hardcore Trumpism---the “stolen” election and how he'll be back in the White House, illegal immigrants, how Black
Lives Matter caused more violence than "what happened at the capital", the recent mass shootings and how the Democrats are staging them to take their guns away.
There wasn’t a topic/conspiracy they didn’t cover. They are both anti-vaccines and she said, "only old people die from the virus anyway." Hello! I thought, I'm old and I can hear you over the six feet that separates our chairs! He told the woman his brother's whole family is sick with "they say its
he thought it was the common flu and the doctors were lying because
$2,000 every time they write that on a medical chart." 'They' are
over-achievers these 'they' people, I was thinking. 'They' also put illegal immigrants up in $100 a night hotel rooms. I just kept silent, no way was I wadding in their dirty pool. Even when the guy said he has a hidden bunker with
over 3,000 rounds of ammo, 28 guns and enough food to last him two months for
the civil war that’s coming, I just sat there re-reading the same page over
and over again on my Kindle. Not saying a word, not making eye contact.
After the woman left the man says to me, “I hope we didn’t bother you” and I didn’t even lower my
Kindle when I replied, “Nothing I haven’t heard before and I don’t need to hear
it again.” “Sorry,” he replies. Finally I looked at him, really looked into his eyes and said in a cheerful voice I didn't feel inside, “No need to
apologize it’s a free country. You get to say whatever you want and I get to
disagree with every single thing you just said in here.” The look on his face was
almost funny, like the proverbial, frozen-faced deer caught in your headlights. He got up and without another word he wandered into the new car showroom. Not man enough to be in the presence of a 'they' person I presumed.
As I was driving home I knew I shouldn’t have said what I said. People as delusional as Mr. Hidden Bunker could have turned violent and he was carrying a handgun. He was a regular gold mine of information---where he lived, his name, where he worked, how much money he has hidden on his property because 'they' are going to close all the banks, you know. If I have been an FBI agent, that guy would have gone on 'watch list' and as much as he talked, I'll bet he's already on one. When I go back for the tires I hope I'll be waiting with nicer people. It's the last time I'll be going there because I'll have to find something closer for car service after I move. The last-time-I-be-doing-this experiences are adding up fast. ©