Monday, May 4, 2009

Under no circumstances

If you see my husband at a social event and you, knowing that he works at a car dealership that sells General Motors products, come up to him and say: "No offense, but there's no way I'd buy a GM vehicle from you right now, or maybe ever again. But tell me, what do you think about Subarus and Volvos? Can you give me any pros and cons? Because I'm in the market for a car and those are the two brands I have my eye on."

Just don't do that, okay?

Because first of all, unless you are a gaping cretin (which you aren't, and you know who you are and I'd love to think you're reading this), you understand already that when you preface a sentence with the words "no offense," that means that you're getting ready to dish it out, right?

You might have noticed that my husband did not respond to you by saying, "None taken." Because, wow. Wow. Was he ever offended. And so was I.

I was so offended, that if we hadn't been at a lovely social occasion where people were dressed up and music was playing and hors d'oeuvres were being passed around on silver trays by smiling, bow-tied waiters, I would have gotten up close to your ear and in sweet, low tones (with a firm grip on your upper arm to prevent you from making a break for it) I would have told you a thing or two. Oh, yes.

For the rest of the party, I entertained myself by playing scenarios in my head of what I'd like to say, especially when someone asked you how your work was going and you replied with a hearty, "Oh, it's just great!"

I wanted to say, "Oh, it's really nice to hear that work's going well for someone, because for us, it is a constant struggle to keep the utilities connected and the rent paid, even though my husband works sixty-five hours a week. Because he doesn't make money just because he's there, you dig? He has to sell cars. And it's hard enough selling cars to die-hard Chevy fans these days without people accosting him AT A PARTY where he's finally getting a chance to relax and have a beer with some friends AND ASKING HIM TO WEIGH THE MERITS OF FOREIGN CARS FOR YOU, you bodily orifice."

I could have gone on about how we now have to depend on social services in the state of Indiana to provide health care for our children for a tiny monthly premium based on our income, or how he hasn't taken a vacation in three years, or how he spends much of his time on his days off in good weather either mowing lawns for people or going around asking people if he can mow their lawns. He doesn't mind doing this because he has an incredible work ethic and he's also one of those people who enjoys yard work and likes being outside, but if you think we wouldn't all rather be spending time together, you'd be wrong.

Call me petty and childish, but it is pretty hard not to hope that your car choice, whether Subaru or Volvo, turns out to be a total lemon that will have you tearfully wishing every day that you'd bought another Chevy from my husband. It's hard not to be fervent in my desire for you to find a mechanic who will totally hose you for each oil change, tire rotation and belt replacement you need with your Subaru. Or your Volvo. Also, I'm trying not to sit here thinking that it is an insult to bodily orifices to refer to you as one.

I am trying to get over all that because I'm aware that this is, well, petty and childish, not to mention un-Christian, but you have just about driven me to it with your smug superciliousness and your Consumer Reports magazine and your rudeness in feeling that a party would be a great place to tell my husband how you believe that the General Motors Corporation deserves to go straight into liquidation.

Would you like me to come to you and tell you -- no offense -- that I hope the company you work for goes belly-up and leaves you with no main source of income in these current economic straits the country is in? No? Really? Imagine!

And do you really think that my husband, the car salesman, has any authority whatsoever with the United Auto Workers or General Motors' board of directors? Do you really feel that the grasping greed of the corporation and the corruption and entitlement of the union is somehow his doing? Look, my friend, the auto dealers and their employees are caught in this web just like all the parts suppliers for the manufacturing facilities and all the many subsidiaries who do this and that under the purview of GM: we're all here getting screwed just like you think you are. Which, why do you think that?

You are, plainly put, an idiot.


Kayte said...

It's that "walk a mile in another's shoes" thing...sometimes we all just don't get it until it is pointed out. I am sure everyone has some such story...people are always coming to M and asking him for recommendations for lawyers...uh, duh...perhaps the firm that is standing before you could help out? "Oh, no, I just want someone I can trust that is close to where I live." Now, why put that "trust" thing in there...close to where you live is understandable, but the "trust" that an issue with the firm standing in front of you or what the heck is that supposed to mean??? I am as guilty as everyone else...I am certain that I have stuck my foot in my mouth on more than one occasion. Here's another one that gets me...we have had the same dentist since the boys were 2...a friend's son just graduated from dental school and is setting up his own practice...she is furious with me at the moment because we won't switch our boys to her son's office instead of the dentist we have had for the past 15 years. I am perplexed at what I can do at this point. She is serious...if we don't switch, she will have a difficult time being friends anymore. HUH????????

Shelley said...

Wow. "Trust"? What B went through this weekend is bad enough, but at least he wasn't being personally impugned in a backhanded matter.

I would have been severely tempted to reach out and grab that person by the nose and say with a beaming smile, "I'll let go of this when you apologize to my husband."

I'm sure I've stuck my foot in my mouth before as well, but what happened with B was just stupid and outrageous, right up there with the "trust" remark. I mean, write a letter to Detroit or go picket in front of the local union hall, but don't buttonhole the poor guy and tell him that you're going to punish his family because the corporation is so stupid and the UAW is so greedy.

I do not get this part of it at all: Asking a lawyer to recommend a firm that he doesn't work for and asking a car salesman to recommened a car he doesn't sell. What is up with that? I don't understand why people don't see how outlandishly rude this is.

The thing with the dentist, I just don't understand. I'd think that the new dentist would send out those announcement cards saying that he has set up a new practice and family and friends who switch over get some kind of gift to thank them for their support if they change over -- we got a Brita water pitcher for changing optometrists once! (Our new optometrist was a home schooling dad and he sent announcements to a home school group we belonged to.)

Isn't this kind of thing the accepted way of doing things? Just a friendly "Hey, remember me from when I was fourteen? Well, now I'm the new doc in town" to bring people in. Then, if they do, that's great, but there's also that unstated understanding that some people will and some people won't....

It's just a bit offensive to get angry with people who decide to stay where they are. If B and I were only friends with personal acquaintances and family members who bought cars from him, we'd be a couple of lonely people.

I can't believe this friend chose to pick this fight and put a friendship on the line. Yikes. I wonder if she's ever thought it might not be a good idea to try to manipulate her friends into becoming her son's patients?