Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My relationship(s) with car service managers.

It seems like every time I bring my car into the dealer, I develop a crush on whichever service manager takes care of my car. The procedure is this: You pull into the massive garage. Along the left are desks where the service managers handle phone calls and write up the paperwork for your car. They are the ones who handle the customers. They have their own "teams" or "pit crews" who do the actual car maintenance.The service managers are distinguishable from the rest of the crew by their crisp white oxford shirts and neatly pressed pants. Their hands are clean and nails manicured. Hair is often close-cropped and, if you're lucky, there's a gentle aroma of aftershave. They are friendly, patient and gentle. The first time I brought my car in for maintenance, my service manager was a tall, tan man named John. Despite the glint of a wedding ring on his left hand, I fell in love. He smiled as he greeted me, his white teeth gleaming. His voice smooth like honey. He wrote up my paperwork, guided me to the customer waiting room and told me where the vending machines and restrooms were located. When he left, I sighed dreamily. I spotted a poster containing photos of all the employees. I spent most of my wait standing before that poster gazing at John's photo.The next time I brought my car in for service, I looked around for John but he wasn't there. I was disappointed but when another service manager took me under his wing, John was soon forgotten. These crushes last only as long as it takes me to drive my freshly serviced car off the lot. After that, I wouldn't be able to describe many of the service managers facial features, how tall they were or, sometimes, even their names. Why do I fall for my car service managers? It's probably because they seem so confident, so self-assured. So capable. They give the impression they will take excellent care of my car - my baby. Maybe even rub it down with a soft, cloth diaper. Or maybe it's because for those 2-3 hours I'm stuck at the car dealership, I just need a little excitement in my life. Real or imagined.