On the spur of the moment this morning I decided to take my car in for servicing. I chose to wait for the work to be done even though I was warned that it could take up to two hours. I was not in any particular hurry today. I had a cup of hot coffee and my e-reader. So, I was set. Besides, I really don’t mind waiting in public areas if I have the time. Such places offer loads of ideas for stories, poems, art pieces, and sometimes just food for thought offered up by every person who passes by. Today was no different.
A number of customers had come and gone while I waited. The last one, though, was the best. This fifty-something bleached blond in a tight tee-shirt and leggings and a pony-tail poking through a baseball cap pulled up in a sleek black Lexus. She got out and sauntered up to the counter. She flashed a smile at the manager and proceeded to tell him about a brake issue with her car: “It’s pedal to the metal, all the way.” I was wondering if she was really talking about her car.
While she waited for the manager to write up a quote for the repair, she turned to me and said, “It is COLD this morning, isn’t it” Indeed it was– it was 38 degrees this morning. I agreed and commented about how many people I knew who were getting sick from colds and flu this winter– you know, the usual conversation you have with strangers. Then she said, “Yes! That’s so true. My daughter is recovering from Legionnaires’ Disease.”
I must have conveyed a skeptical look because she added “I know! It’s so rare. But I’m a nurse so I know all about this type of stuff.” The woman prattled on for several minutes about her daughter’s condition and then said. “She got it from the bacteria in her car’s AC.”
With that, the manager looked up from his paperwork and arched an eyebrow.
“But do you want to know what the really weird part was?”
“There’s more?” I asked.
“Yeah, there’s this guy who lives across the street from us and he comes over one day when my daughter was really sick. I don’t know how he knew she was sick, but he did. He just talked to her for about five minutes, I don’t know what about, but after he left she started feeling better. And now she’s almost well. He healed her! He really did. I swear it. He is some sort of priest or minister or somebody like that. He always has people coming to his house. Isn’t that the most amazing thing?”
“It sure is,” I said as I took a sip from my coffee cup
“But here’s the best part: this priest is so hot!”
I coughed as my coffee went down the wrong way. I glanced at the manager. He had a faint smile on his face and I could see his shoulders shaking just a little as he held back a chuckle.
The woman gushed, “I could just look at him all day long— tall, dark hair with just a little bit a gray on the sides… Oh, I could just run my fingers through it. But if he’s a priest, then I guess he’s not available. I am so going to hell for this.”
I stared at her. How do you respond to a comment like that?
“Um, Ms. Chambers, here’s your estimate for the brake job” The woman turned her attention to the manager.
I continued to watch the woman. She was a walking cliché, yet she had a joie de vivre that I found most endearing. No, I wouldn’t recommend a woman putting cougar moves on a man of the cloth. That just seems fraught with disastrous possibilities. Yet, I wish that I had a little bit more of her boldness and transparency. She didn’t care what anyone thought. I could learn a thing or two from a person like her.
”Ma’am, your spark plugs need replacing.”
I turned my attention to the young mechanic who just walked off the garage floor.
“ I beg your pardon?”
”Your spark plugs. They’re way overdue for replacing. You better take care of that or you’re gonna have a problem soon.”
You got that right, kid.