I took the car into the dealer for routine service. “Routine” is their word, not mine. The service takes about an hour. I was invited by the service representative to wait in a small but crowded adjoining chapel. I went in and took a seat in front of the altar. It was the only place where I did not have to look at a large television screen hanging on the wall.
The television was tuned to a station broadcasting the Today Show. I seldom watch television and had no interest in this one, but there was no escaping the sound. I had forgotten my glasses and couldn’t read my book. I just stared at the altar and hoped something might happen to distract my attention. The television voices were discussing summer footwear. The voices sounded as if they were emanating from the depths of a dark tunnel where nobody really knew anything about summer or cared about shoes.
Time passed. Lots of it. Nothing happened except the television voices kept talking. Every once in a while, squeals of delight went up from a studio audience. To judge from the acoustics, I reckoned the studio audience for the Today Show is kept out on the street. Several times I was tempted to turn around and see for myself, but I resisted. More time passed. Then one of my fellow congregants exclaimed: “Oh! It’s Kim Kardashian! I love her!” Thanks to Facebook, I was well aware of the name Kim Kardashian but I did not know what she looked like. I could not resist. I turned around and beheld the screen. I got a good look at Kim Kardashian. The memory of her face is already fuzzy. I returned my gaze to the altar.
Right then the service representative walked into the chapel. She stepped up to the altar and fixed herself a single-serve cup of coffee. She worked the machine like a pro, filling a paper cup with steaming coffee and adding a little powdered creamer to it. The vaguely contented look on her face as she stepped away from the altar made me want to try, but I’ve never in my life made a single-serve cup of coffee. The buttons and flashing blue lights on the machine were intimidating. Nevertheless, I was working up the courage—the same kind a Catholic kid makes when he goes to communion without having confessed a long list of sins that would have aroused the interest of the priest.
Before I got any further in my transgression, the service representative called my name. With caffeinated verve she said: “You’re all set to go!” And so I did.