I trust you all had a merry Christmas. Mine was lovely and low key, just the way I like. The birthday went well, too.

Yesterday, I was on my way to do some grocery shopping and take care of my hobo-nails (the move did nothing for my manicure), when I realized I still hadn’t gotten my oil changed. So, trying to be a responsible adult since I am now 40, I searched out an open oil change place. The only one open was WalMart.

I do shop at WalMart–I’m not a snob about where I spend my money. They have good products that have always lasted a long time for me. Now, I won’t shop at every WalMart, or every Ross for that matter. Some of the stores are just too unorganized, cluttered, or flat out dirty. If I feel the need to sanitize my hands after every aisle, I won’t shop there.

The WalMart near our new home is just such a one. It is groddy. But, I needed an oil change, so I stopped off. The tech said, “You okay with a two and a half hour wait?” I said, “Okay.” It could be worse, right? At least there were things to look at inside. I wasn’t stuck sitting in the waiting room of an NTB for that length of time, smelling tires. And I’ve been there. With a toddler. Oi. He said, “That’s how long it’s going to be. Give me your phone number, and we’ll call you when it’s ready.” I did as instructed, then went inside to bide my time.

This WalMart has a nail salon, so I figured I’d kill all my birds with one stone. I could get my manicure, and do my grocery shopping, and eat a Big Mac while I waited for my car. I went to the embedded McDonald’s and ate lunch, then went into the nail salon. For their prices, I could get a mani/pedi and a little design, without spending too much more than I had planned on spending on a manicure at the Hawaiian Nail Bar (my favorite place to go for pampering.)

I got very good service there. So good, I might actually brave the horrors of that WalMart to go back. However, when I explained why I was waiting around, the nail tech cried, “No! Don’t ever take your car there! I took my car there and it broke the next day!” My heart sank, but what could I do? I smiled. Surely my car would be fine.

My timing was excellent, and I finished my shopping just at the 2.5 hour mark, and trekked back to the automotive area. I was congratulating myself on having kept a smile on my face whilst dealing with rude people, miscreant children, and the general yuck of a bad WalMart, and I was hopeful that I wasn’t going to have to wait too long for them to finish up my car. I began to pontificate. If we all smiled, if we all were kind, wouldn’t this be a nicer place to shop? Maybe I could be contagious. I smiled more, feeling gracious and –quite honestly– a little bit superior. I was wonderful, and these people were nasty. Wonderful, wonderful me. I nodded benevolently at a cretin who didn’t understand saying “Excuse me,” when you cut someone off. Poor dear. (What goeth before a fall? Oh, Lane. Will you never learn?)

Was my car ready? Er, yes. It had been ready for nearly two hours, cha! Just been sitting there waiting for me.

Ever feel your face fall? My smile fell right off. I said, “They told me it would be two and a half hours…” “Yeah,” the cashier grinned, “that’s what we tell people to give ourselves some leeway. It never really takes that long.” I gaped. I said, “But the tech said they would call when it was finished?” The cashier shrugged, “It’s been ready a long time.”

So much for my self-congratulatory mood. That’s cause and effect hubris for you, right there. I start feeling smug about how I can be patient and zen in a disgusting WalMart for 3 hours, the day after Christmas, and Zeus goes, “Ha ha, we’ll see about that.” Hmph.

Anyway, I paid the nice man, and rolled my basket full of groceries out the back door to my car, fussing to myself as people watched me struggle with the door and the buggy, dead, glassy eyes barely flickering registration that another human being was in need of help. So much for benevolent understanding that not everyone was raised to help people. I glowered nastily. I got my cart unloaded and put away, then went to start my engine. Can you guess what happened next? Or didn’t happen?

No more smiling at all. I spent the next twenty minutes insisting upon having my battery jumped because there had been nothing wrong with my car when I had driven it into their bay of doom, and having one after another tech argue with me. Poor B kept taking my calls, alternating with, “I need you to come down here because these fools are giving me $*%^,” and “Don’t leave yet, maybe this one can fix it.”

One finally got it going, and I drove away mad. Hopping mad. No smiling. No joy. Only aggravation and worry that my milk was spoiling in the backseat.

But it wasn’t a complete wash. I got a great manicure, and bought a couple of new, inexpensive sweaters to wear in my new, much more casual work environment. I also learned where not to go for car repairs, and remembered that being patient only works if you are patient all the time–not just when it is convenient.

Cold today, so I am layered up in one of my new sweaters. You’ll have to flip the colors for full effect, though. My tshirt is blue, and my sweater is a nice, butter yellow. I don’t know why the yellow sweater isn’t showing up online. Pricing is about right on everything, save the earrings and shoes. I bought my Merrells on sale at Cabella’s for $23, and I have worn the heck out of them for two years. They are incredibly comfortable and very, very warm. Important for my cold feet. The earrings came out of my mother’s jewelry box, decades ago.

I always buy a size or two up in a sweater. This does make me a little sad, when looking in the mirror, but it allows me to get more layers under it. I don’t like to wear coats, so my layers work best for me in cold weather.

1 thought on “Hubris”

  1. Even though I do on occasion shop there, our local Wal-Marts (all three of them) give me hives every time I’m there. The fourth Wal-Mart I avoid at all costs. Fortunately for me, I have a Super Target 5 blocks away so this isn’t a problem. (they don’t have a car care place or a nail salon, but it’s Target so I love them no matter what)

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