Hello all. Sorry to have kept you waiting. When I said in the last article that the next segment would be up by Thursday or Friday I hope you didn’t think I meant last Friday. If you’ve been a loyal PSF reader you should know by now that when it comes to promises of timely articles, I often can’t be trusted. I’m not trying to NOT keep my word. I just lack discipline. A friend assured me that I would find a way to keep my word if a paycheck were involved.
On Thursday April 27th I woke up with a sore throat and congestion. I have been blessed with a robust immune system so I am always surprised when I succumb to symptoms that others experience regularly. Friday April 28th I drove Cecily to my insurance company’s preferred auto body shop in Vineland, NJ. My husband had great reservations. He wanted me to take the car to a place recommended by the Mini dealership. He said that only people who are familiar with Minis should care for the car and he was confident that the shop in Vineland didn’t have the necessary experience. I didn’t entirely disagree but a car is a car, right? If you can repair a rear quarter panel and replace a taillight on a Camry then there is no reason to think you can’t do the same for a Mini Cooper, especially if your business is fixing cars. After the body shop manager came out and took pictures I swarmed him with questions like:
• Will you replace or repair and repaint and how do you determine which?
• What is the preliminary estimate based on what you can see?
• When will I hear from you about the progress of the work on my car?
• When do you think it will be done?
He was very patient and kind and answered to the best of his ability, although he wasn’t truthful about the last two. But there was one very important question that I failed to ask, and had I thought to pose it, I would have saved myself a great deal of aggravation. I will leave you in suspense.
The body shop called for courtesy pick up and in ten minutes I was at the car rental counter waiting for assistance. The guy who helped me advised me that there weren’t many cars available and the few they had were still being cleaned. I wasn’t in a hurry. I didn’t have to be in Maryland to pick my son up from school for two and a half hours but I didn’t want to hang out at the rental place any longer than necessary. The agent offered me a minivan and I agreed. When I went to produce my card for the deposit and didn’t find it I remembered that it was on the dining room table. The agent said I could take the vehicle and just come back with the card. I was grateful and got in the van. I started the van and called my husband to catch him up on the details. He told me to go back in and get a different car. He said because I was accustomed to the Mini, the van would not be comfortable for me to handle and would cost too much to fuel. Sigh. I turned off the engine and went back inside, and waited. Finally the agent finished up with the two customers who had become his priority and turned his attention to me. I explained the situation and since I now had to get into a vehicle, get home, get my credit card, get back to the rental place and then get to Maryland to pick up my son, I asked for whatever car was available. I expressed my willingness to take a dirty car on the condition it didn’t smell like smoke. The agent gave me the keys to a Chrysler 200 and I pulled off the lot. I got a mile or so up the road and turned on the air and it was if Lucille Ball and Bette Davis were in the dashboard having a smoke-off. I pulled over and called the rental office to inform them to have a car ready for me when I returned with my credit card. By the time I got back, they had a recently washed, smoke-free, cruise control-free, Bluetooth-free Hyundai Accent waiting for me. I’m not a car snob. I admit that driving a quick, responsive car that takes curves like it’s on rails has spoiled me, but I am willing to drive any car that is dependable and not saturated in smoke. But when I saw that car my heart sank. It must have shown on my face because the agency manager, who had actually came out of his office to personally assist me when I returned old smoky, (this being my 3rd car in two hours no doubt triggered the *HMC alarm) told me to give him a call the next day and he would be happy to put me in a better car.
I acknowledged his offer and got in the car and started it up. Now a bit wiser, I blasted the air before moving the car an inch. No smoke. I thought, no matter how lousy things are there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. I plugged my phone into the auxiliary port and hit play on my phone’s music app. As many of you know, I don’t do much of anything without my music. A call came through just as I was pulling the car out of the parking space, and because the car wasn’t Bluetooth wired, I had to reach for my phone and fumble around to hit the speaker button to answer. It was a friend who also motors in a Mini she named Maggie, (alliteration unintended) and her first words were, “OMG, let me just tell you that I have had the worst day.” I immediately and flatly interrupted, “Hold it. There isn’t anything you can say that tops the fact that I am driving a Hyundai Accent off of a rental car lot at this very moment.” She screamed in laughter. I did not respond in kind.
Don’t worry. I am not going to leave you with this uninspired ending. There is more to come. And because I like to try to hold myself accountable to projects, I’m going to boldly proclaim that the next segment will be posted by 9:30 pm this Tuesday. It’s a very aggressive goal, I know. But I haven’t met any of my other moderate deadlines lately so maybe it’s time for a new strategy.
*High Maintenance Customer. They had no reason to worry. I am dependably well mannered, even in stress actuating situations. I wasn’t always. But the freedom to be able to walk away from ugly is one of the wonderful perks of the love of Jesus.