Today I faced one of my biggest fears. Okay, two. Alright a lot. A lot of fears.
I had to ride with Ron the Auto Shop Guy to pick up my car from the mechanic.
First of all, just going to any type of repair or auto body shop raises many stress-inducing questions:
- Where do I park? Right at the bay? In the courtesy area? (It’s NOT obvious)
- Do I take the keys with me or leave them in the ignition?
- Will they ask a lot of questions? (my answers are limited to: “It just started going click click click-click” or “I swear I didn’t leave the lights on”).
And don’t start throwing around fancy mechanic terms like “switch” or “hood”. My eyes will glaze over and I will just nod (and it’s not a nod of understanding).
Even just paying the invoice causes my stomach to tighten. Do I wait for someone to come to the till or should I cough loudly? There is no sign outlining proper procedure. And once he takes out the pen to start going through the itemized list I just go to my happy place (it’s M&Ms, always M&Ms).
Second, I detest awkward silences. Riding in my own car with a stranger at the wheel is quite possibly the longest 12 minutes of my life. If it hadn’t been raining today, we would have had 11 minutes of silence instead of 10 due to lack of subject matter.
But today I had a realization. Silence does not always need to be filled. I KNOW. Complete mind shift. I was raised to chat up hairdressers, grocery clerks, bank tellers, and strangers waiting in line along with me. All it takes are a few generic questions and a friendly smile.
Maybe it’s because Ron had the heat a bit high, or the rain was particularly soothing streaming down the window, or it might have been that the wiper blades were especially hypnotic, I don’t know, but about 3 minutes into the drive I was feeling mellow and I realized a few things:
- I don’t care if Ron is from here originally or moved here as a youth
- I don’t care how long Ron has been a mechanic
- I don’t need to know his thoughts on the rain or the forecast for the week
This new found sense of calm was quickly replaced, however, with some very real questions and concerns:
- What if I get gassy?
- What if RON gets gassy?
Today’s real life lesson: just talk to Ron, keep that chit-chat going at all costs.