Once Barry delivered the car …
… to me and after I moved back to Montgomery County, it was no longer feasible for me to drive to the dealership for service – to that remote town whose name I can no longer recall. I just knew it was very, very, very far away, – But don’t ask me for directions, since I couldn’t say whether it was north, south, east or west of where I was, not clearly knowing exactly where I was anyway.
It was just out there.
So I had to connect with the dealership in Montgomery County for service and my free, weekly car wash. Well, it took me a month to go in for my free, weekly car wash, plus, the car was being temperamental, and I had to have that checked out. I pulled into the Service Bay and I was approached by a Service Rep, and I told him I had come for my weekly, free car wash.
“Do you have your yellow card?” he said.
“What yellow card? I don’t know anything about yellow cards; I just know that BMW made a commitment to provide free, weekly car washes.”
“Well, you have to sign up for a yellow card, and …. That’s how we do it here.”
“But you are a BMW dealership and the Sister Company of that place where I bought it, aren’t, you?”
“What Sister Place?”
“The one in the middle of nowhere. That one.”
“Well, I’m not sure. Would you like to talk to the Service Manager?”
“I would.” I said. “Plus, my clutch overheated recently!”
Observing this exchange was Essex, also a Service Employee, and an older Black male – tall, lean, and handsome – who tried to advise the guy to just wash the car, but was unable to.
Soon after Lance came outside and greeted me. At that point, I was anything but your typical BMW client. I was disheveled, my hair, an almost perfect reflection of Medusa’s, except mine was asymmetrical, half-down and curled, and half-up, some parts better controlled than others with a thick elastic band, but with no discernible style or direction – other than random and chaotic, even other-worldly … maybe.
My clothing that day also reflected my overall dishevelment. In fact, I hadn’t showered yet, and that is why I looked the way I did. I would never go out in public deliberately looking that way, as I take pride in my appearance, and I am usually impeccably groomed.
However, as this task had been on my list for over a month and the prospect of putting a check mark, on the list in my head, greatly appealed to me, so I disregarded my appearance, and grabbed the opportunity, which erased any sense of vanity.
Lance escorted me to his office and I sat in a comfortable chair across from him and he asked me to explain what was going on, so I told him. I explained that Barry had told me about free, weekly car washes, and I couldn’t understand why it should be different from one BMW dealership to the next, especially since this dealership was owned by the same man whom I later referred to as a certain type of man.
“Plus,” I said, “The clutch overheated ten days after I got it! It’s not like it’s a Maserati. It’s a BMW! I expect solid engineering. And the clutch overheating makes me really nervous.
“And if it hadn’t been for Barry, I would’ve never gotten the BMW. We worked for months on the deal, and he was always there for me – unlike the owner, who is a total prick!”
Well, Lance’s face turned beet red as soon as I called his boss a prick, and he said to me: “I have to stop you right there. Have you ever met him?”
“No. But I would love to tell him that to his face. Or at least let him know that was my initial impression of him. When does he get here?”
“At the crack of Dawn.”
“Good. I’ll put it on my list of things to do!”
“Well, he is a wonderful person and a great boss, and I take offense when you refer to someone you have never met that way.”
“I may have never met him, but I made that statement based on a highly negative interaction I had with him indirectly regarding my car and which was communicated to me. And if you are offended, I am sorry. But just ask Barry. He’ll tell you how often I litter my correspondence with Fuck, as this is my favorite word. (So prick is relatively mild.) And we’ve been corresponding since March of this year!”
(It was now early December.)
Gradually, the redness retreated from Lance’s pale skin. Lance who is young -50s – and prematurely white-haired gradually restored his equilibrium.
And I apologized again.
And then we began talking and we talked and we talked and we talked. I still felt bad that I had hurt him and I felt ashamed by my behavior, and I later wrote him and told him that.
When we were done talking, Lance took me around the dealership and introduced me to staff. He wanted to make sure everyone knew me. He introduced me to the service staff and told them whenever I come in, to do whatever I ask them to do. (I was thinking about that though … Anything?)
But Essex already knew that.
Then he introduced me to staff inside the dealership as well.
“I just want you to know she is part of our family now.” he said.
And then he gave me a huge hug and told me if I needed anything to just call him or stop by, and, enjoy my car, as it was a beautiful car.
The odd thing is that those with whom I forge strong relationships often begin with major clashes.