Adjusting to unemployed life has its ups and downs. Some moments, it's "I have total freedom to plan trips, see all my friends, and write my highly-anticipated memoir!" Other moments, it's "I have all the time in world to stare at the ceiling as my life ticks by, while the rest of the world has jobs, spouses, and children. I'm capable of nothing." These contrasting feelings typically change as fast as the radio can change Taylor Swift songs. Things are going well.
|I said, "9:30!"|
Today's necessary task to fill the time: routine oil change and inspection at Honda. There is
something beautiful about being able to choose any day and time for tedious but necessary appointments. (I'm calling the shots and I say, "Tuesday at 9:30!") There is also something horrifying about losing the concept of what day it is, and waking up in a hungover panic on Monday, thinking I missed my date with Honda, but that's beside the point.
The point is that my flip flop broke, the moment I stepped out of my car and struggled to get my key off my 5 pounds of tangled keychains. Even though I know nothing about cars, I like to give the illusion I do. I aim to march into Honda confident, stern, strong, knowledgable, a little irritable, showered, and with footwear that says, "I'll do the walking all over you
!" Once that flip flop broke, the rest went out the window.
The service department quickly saw me as a weak gimp who could be offed with a wind gust when I tried to walk around the waiting area. The side of the flip flop came unattached from the bottom, so I clenched the flop with my toes, getting a few normal steps in along with the stumbles of when my foot would fall completely out of the flop. I tried turning my foot out more, turning it in more, shuffling the one foot, shuffling both feet, and throwing both flip flops at the TV, going barefoot. None of this helped me look savvy or employed.
|I need popcorn.|
First service estimate: $1,635 plus tax and a blood sample. Once I stopped crying and found my shoes, I asked the kind man why my oil change seemed so pricey. He used a lot of terms like "timing belt," "spark plugs," and "tires," so I had him repeat each potential repair and bring me popcorn. As my eyes dried, I remember my father had always told me things like timing belts and tires are scams for the service departments to make more money. I put my bare foot down to the big ticket items, and settled on paying a mere few hundred dollars for fluid flushes and bottomless coffee.
Then came the waiting game. Routine, thousand-dollar oil changes typically take an hour or two if they know I'm waiting, so bringing Beyoncé (my car) in at 9:30 a.m., I planned to be out of there around 11, noon if things go terribly. Once noon arrived, every passing minute was agony. I'd heard each news story 4 times already, I'd read each newspaper, including the Wall Street Journal (or closed my eyes behind the pages), and had to flop to the bathroom twice. By 12:30 p.m., I was texting all my friends, parents, and high school teachers with complaints about my morning, and by 1:00 p.m., I was back to tears. At 1:30 p.m. I was recovering from a nervous breakdown or midlife crisis, and at 1:36 p.m. I got my key and a printed copy of the morning's regrets. I shuffled out the side door, per Honda's request.
1:38 p.m.: I sit in my car, my car alarm starts blaring, I get out of the car, looking around for what to do, since I've never heard an alarm from my car because my keys don't have a panic button.
2:00 p.m.: I drive away from Honda, vowing never to return.
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