The clerk typed away at what looked like an old Dell keyboard. Her laptop sat perpendicular to the monitor she was watching. Periodically, she’d glance down at her calendar and yellow notepad. The notepad was nearing the end of its life expectancy with only two or three pages remaining until the cardboard on the bottom. Johnny Cash sang in the other room. Probably an old cd player the mechanic bought years ago. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Behind the clerk, several low-lying, two-tiered bookshelves contained large volumes for ordering parts. Each was labeled: caps, brakes, lights. A few NASCAR pictures hung around the dirty cream walls. There were two informational posters, identical, stating aspects of the vehicle checked during inspections.
While the clerk typed, Johnny Cash sang, and the mechanic looked at my car, I sat with a camera around my neck. Initially, I thought of asking to video the mechanic’s work, but this one seemed focused and not wanting distractions. There was a scratch at the door and I lept up at the chance to move around the small office. I open the door to let two dogs re-enter. I had no idea their breeds, but they were old and quiet.
“Thank you,” the clerk says.
The shop had been recommended by a colleague of mine. And so far they had treated me kindly. The clerk and I had a brief chat, amounting to a few sentences of small talk. But it was pleasant and enough. I let her do her work, which seemed to involve searching for car parts and taking appointments by phone.
“You folks have a non-busy season?” I ask.
“Used to. But not anymore,” the clerk replies.
The mechanic’s footsteps echo through the workshop through the open doorway. He plods in and begins speaking before I even see him, “Gonna need some fixin’ on this car before it passes inspection.”
I had anticipated as much. “Whatcha think?”
“Brakes, front and back. And tires. Back ones ain’t bad, but front ones are nearly bald.”
“What’ll it cost?” I fearfully ask.
“She’ll look up the parts,” the mechanic replies, heading back to finish the oil change I’d added.
“Thanks,” I say.
And the clerk types away some more.
“Cooper tires again?” She asks.
“Don’t matter to me.”
She smiles. And adds a few more keystrokes followed by mousing through the options. I can’t see too much, but prices scroll through my mind. $500, $750, $1,000.
I watch her type up an invoice.
“Brakes’ll be $353 for front and same for the back. Tires are looking at $750 for the Cooper or $690 for these other ones here.”
“I’ll take the Cooper, I suppose,” I say.
“We’ll reschedule you for a time to put ’em in. When are you free in two weeks?”
What do you think of this scenario? Is it relatable enough? Can you visualize the scene? I should say no disrespect to mechanics. They have a job I am not capable of. And I appreciate the work they do.