If you had asked me a few weeks ago what my New Year’s resolution was I would have told you, “To get the oil changed in my car without looking like a complete idiot.” While getting an oil change is old news for most people, I had never done it before. And Snow White, my ’98 Honda Civic, was due, so a couple weeks ago I set out to see if I could accomplish my mission. I took along Shannon, my sister, because it’s always helpful to take another inexperienced person with you when you’re doing something new. After circling around the Honda dealership, we decided to go in and ask for directions. We walked through the main entrance and stared into a sea of middle-aged men.
“What should I do?” I asked my sister.
“Ask him. He looks friendly.” Shannon pointed at a cardboard cutout of a cartoon man standing beside her.
I considered it until I saw an employee with wiry glasses walking toward us.
“Could you please tell me where I go to get my car’s oil changed?” I asked.
The man with the glasses smiled and cheerfully gave us a full explanation, complete with pictorial references out the front window.
“Unfortunately,” continued the man, “I see we aren’t taking any more cars today. We stop changing oil at 3 on Saturdays.”
It was 2:45 and there was a line of several cars.
“That’s okay,” I said. “I’ll come back on Monday.”
As I was heading for the door a handsome young man came in from the garage and walked over to me.
“Do you still need your oil changed?” he asked, smiling, “If you just give me your keys I’ll drive your car around to the garage and we can fit you in.”
“Um, thank you,” I said and dropped my car keys into his open palm.
As he walked back out the door I blushed and Shannon started humming a Taylor Swift song under her breath. We found a place to sit and wait, and about twenty minutes later Mr. Handsome came back in from the garage.
I was a bit taken aback when Mr. Handsome literally knelt down on one knee in front of me and began talking about the status of my car as if he was reciting lines from a Shakespearean sonnet. I shifted in my seat, hoping my face wasn’t as red as it felt. Apparently I wasn’t the only one frazzled because at one point Mr. Handsome stumbled over his words and said,
“I’m sorry, am I talking too fast? Let me try that again.”
I looked over and saw Shannon beginning to fill out a wedding registry. I’m still not sure if it was for me or for herself.
After Mr. Handsome finished his serenade he stuck out his hand, and it took me a moment to realize he was expecting me shake it. Then he walked us over to the checkout counter.
“Now, if you ever have any trouble with your car, you just bring it here, okay? As a valued Honda customer, we’ll be happy to help you….no charge.”
Right, Mr. Handsome. We’ll see about that. Then Mr. Handsome stuck out his hand again, this time giving both Shannon and me a firm shake before he disappeared.
When Shannon and I finally got back inside Snow White I sighed with relief. I had survived my first oil change. But as I looked around, I realized it wasn’t over yet.
“How in the world do we get out of this place?” I asked.
Shannon and I discussed it for a while, and though we thought about driving around the garage to figure it out, we decided it best that I get out of the car and ask. So ask I did, and a nearby employee assured me that as soon as I started my car, he would open the garage door in front of us.
The story of my oil change escapade made for quite the entertainment at dinner that evening as Shannon and I reenacted everything that had happened. When we got to the part about Mr. Handsome my dad decided that next time I take in Snow White he’ll come along for the ride, too. And as far as me accomplishing my New Year’s resolution? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide.