Day 5 in Boca Del Vista. I’m just settling into the notion of relaxing and having no particular place to go. I could get sort of used to this, but if this is retirement then my current sabbatical will be cut short. I need more to do. But the sun is a nice distraction as I try to sort out my life and plan next steps. I hear it is snowing at home right now. Screw. That.
Out of obligation to mom for her hospitality, and out of a need for something to do I took her car to get an oil change today. There is no shortage of places to service cars here, and despite my mom’s insistence on finding the best price I went with a name I knew and found a franchise. She doesn’t believe me that a full Synthetic oil change is 80 bucks no matter where you are, despite the 25 to 50 dollar special they offer online.
I took my time on the 20 minute drive. I left early to allow for misdirection and I just don’t feel like rushing around. I arrived 5 minutes early and pulled into a packed parking lot significantly less organized than Father’s Day in a Tennessee trailer park. I found a space and went in and greeted the amiable-looking fellow behind the counter. Despite making an appointment, he of course couldn’t find me in the system. Once that obstacle was overcome, the car was promptly brought into the service bay.
I’m not sure how the conversation began, but it was revealed that the amiable-looking fellow was a former street racer. Think Fast and Furious 1-172. He seemed to have a moment and he felt compelled to regale me with tales of his former lifestyle; encounters with police, his inability to get insurance later in life, and his near-death experiences. As a gearhead wannabe, I was enamored with the conversation but only dared to offer tidbits dare my lack of knowledge of vehicle technology reveal itself. It was good stuff, and overall it was a tale of redemption. He learned from his wild youth and is now, at 28 years old, managing his own shop. I liked him. I am a fan of the working man.
Soon, we were joined by what I could establish as a regular and two employees. The conversation inevitably turned to politics. There was no abundance of democrats in the room. The conversation was civil but leaned very right, so much that it almost made the moderate conservative in me feel like a liberal. I listened in to gauge how much of a conversation was occurring vs a series of tirades and rants. It was civil. When my opinion was solicited, the new kinder-better-fair and balanced me politely offered some insight and occasionally dissenting talking points to see if they were capable of tolerating. Now I am not a liberal. I lean right but I’m not a Nationalist. I try to see ideas for their merit, not what party originated them. As it turns out, I was able to steer them from attacks and Fox News talking points to a general discussion of the ideas and motivations behind the issues at hand. As it turns out, they were accepting of my input and they themselves were very capable of a civil and tolerant conversation. It was one of those moments that reminds me that we really are basically decent people that all need the same things, we just differ on the details.
Soon, an attendant brought the car around. I paid the invoice and thanked the gents for the great conversation. The amiable-looking fellow said to me on the way out,
“Thanks, Bill from New Hampshire. You’re one of the realest dudes I’ve talked to in my time here.” The others chimed in with agreement. As I pulled onto the controlled chaos known as a Florida Parkway I mused that “Real” is about the best damn thing I could have been called today.