Saturday, August 17, 2013

The smallest of victories

I am a chronic overachiever and with that comes a distinct yearning to please those around me.  I'm sure most reasonable people dislike causing displeasure and I'm no different, except that I really, really hate it.

I am also non confrontational.  To a fault.  Sure I am sardonic--one former student even tentatively characterized me a spunky(?)--but I would be m.o.r.t.f.i.e.d if ever actually hurt someone's feelings.  Unless, of course, that person happens to be a grade A douchebag, in which case, they probably deserve it and if my life were a 1980's John Cusak romantic comedy (if only!), my verbal tirade at the rich bully threatening the teen center would probably garner some type of slow clap.

But while I have no problem shaming those I find morally or philosophically reprehensible, I'm not really combating Karl Gebhardt on a daily basis, am I?  Nope, I'm mostly trying to find a polite way to tell the employee at Time Warner Cable that I don't want to upgrade my current plan to the big spender deluxe package (even though it will allegedly be cheaper), in fact, all I wanted to do was to update my billing address.  And this reader, this is what I suck at.  I turn into a total mouse, my face flushes red from the pressure/embarrassment/discomfort/all of the above, and I end up agreeing to things I don't actually want just because I want to be moderately amiable.  Or I say no and feel racked with guilt because my capacity for empathy knows no bounds (which consequently often makes me hate myself a little on a regular basis when people think I don't like them), fueling all of these fictional narratives about how I am the big bad bitch that ruined all of these long suffering and orphaned people's lives.

So you can imagine my initial hesitation when Moses asked me to take the car in to get the head light fixed and the oil changed.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Wrong.  Soo much, soooooo much anxiety about taking it in and somehow being coerced into buying a new car to put inside Moses's car turducken style.

The name Wendy actually means "totally rational and not the least bit batty" in Welsh.  No it doesn't, but it should because clearly that it what I am.

Anyways, I decided to man up (woman up?) and take the damn car in already.  I'm an adult.  I should be able to do this without developing some sort of stress ulcer.

So I drop off the car seemingly without incident and walk to downtown Culver City, where I sit outside enjoying the beautifully mild weather, reading Harry Potter, and sipping on a glass of white wine.  About 30 minutes in, I get a call from the car shop and the mechanic asks if I am still in the area?  Yes.  Can I come back to go over the initial inspection.  As soon as I hear the word "inspection" my heart stops a little.

I know that I am going to go back there and he's going to tell me that our car needs $5,000 worth of work. (Incidentally, Los Angeles dentists have also trained me to think this whenever I go in for a cleaning.)

As I make the walk back to the car shop, I tell myself to put on my meanest, hardest, no bullshit poker face.

Which pretty much looks like this:

Convincing?  Didn't think so...

The mechanic sits me downs and goes over a not-as-long-as-I-thought-it-was-going-to-be list of repairs that we need done.

This is it.  This is the moment.  He's going to try to talk me into doing all of these things today and I will grin like an idiot and hand over my credit card and beg him not to hurt/hate me.

But that didn't happen.

Instead, I smiled and said: "I am just going to go with the oil change and the front headlight replacement today.  But thanks for the information, I will share it with my boyfriend and get back to you."

Mental gymnastics, I tell you.

Btw, calling Moses my boyfriend makes me feel about twelve years old.  There's got to be some other stronger intermediate term that doesn't sound ridiculous for couples after nine years together.

The mechanic replied: Okay.  And then off I skedaddled for some victory purchases at target.  And you better believe that as I was leaving the Honda auto shop, I felt like this:

And this:

One small, seemingly insignificant step for any normal person; one huge leap for Wendy.

Happy Saturday.

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