| A life not lived - and that's just fine
||[Aug. 1st, 2003|03:11 pm]
There are moments when flashes of clarity strike, and you can see a future that no one wants to witness. If you avoid the moment, you are forever empathetic with the people whose circumstances did not break lucky.
On Monday I drove the BMW dealership with my friend Jeff, who needed to drop off his car for repair after a mysterious bonking left one running light hanging by its wires. He had called to verify the hours of the body shop, and we had both left work early to make the 5:30 deadline.
When we got there, the shop was locked. Irritated, Jeff strode into the dealership and demanded to see a manager. The receptionist returned to inform us that the body shop was under the purview of the used car lot and we needed to talk to the people the little shack next door. We walked across the way and asked a portly gentleman about it. He looked concerned – were we sure it was locked? Had we gone to the right building? Yes, and yes. That's odd, he muttered. He pulled out his phone and walked inside.
We loitered around for a few minutes, then I followed him in. He was sitting at a desk, on the phone. He looked up, perplexed, and covered the mouthpiece.
I kept my temper and asked if he wasn't checking on the body shop.
"Oh, if they aren't there, there's nothing I can do."
Was there anyone who could take the car?
"Well, you could try the Lincoln/Mercury Service Department. They manage the body shop."
That was when I saw the future. We had driven a long way out of our way, and I by the gods wasn't leaving without dropping off the car. I had the vision of myself standing in the body shop snarling, "I don't care who you call, someone is taking these goddamn keys!"
And the arrival of the police.
And the Channel 5 news van.
And that sound bite moment when I am pushing my hair out of my eyes and spouting vitriol about my treatment and sounding like a lunatic. Followed by the manager of the dealership in his office, shaking his head and saying that they really aren't sure what set me off.
Maybe the arresting officer saying I was threatening people.
And yet, what else was I going to do if they were assholes? Certainly not let them win.
As it turned out the Service Department people were pleasant, kind, and helpful. Crisis was averted. And I will always remember how close I came to being the public nuisance on the evening news, and that most of those people probably aren't as crazy as they seem.