Dear Jiffy Lube Mechanic

Dear Jiffy Lube Mechanic,

Remember me? I came by for an oil change on a rainy Wednesday afternoon around lunchtime the week before Memorial Day. You weren’t my first choice. I originally intended to spend my lunch break at the garage closest to my office, but when I turned the corner, the parking lot was completely full—everyone apparently having the same idea as I, to get last minute service work done on the car before holiday travel.

In comparison, your establishment looked closed, and I was tempted to turn around and go back to work, half my lunch break already wasted and I still hadn’t eaten, but you were leaning against the side of the building waiting for me. So I pulled in, and you approached my window, gestured for me to roll it down, and asked what you could do for me. I informed you that I only needed an oil change. You asked me the mileage on my car (around 61,000—I don’t do much driving), and listed for me the pricing options and complementary services you offer for every oil change, like breaks and lights check, tire pressure, windshield wipers, and vacuuming (which I really needed, since in the two and a half years I’ve had that car, I’ve never gotten the floors vacuumed).

While the men were under the car, took me aside to your computer and informed me the services my car was due for: transmission service for every 60,000 miles at $149, fuel filter change every 30,000 miles at $79. I wasn’t prepared to spend all that money when all I wanted was a basic oil change, and I’m still not so sure you weren’t just trying to sell me stuff, but I wrote it down, just in case, for future garage visits when I had the funds. However, you sold me on the new air filter and the more expensive oil change that would give me 7,500 miles, which meant my next oil change won’t be for at least another year with how often I drive, and you also offered me ten dollars off.

Is it common practice to tip mechanics? If so, you deserve at least twenty percent gratuity for such great customer service. Miles ahead of the garage I usually take my car.

I stayed in the waiting area inside while you worked on my car. I brought my writing journal along to do some character sketches and story outlines. I was participating in the Short Story a Day May Challenge, and I had also challenged myself to write a new short story for literary magazine submission. With May nearly over, I was successful in posting a new flash story on my blog every day, but I had yet to start on my new literary story. I wanted that to change, because believe it or not, It’s been almost two years since I’ve written for anything other than my blog. So doubt was seeping into my mind.

Then you came in to tell me my car was ready and saw me writing. You asked if I was a writer. After hesitating, I said yes. Claim it, I thought to myself. Don’t apologize, don’t make excuses, you are a writer. You are published. You asked me if any of my work was available for you to read, and I tore off a sheet of paper and quickly scribbled down the online magazines where some of my favorite stories are published. Like “Full Court Drama,” published in Agave Magazine, “Clouded Memories” in Cease, Cows, “Folly” in Minerva Rising’s “Sparrow’s Trill” issue. I also wrote the web address to my writing blog and gave the scrap paper to you.

You stayed while I paid the girl at the counter, then walked me out the door and to my car. That’s when you asked for my number. And while I’m not one to just give any guy my number, especially one I just met thirty minutes before, I gave you mine, not only because of all your help with my car, making me feel like I truly received service and didn’t just spend a bunch of money, but also because you showed more interest in my mind rather than my looks. You opened the driver’s door for me, let me in, and promised to call me soon, take me out sometime, eager to hear me read some of my stories to you. I left with a smile and much anticipation.

But you never called.

I thought maybe you were abiding by the rule—wait a few days to call, don’t appear too desperate and available, make them sweat a little.

But now it’s been two and half weeks, and while there’s still a possibility that you might call, my hope is stretching thin. I’m not mad . . . not really . . . just a little disappointed. I’m at a place in my life where I’m not interested in a romantic relationship, but I was really looking forward to making a new friend, someone who was supportive of my writing. I don’t have many friends like that, apart from my blogging family online.

What happened? Did you change your mind about me? Was getting my number just a bet between you and the other mechanics? Did you forget my name and lose my number amid your hundreds of contacts? That happened with a lady at church once. Maybe I mistakenly gave you the wrong number. Things like that slip my mind quite often—remembering my own phone number. If I did, believe me, it wasn’t on purpose. Maybe I gave you the right number, and you did call, but I didn’t answer. Because of the rise in scam phone calls, I don’t answer numbers I don’t recognize. But you could’ve texted me; I do answer those. It might’ve even been better if you’d called me while we were both standing by my car. I could’ve saved your number in my phone then.  At least I could’ve gotten your name. I’m sure you were wearing a nametag, but I don’t think I ever looked at it.

I guess my only option now, if I ever want to see you again, is to go back to Jiffy Lube, use the over due transmission service or fuel filter change as my excuse for my visit. But let’s be serious, I’m a bit of a penny pincher, and I probably won’t go back to a body shop until after I attend the “Getting to Know Your Vehicle” seminar that the Men’s Ministry at my church is hosting, just so I’m sure I understand all the maintenance work that’s required for my car to keep from over spending.

Also, I’m afraid you won’t remember me, and that would be so much more embarrassing.

So if you happen to read this, I’d like to say I’m still waiting for your call—maybe we could meet up to see Wonder Woman together—but if you’ve chosen not to continue your pursuit, it was really great meeting you. You seem like a great guy, and any woman, especially if she’s a single, insecure writer like me, would be lucky to have you as a friend.

Sincerely,

The car illiterate writer with the red Hyundai

 

What NOT to Do This Friday Night

Happy Friday! Thank God it’s finally the weekend. Sure, most of us are probably at work, but c’mon, who really works on a Friday anyway? Your minds are already on tonight, and on Saturday night, and on praying for forgiveness Sunday morning.

I’ve heard it’s a holiday weekend, though I’m not sure what holiday. People don’t normally take the Friday before President’s Day off. Especially since we don’t get President’s Day off. Maybe the people working in the federal government do, but us average Joe’s, working eight to ten hours a day, making next to no money, we definitely don’t get the day off. Hell, I doubt even the kids get a break from school. Unless it’s a teacher work day, which means the tired, worn, and broken teachers still have to report.

Ahh, such is life.

But I’m not here to complain about how hard working Americans don’t get nearly enough vacation days in the year, or that my temp contract requires me to work 2,000 uninterrupted hours before I can get paid holiday. (For those of you slow at math, that’s 50 freaking weeks!)

Truthfully, I am here to celebrate that it’s Friday, and that I’ll have two days off to relax, regroup, and most importantly, write.

How do you plan to fill your weekend? To my single readers, should I expect nothing but pure debauchery and regret? That was always the case for me—more regret than debauchery, though.

Which brings me to what I really want to talk about . . .

STAY HOME!

My church has a Saturday night contemporary worship service for millennials and people who ain’t trying to get up on Sunday morning . . . or miss football (man, I miss football).  Anyway, last Saturday, one of the associate pastors preached a sermon on staying under the authority of God. One thing he said that truly tickled me was this:

“When you leave here tonight, don’t go home and put on your disco clothes. Put on your pajamas and get in the bed!”

Boy, the congregation had a hoot! (See, it’s ok to laugh and have fun in church). But all joking aside, if everything within the fiber of your being is telling you to stay home tonight, listen to it. We are always asking for signs, some divine intervention to show us where to go and what to do. But when they come, and the answers to our burning questions are glaringly obvious, we choose to ignore them and get ourselves into trouble.

Trust me, when God doesn’t want you to do something, He’ll make it known.

via Final Destination Wiki
via Final Destination Wiki

A few months ago, a woman at my church told us a story about a time during her not-so-Christian days. She was seeing (insert sleeping with) a man who had no intentions of being anything serious with her. One night, she drove to his place in a horrible storm. Torrential downpours, crashes of thunder, lightning streaking across the sky. When she got to his apartment complex, the parking lot was flooded, and a lightning bolt had either struck the water or had struck a wire that was spinning around in the water. Every time she tried to get out of the car, the wind blew harder, and the electrically charged water rose closer to her feet. Finally, she decided he wasn’t worth her life and went back home. Would you believe that when she got home, there wasn’t a drop of rain falling from the sky, not a clap of thunder, nor one strike of lightening? Nothing to indicate there had been a storm anywhere in the city. Nothing but peace and tranquility. She looked up and there wasn’t even a cloud; she could see the stars. Now if that ain’t a sign . . .

Needless to say, she didn’t see “ol’ dude” again after that.

I’ve had signs like that. Not as wild, but they’ve definitely come. The last one came this past Christmas. I had recently resumed talking to a guy I used to date. We had a huge falling out back in March, and it should’ve ended there. Unfortunately, I don’t always listen to my inner conscience.

On one of those lonely nights, I finally answered his texts, and we made a date to drive around the city and look at all the Christmas decorations. Of course, I had to drive because he had no car (note to self: date a man who can at least get himself and you around). I lost interest in the lights pretty quickly, and was ready to take him back to his place. In fact, I was fully prepared to drop him off at a reasonable hour—8:30—go home, put on my pajamas and get in the bed like a good little Christian girl.

I don’t know why I didn’t kick him out of my car, but we sat there in the parking lot close to an hour, and I listen to him drone on and on with his chauvinistic pride, which was really quite laughable, because what exactly did he think he had that made him better than everyone else?

You can scratch a car off that list. You can scratch money to pay for a girl’s dinner off that list. You can scratch a clean apartment off that list. You can scratch a furnished apartment off that list. You can scratch money to buy aspirin for that damn toothache he kept bitching complaining about—a toothache that prompted him to leave me alone in his house for an hour on two separate occasions to meet a friend for the medicine, only to come back with that same toothache and still no medicine—off that list.

And while material things don’t mean a thing, he was a very materialistic person, and he fronted like he had something people would be envious of, when in reality, he had nothing.

But the ultimate sign came when I looked in my side mirror and saw a penis.

aaseriously

One of his neighbors was standing next to my car, his phone in one hand, his penis in the other, peeing inches from my gas tank. Mind you, it was still about nine thirty/quarter to ten. I was parked under a street light. The road was literally right in front of us, with cars driving by! If not me, someone else was bound to see him.

It was the most repulsive and unsettling experience I’ve ever had in my life. To make it worse, when he saw that I was in the car, he and his homeboy preceded to watch me through the driver’s window and laugh, while the guy I was with did nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, he thought it was funny too.

I was not laughing. And I damn sure wasn’t comfortable.

But even after all that, I still went inside his house, greeted by the disgusting stench of rotten potatoes. (Do you know how long potatoes have to be sitting out for them to get that far gone? A long time! Who doesn’t know the bag of rotten potatoes sitting in the corner of their empty kitchen is the source of the foul odor filling their apartment?!) I stayed there while he left me alone (to not remedy his toothache), babysitting his stupid, jumpy puppy, watching some idiotic American Pie-type movie, starving because he didn’t have any food and his kitchen stank.

Eventually, I left. But it it was nearly midnight, and I was so frustrated with myself for allowing someone like that to completely waste my time and disrupt my inner peace that I went home and wrote a nasty Facebook status update that I later deleted.

But seriously, did I expect something different? His utter disregard for my feelings, my time, or my comfort was the exact reason we fell out last March.

Being bitten by that loneliness bug renders you temporarily an amnesiac. I should find something else productive to do. Like tell you of my horror stories as a reminder to myself.

I say all of this not to gain your sympathy (really, I’m fine. Single . . . Mingle Me Not, remember?), but to urge you that if you have a sinking feeling your Friday night will result in a similar train wreck . . .

STAY HOME!

Go see the new Lego Batman movie with the kids. Meet up with your girlfriends at the bowling alley for a night of gutter balls and chili cheese fries. Put on your pajamas and go to bed.

Do anything but call that no good man who still hasn’t made you his girlfriend, yet requires boyfriend privileges.

You’re worth so much more than that.

via Pinterest
via Pinterest