Buying a car should be fun. I said to my son Shane, “I will just enjoy the process.”
I ended up in tears feeling lied to, not a new feeling. I expect that from others. The world is a dangerous place. What do you want? How will you hurt me? What will you take? What are you really up to? What real meaning lies behind your words as I study your face for incongruities?
I am a studier. I have always been a face studier because it was important to know when my mother’s drinking turned her to the other side, a place where I’d hide in my bedroom away from her because she became someone I did not know or could trust.
Telling me you’re Christian does not allay my fears either, though with Harry the salesman it did help as I stared directly into his eyes that did not waver. I sat in church once, back row, trying to find a community of safe people to belong in. I heard an older lady in front of me gossiping about another women further ahead.
I felt so scared going into a new place among so many people I didn’t know until I heard her saying unkind things about the women in front. I believed anyone Christian was so godly and had to be so much better than me. At that moment I realized that was not so. Just going to church regularly does make you better or good, one has to work at it. All of us do.
It is hard to learn about the world if you’re too scared to go out and be in it. And for much of my adult life I hid out at home. Now I’m not hiding, I just like being home.
After signing the papers we walk down to the payment center.
“Patricia, I like to see my customers excited, happy, driving away smiling, and you’re not,” he says and I’m taken aback because usually no one bothers digging deeper past my reserves, walls and barriers.
I thought a few moments, deciding whether to share how my session went the day before with the finance person, and decided Harry was worth the effort and the risk.
“Well, I am upset. Carl explained your service plan which I was tempted to purchase but he neglected to tell me the most important difference between the GM plan and yours, that there was a hundred dollar charge each time I use it. He gave many excuses for not mentioning it but never an apology. If my son hadn’t told me to ask about a deductible I never would have known,” I said, tears falling without my permission, starting to shake with emotion just by talking about it.
He jumps in about Carl barely letting me finish, “Carl is not with it. Did you see his special chair?” he asks.
“No,” I answer.
“He has many challenges, has had back surgeries, and is in constant pain. He cannot even lift his child. His pain medication was increased and lately he is just out of it,” he relays.
And I immediately feel remorse for Carl’s sufferings and possibly adding to them, and a great depth of sadness for what was stolen in my youth, trust.
Samuel had said earlier in the day when I was so flustered and upset about feeling lied to and tricked, “Just let it go.”
I responded, “I can’t. It hurts, and stirs things up.You know I have trust issues. Something is fishy, not right. And I couldn’t sleep in the night because of it.”
I found out later, after Shane encouraged me to call Carl, that he really did forget to mention it when I voiced my displeasure about leaving out such an important fact, the most important fact. Only I didn’t believe him then, partly due to the lack of a real apology. When others make a mistake and hedge, adding excuse after excuse, my aggravation increases. Just apologize, I’ll accept it. Apologize and do what you can to rectify the mistake.
From Carl I had gotten, “Am I bad?” (I didn’t think that was funny) “I thought I had. I didn’t use my menu like I usually do, etc.” Never simply, “I am so sorry! I cannot believe I forgot, but I did forget and I am so very sorry.”
I sensed Carl was a decent, good person. I could see his eyes reddened by working hard and lack of sleep. He had relayed that often in the night he would get up because something he forgot at work kept him awake. He had to get up to write it down before getting back to sleep.
But the negligence of leaving out such an important fact made me doubt him. How could someone leave that out unless intentionally? My thoughts ran with buy the plan then get screwed.
I had asked Carl on the phone, “Did you do it on purpose?”
“No Patricia,” he had said, “I did not. We are honest.”
Which I interpret as exactly the opposite.
I hadn’t meant to tell my life story to a car salesman, but Harry kept at me and broke me down with his relentless need to see me happy, or maybe more so his incessant need to be liked and not hated as the vulture sales-man. He was also worried that I’d ruin his impeccable record because he was paid by his rating not by commission.
I did feel for him, but did I have to stay put and have the suggested cup of coffee while he went to do something? I knew what he was doing after the fact. He went to talk to Carl.
“What’s the deal?” he had asked Carl, “She said you didn’t tell her about the deductible and then didn’t apologize.”
“I thought I had told them,” he relayed to Harry.
Nope. If the word deductible popped up Samuel and I would have hopped on it like tics on a dog. But the man truly forgot, as hard as that is to believe. I’m crying on the curb with Harry as I explained my trust issues or lack of them. I was so tired I just wanted to go home, but I stayed and we talked.
Life is messy, talking to people is messy. Others have sensitivities and feelings too like Harry. He told me of his diabetic scare and almost death experience due to a septic infection after a groin injury, and not that long ago. And briefly glossed over being very obese until learning of his severe diabetes. He didn’t mean to try to talk me into the chocolate chip cookie I said no to three times. He just likes to see someone enjoy one since he can’t.
Oh, I so get that! When I’m curbing my unhealthy tendencies I still love cooking shows or watching Samuel eat things I choose not to.
So because of Harry’s persistence in trying to figure out my reticence and sharing those details about Carl, my darkness lifted. Staying and working through the fray with a person who really cared, and did not lie, gave me back my peace… with Harry, the dealership and with Carl. The experience was exhausting and stressful. Shopping is usually fun, but this one was not. I am glad to only do it every ten years or so. Phew!