Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Waiting Room Hell

 

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 Covid" but he thought it was the common flu and the doctors were lying because "they get $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. ©

45 comments:

  1. Oh, Jean. Of course you should have said what you said, if only so that Those People and Their Crazy don't constantly go unchallenged. It's important that Those Individuals bump up against Reality as often as possible and look it in the eye. I understand being concerned about your personal safety, however. I very much do.

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    1. I agree with you in theory about not allowing people like that to go on unchallenged but that guy had some sort of brain injury from falling off a ladder and judging by his demeanor---his total absorption into conspiracies and lack of reasoning---I was guessing that his prefrontal Cortex was involved. Those kinds of brain injuries can effect impulses control or lack there of and hr had a gun he wasn't afraid to flash around.

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  2. Oh, my. Perhaps for your safety reasons, you feel you shouldn't have said anything to him, but I was cheering you on! I've already told the story of my afternoon stuck in an infusion chair with a roomful of other people being infused (all masked but only because required to be and six feet apart) on January 6. The first response after someone reported that people were breaking into the capital was "Antifa," and it went downhill from there. Perhaps because I felt so vulnerable and infusion day is at the end of the effectiveness of my last infusion, all I managed was to point to Ruth Bader Ginsburg mask and say I had a different opinion.

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    1. Being in an infusion center where you couldn't have gotten up and walked away was worse than where I was. Confronting one delusional person is one thing but when there is more than one feeding off one another, it's hard to challenge them with facts because they gang up against you. What I finally said to the guy just can out with no forethought on my part. I'm glad I did but it could have turned out differently.

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  3. Wowza! I’m sorry you had to listen to those ignorant and uncouth people. Your response was perfect.

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    1. What are the odds of two strangers bonding over me wearing my state mandated mask in public? I usually love nothing more than to eavesdrop a conversation in a waiting room but this one was supercharged and fast rolling. Made my head spin.

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  4. I would have had to walk away. I wouldn't be able to sit there and listen to their crazy theories. You had more patience than me. That's scary and I would have moved far away. Glad you are safe!

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  5. The waiting room only has eight chairs and I wasn't sure if the new car showroom had any at all. I was afraid if I left and had to come back someone would get my chair and I'd have to sit closer to these two people. I also was curious to figure out if they had ANY sense of reality. No, they didn't....totally brainwashed.

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  6. Oh lordy. I know they walk among us - especially around here - but you have more patience than I would have listening to that b.s. Wow. And why are the conspiracy theorists always looking for a fight? I'm sure he didn't know how to act when you weren't willing to get into it with him. UGH.

    The conspiracy theories about doctors being paid to say someone has Covid are so, so crazy. I had a vendor in my home last fall that started spewing cr*p like that (after he finished his task...just wanted to share the news, I guess) and I looked him in the eye and said I needed to be somewhere. He looked uncomfortable and left. I then wrote his local franchise and also their national people telling them just what I thought of him. They all apologized profusely, but I don't expect it changed anything. The next time we need something done by that company, I intend to ask for someone else or I'll take my business elsewhere.

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    1. It boggles my mind that conspiracy theorists can believe an entire nation of doctors and hospitals would all be in on a plot to cheat and lie on a medical document. And who exactly writes those $2,000 checked to them?

      They are always looking for a fight, aren't they. I see that in ones I know personally, like they want the opportunity to "set us straight" or show how much smarter than think they are than anyone else.

      I have quit using a guy who did wonderful work power washing my house because of his Trumpism. Maybe if they realize their incomes drops it will give them something else to think about.

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    2. I dated a guy in college that turned out to be an evangelical minister and rabid Trumper. He seems angry online and actually had a heart attach a couple years back. Yet there he was, posting from DC on Jan 6. Pretty sure he wasn't in the Capitol, but who knows? Honestly, they're all nuts.

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    3. They are and Trump gave all the crazies permission to believe they are mainstream enough to show their craziness in public.

      Some of those near-misses we broke up with back in our younger days were blessings in disguise.

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  7. OMG, what a nightmare. It is so hard to listen to such garbage and remain quiet but I am so glad you did till the end since he was bragging about his gun stash. What you said was perfect. The time has passed when I will challenge such ignorance openly. Glad you got out of there with only mental scars.

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    1. I swear they are all reading the same playbook. I meant it when I said he wasn't saying anything I hadn't heard before. My in-laws talk just like that in Facebook posts. The woman said she never watches the news anymore because they "lie" and he says he doesn't either. He gets two texts a day with all the information he needs. I was dying to know where the texts come from but I wasn't going to ask.

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  8. I have never met an idiot in person before. Let alone TWO in the same tiny room. Scary and sad. You handled it perfectly and now I believe there are real live idiots out there ...

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    1. They are real alright and in my part of the state it's not that uncommon to run into them. wish I knew what it's going to take to turn them around because they got the attention of senators and representatives all across the country who, even if they know better, are scared to cast votes that will tick off this segment of our society.

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  9. OMG, that indeed was Waiting Room Fresh Hell! But, I liked your response, even if you had to force the Cheerfulness so that he wouldn't get the satisfaction of getting a rise out of you. I've become quite convinced that The Cult thrives on their controversies and Hatred, so I don't feed it nor engage with it. It is frightening to know people like that exist all around and you don't always know who or what they are until they begin pontificating. And yes, they are a wealth of information that is very revealing and should be on the FBI Watch List, most of these Fanatics could be dangerous and their indoctrination has been thorough, so there's no reasoning with folks who've bought into a Cult of Personality and truly Believe the outrageous lies they've been fed and gobble up like Candy. I wonder if they can even discern the Truth now from the bullshit?

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    1. I do think there is mental illness involved when people get that engrossed in conspiracy crap that they can't tell the difference between facts that can be backed up with evidence and nonsense guesses...no sense of logic or ability to reason. I hate that Trump has given permission, so to speak, to his attempts to mainstream the crazies of the world.

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    2. I saw a Special the other day on how people become Radicalized, it was very revealing... it's an Old Play Book actually that is very effective. It made me realize that perhaps The Orange Menace fashioned himself from previously successful Cult-like Leaders who managed to radicalize large portions of populations.

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    3. The big question is whether or not he did it on purpose knowing full well he was lying. Was he playing a rich mans's game at everyone's expense.

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  10. Jean :

    wow unbelievable that there are people like these exist, being in NJ you believe whole of US is nice secular & logical country. you were so brave of saying what you told him, I would be scared, who knows these kind nut cases might be carrying guns

    Asha

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    1. According to the organizations that track hate groups and militias Michigan has more than our fair share of them. I live in a conservative area.

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  11. Sounds like Fla to me...lots of nutcase blathering trumpers here. Instead of evolution, we are seeing de-evolution back to stupidity.

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    1. You made me laugh and it's so true. I will be using that term in the future---de-evolution.

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  12. I tip my hat to you, again! Great courage, and quick thinking.

    My worry is that t has spread worldwide, including here.

    In relation to previous posts, travel (a short trip interstate) at this time, now that you can.

    I can't imagine you having a bird pet after years of dog ownership, but only you know best. ~Libby

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    1. Courage, maybe, but I didn't think before I just blurted out what I said.

      I am not liking living without a dog. It's too quite and without Levi I have nothing or no one that depends on me. But my wiser side is winning out on not getting another. The timing couldn't be worse for one thing and I knew his temperament, knew that he could win anyone over in my new place. The final thought on getting a bird will come in the fall.

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  13. Oh my, Jean! Brava to you for speaking your mind. If we all kept our mouths shut out of fear, well then the crazies have won. It must be the spring air because I had 2 encounters just this week when out enjoying the sunshine. People who just felt they had to give me their unasked-for (and stupid, uninformed) opinions on whatever what as on their small minds. I didn't even make eye contact with either of them and they still started yapping in my face. I'm going to have to keep a few snappy remarks in my back pocket, for the next looney tune that feels the need to unload on me and try to ruin my walk.

    Deb

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    1. I'll bet it's because everyone has been staying home so much and have penned up crap brewing in the brains. You don't expect someone to start in on you when you're out walking, though! Crazy times we're living in. "Can we just agree to disagree," usually works for me.

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    2. I did try that with Crazy #1 and he just kept talking right over me. The man would not stop to take a breath, even. Next time I think I will say “What is going on with you that you think I need to hear this?”

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    3. Same with the two people in the waiting room, they talked non-stop, and even though they were in complete agreement with each other they sometimes talked over one another.

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  14. My sister is a Trumper and I finally convinced her I wasn’t interested in talking politics. The worse thing about your experience was it was your mask that set them off. You handled it well.

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    1. Ya, his opening remark told me all I needed to know about him. What really shocked me, though, is that the woman was quick to agree. I knew right there that I wasn't going to interact with them.

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  15. Bless your heart for sitting there and remaining so calm. One of the things I miss most is civilized dialog. It's absolutely normal for humans to have a viewpoint and there's nothing wrong with disagreeing. But when the threats start (and talk of ammunition, bunkers, etc, are threatening), fear is raised and meaningful communication ends. Jean, I do believe you said exactly what that man needed to hear. Maybe he will think about his words and actions--we can only hope.

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    1. I do believe I shocked him and that's why he walked away. But he's too far down the rabbit hole for any meaningful change in his thinking.

      When I was younger I could have held my own in political conversations when we're in disagreement but I can't do it anymore except online where I have time to form my rebuttals.

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  16. Oy vey! I've been careful not to express my views without finding out what the other people think, but as you've said, the Trump years gave people permission to express these views with no consideration for others. I just keep wondering if it's possible to return to a sense of common purpose with the web providing so much misinformation to feed people's beliefs.

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    1. I struggle with that same concept, that we won't be able to return to a common purpose for the general good because of the multitude of ways people get information and misinformation now. We can't restrict Freedom of Speech but there must be a way to combat it when it's used as a weapon to destroy our very democracy.

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  17. Good of you not to get involved when the pair was talking but equally good that you let him have your opinion. No need to be aggressive but that doesn’t mean that a direct approach from others won’t stop you from a direct reply to them. If you have any police person’s ear, you could just mention the exchange?

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I don't know anyone on the police force since my husband's cousin died but I'm pretty sure this guy is on their radar. When he showed the woman his gun he told about walking into a bank with it and the police were called.

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  18. You absolutely should have said what you said! But sitting there listening is WAY more than I could have done! I'd have been wandering around the showroom and probably would have walked out with a new car. LOL

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    1. That's exactly what I did the last time I went into the new car showroom when I was waiting for an oil change. A salesman asked me how I liked my then 1 year old car and I told him everything I didn't like about it. Mainly that I hadn't driven a car in decades, missed trucks and didn't like the lack of room to haul things around it. He said, "I have just the thing for you" and he took me back to the prepare area where they were cleaning up my Trax to put on display. He cut me a deal I couldn't refuse. When I bought the car I just wanted to get rid of the van with the wheelchair lift and I wasn't sure how much money I'd have after all the stuff shock down after Don died, so I went with the lowest price new car model on the lot. I have not been back in the showroom since because I don't trust myself not to upgrade again. LOL

      I stayed because I think we need to listen to the crazies from time to time so we don't get complacent about staying involved with politics.

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  19. What an idiot, the world is full of idiots........

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  20. First thing I would have done after leaving -- probably while I was still in the parking lot, since with a tablet you could find the phone number -- is call local law enforcement or the FBI branch of Michigan near you and recount the conversation, down to the name, address and how to get into the bunker. I'd say "he may have only been blowing steam to rile me up, but you say if you see something, say something." I would NOT let that one stand. Not for one second. They have tons of people that can look into things like that and with all the info he shared, you'd easily be able to send them on a look-see.

    You should send the link to this post to the FBI and let them contact you.

    But your reply was great. The forced cheerfulness made direct confrontation a moot point. Well done. (It's not too late to call the FBI.)

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    1. If he had mentioned being in Washington and taking part in the insurrection I would have been taking notes on my Kindle and called the FBI. But he didn't say anything incriminating and it truly was not the first time I've heard guys talk firsthand about their bunkers. Having a guns and ammo bunker is not illegal and he claimed to have permit to carry his gun. Guys like him are not that uncommon in our state. We even used to know a guy who had a bunker like his and talked just as openingly about it as this guy---they are all paranoid in my opinion. It took the feds seven years to finally find a legal reason to go after him. Got him for not paying his taxes and it took an Army of feds to bring him out of his bunker. So, no, there is nothing to report to the FBI other than an unpleasant hour of my time not to mention that I have no doubt a relative or neighbor as already put him on their radar.

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