So I'm sitting in the Toyota service waiting area for the beginning of *apparently* a two-hour marathon of annoying commercials singing the praises of the newer model cars that I don't have but find that I suddenly want as I wait for my airbag to be repaired so that it doesn't...um...kill me. And I can't help but watch as countless technicians with their Toyota-branded red polos tucked neatly into their pressed chinos tell unsuspecting customers that the x, y, and z in their vehicles need to be replaced for a *gulp* obscene amount of money. And if they don't sign on the dotted line and hand over their plastic, the smiling, neatly tucked technician explains, they will likely get stranded in the middle of the highway, be subsequently run over by some semi tractor trailer, and have to be scraped off the pavement like a salted slug.
Thirty eight minutes and I'm growing anxious ... worried that every red and tan clone with a name tag is coming to tell me that my 84,000-mile hunk of junk needs repairs that will require a second...or even a third mortgage. "B...but..." I imagine myself saying through a quivering lip and chin. "I just came in for the recall."
"It's imperative," he will say, his voice confident, his brow furrowed in fatherly concern, "for your safety." And whatever defenses I have will crumble faster than a sand castle in a tornado.
-----twenty minutes later----
Miguel, the clone assigned to me, just left. The diagnosis? A cracked drive belt, a leaking water pump, a dying battery... And what little I had (or expected to have) in my bank account has magically vanished. <poof> Did you know there were live magic shows in the Toyota dealership waiting room? Me neither. After the disappearing bank account trick, perhaps Miguel will pull a rabbit out of the fly of his chinos or turn a Camry into a flock of canaries.
Alas...I am defeated. Broke, tired, and hating Miguel. Of course I realize that my anger is misdirected, but I hate him and his rabbit filled chinos nonetheless. I'm not proud.
And here I sit drinking complimentary coffee and suppressing the urge to pull a Michael Douglas in Falling Down when this little girl -- imagine pigtails, sun freckles, and a Hello Kitty Band-Aid on her tiny sandaled foot -- seated two seats to my right suddenly says, "Did you see my bufferfly?" She holds up a crayon drawing with more colors than I remember existing in the largest box -- the one with the sharpener on the back.
"That's beautiful!" I say, and she flashes me an impressive toothy grin that instantly melts my anger and fills me with joy.