I LOVE(D) MY CAR
Driving along in my ancient Saab 900 and I was feeling happy. I love driving, especially in my old friend. Even Top Gear said it was the best car ever made. And it just stopped. It would turn over but it wouldn’t move and I was in the left turn lane of a main road at 5:20 in the afternoon in Toronto rush hour. I put on the flashers and was waived across the road by a man who offered to push me onto a side street. Calls were made to CAA and to warn my mechanic Vito.
When I piled out of the tow truck at Vito’s garage I saw he was pretty stressed out. There was a bit of barely audible foul language. I like Vito a lot and this is a part of him that I’d never seen. He did say he had so much to do and he couldn’t get a break. He just needed to finish what he was doing and then he could talk to me. I was cool about my little calamity so I say, “no problem, be at peace grasshopper”. He looked at me and burst out laughing and I burst out laughing. Vito loosened up.
This was a diffusion tactic on my part. I recognised that he was struggling and I didn’t want to add to it. Instead I used a line from the old “Kung Fu” TV series. He saw that I appreciated his situation and said something that made him laugh. Lightened the whole thing up.
As I write this I don’t know what’s wrong with my ancient Saab. I haven’t heard from Vito yet but I’m pretty sure he’s going to do his best for me. If it means it’s time to let the car go, I think he’ll be gentle.
BONUS – Whenever I use “Be at peace grasshopper” it always gets a laugh. Guaranteed. I’ve been using it for a long time and it sits in my back pocket of ‘things to use when I need them’. Feel free to use it too and carry it in your back pocket when you want to diffuse a situation, not make it worse. It made the whole exchange better for both of us because frankly, neither one of us needed any more aggravation.