L in the Southeast

L in the Southeast
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
November 04
Retired PR Director
I am a retired Public Relations professional who now writes purely for fun and catharsis. I covered most of my memoir-type pieces in the first three years here. Lately I have dabbled in politics, current affairs, pop culture and movie reviews. Life is my muse.


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JANUARY 24, 2013 12:51PM

It's Official. I Have Mellowed With Age

Rate: 28 Flag

 Lexus headlampMax: “Ms. L, you are not going to believe this, but the headlamp I ordered to replace yours is broken.”

Ms. L:  (Long silence, looking quizzically at Max, her official Lexus service professional) "Oh…whaaaat…hahahahahahaha…you have GOT to be kidding.”

He wasn’t.  For the fourth time since just before Christmas, I was escorted to another Courtesy Car to drive while, once again, the most popular dealer in Metro Atlanta tried to remedy my 7-year-old car’s seemingly simple problem.

Several months ago I noticed condensation inside the headlight housing on the passenger side.  Having never heard of such a thing in my life, I probably decided it was some kind of rare fluke and promptly forgot about it.  Since I enter the car on the driver’s side and don’t normally do a walk-around on the car each time I drive it, it was several weeks before I noticed the droplets of water still hanging out inside the glass.

When I finally got around to calling Max, he told me two things:

1. It had to be fixed before it shorted out the computer at the bottom of the lamp, causing the entire electrical system to be destroyed.

2. He had a guy who, for $155, would take the lamp apart to dry all the elements and then seal it back up so no moisture could leak back in.  Otherwise, I was looking at “around $1,000” to get a new assembly.

Great!  That’s why I continue to take my car to the dealer instead of looking for cheaper ways out with local mechanics.  I have had way too many bad experiences with that. 

“Let’s do it,” I said.

That time I got to drive a brand new, almost top-of-the-line Lexus home.  It was spectacular to look at and had so many cockpit-like instruments, I couldn’t figure out how to start the damned thing.

The next day, I picked up my newly sealed car and reluctantly returned the keys for the 2013 GS sedan.  It was raining that day.

By the time I drove the 15 miles from the dealer to my home, the droplets had returned.  It was the week before Christmas and the guy who “fixed” the lamp was going to Puerto Rico for the Holidays.  He’d be back in a week.

Now I’m a little stressed about it all.  I had already ignored the problem for much too long.  What if this was the week the computer at the bottom of that light bit the dust?  But, I was too busy with Christmas preparations to worry about it.

The day after New Year’s I took my car back for the guy with the magic sealer to try again, at his expense, of course.  This time my loaner was the 2013 version of my 2005 RX 330, the small SUV.  It was bigger, fancier and, of course, cleaner than mine, but the thrill was offset by a minor sense of inconvenience.  Since the work had a money-back guarantee, I had no doubt this time the fix would “take.” This guy is going to be annoyed with himself for not doing it right the first time, and time is money.

When I picked up the car this time, I was so sure the problem had been remedied, I again forgot to check it for a few days.  When I did remember to look, I burst into loud laughter.  Not only was it wet, it was wetter than it had ever been.

I have always made the sacrifices necessary to buy good cars with the kind of service ethic that is strongly customer-focused.  It just made my life a bit easier, especially while I was working long hours and keeping tight schedules.  So, it wasn’t surprising that before I could call Max this time, he called me.

“I’m just calling to see if the headlight is okay, since it is nasty outside today.”

He was beside himself when I gave him the answer.  I was thinking about a refund.

He asked to try it one more time because this guy had done dozens of these repairs and this had never happened before.  If that didn’t work, he would refund my money and we’d go from there.

We did and it didn’t.  Even the bright red courtesy SUV I was given to drive couldn’t cheer me up anymore.  This was getting old.

I received the refund in the mail yesterday, so I took the car in this morning to finally get this thing behind me.  A brand new, $640 switch-out (ouch, but at least it wasn’t the $1,000 Max had guessed at in the beginning) was probably what I should have done in the first place, but all this was costing me was time and a little gasoline.  Besides, I kind of enjoyed getting out of the house and dressing up a little bit to be presentable. 

I took my laptop and was in the lounge eating a zucchini and walnut muffin they provided and sipping on a hot herbal tea.  I had just read a post and was about to comment when I looked up to see Max standing in front of me.  I knew it couldn’t have been  finished that fast, but I never considered he was there to disappoint me one more time.

He was. 

As I listened to the impeccably dressed young Courtesy Car manager tell me how to go about driving the little white hybrid model they were sending me home in today, I couldn’t help but smile at myself.  There was a time when I would have gone absolutely ballistic on Max.  I wouldn’t have cared much about the fact that he had nothing to do with breaking the new part, at least not as far as I knew.  I would have been demanding compensation for all my time, my gas, and my exasperation at the piss-poor job they had done on this minor repair problem.

Instead I got excited about getting to drive a hybrid car for the first time.  I was happy the traffic had lightened considerably as I tried to get comfortable behind the wheel of this nearly bottom-of-the-line model which had me feeling as if I were sitting about six inches above the pavement.  And I loved the sports-car-like ride and handling, the very swift pickup and perfect cornering.

Tomorrow I get to do it all again.  It’s okay.  Whatever happens, it won’t be the end of the world.  Besides, I still haven’t driven that $72,000 LS!

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I always figure why give someone a hard time and I see that serves you well too PLUS gives us a reason to laugh with you :)
Age makes it easy to understand that resistance is futile.
Lezlie, you couldn't go off on Max - you've been in there so much that at this point you two have a Relationship. I'm sure you wow him, and I will not be surprised if you do end up with that 72K LS model!
Sometimes it gets to the point where all you can do is either yell or laugh. Laughing's almost always better. They ought to give you that LS for at least a day though.
I try to be like that too Lezlie, though I don't always succeed. For me the lesson came early on in my Latin America days. there was one of the usual airport delays and I was behind a well-dressed gringo who was going ballistic at not getting a satisfactory answer. I reckoned then and there that since I was schedule for three or four years in this neck of the woods, I would never blow a gasket (car reference!) over something I couldn't control. Better to pull out something to read and go with the flow. Life is so much better when you eliminate the stressful bits.
LOL Okay you might have been a bit annoyed but you sure could write car reports about all these Lexuses..:)
Hard to believe you'd have gone ballistic on Max when you were younger; I have a suspicion you've always been reasonable and understanding. And had just as great a sense of humor too.
Mellow is cool and you are both, Lezlie. R
Lezlie, you know what is going to happen. Next we hear, you will have traded in old wet headlight for one of the snazzy new models. Which is so likely, it makes me wonder if someone is purposely Not Fixing your headlamp. You seem to have been sent home in a different deluxe model each time–like a test drive only worse! Hmmmmmmm.
Age gives us patience in some ways and impatience in others. The key is to understand when to be which.
Seer: {grinning back}

Lunchlady 2: Believe me, I haven’t always been this way.

Zuma: Ain’t it great?

onislandtime: This morning when I picked up the car I poked my head into Max’s cubicle and said “Are you SURE?????” He cracked up and said, “Yes, but now your taillights are wet.” To which I said “Watch your mouth, Max. hahahahahaha”

jlsathre: So far, I haven’t seen ANYBODY driving an LS out of there. But…it could happen. :D

toritto: I agree!

Abra: Airports are toxic places for anybody with a slight temper. As soon as I step out of whatever conveyance takes me to the airport, I take a deep breath and zone out. I just give in to the reality that for the next several hours I am theirs to do with what they will.

Linda: That hybrid was really unexpectedly spiffy. I was doing 80 mph this morning without evening feeling it. Maybe I’ll start writing for Popular Mechanics or something!

Thoth: I’ll bet you are mellow ALL the time.

greenie: That is not even close to happening. This car was my retirement gift to myself and is meant to be the last car I own. I no longer have the means (or the inclination) to even think about new cars. I’m sure that’s what they THINK they are doing, but… uh-uh. :D

Lea: You are so right about that. I have a long list of things I no longer have any patience for.
With age you do discover getting upset only seems to upset YOU...better to go with the flow as you have. Besides, you do still have hope!
Not much sense in throwing a fit, especially when you get to drive all those cool cars.
What zumalicious says..
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★
I thought most people got crappier the older they got. I'm glad to see you're not one of them. I probably would have challenged Max to arm-wrestle!:-)
Languid Lezlie. This is how a dealer gets you to buy a new car. They plan to wear you down girl. Fun post.
Woo-hoo! Here's to patience...and cool cars to try!
Sounds like you have a good thing going there with those loaners, Lezlie. That doesn't take mellow, just good luck!
Wow, Lea's reading my mind and writing the thoughts so much better. Lexus is such a great line, the service -personal and professional- is mostly top notch. Yet they somehow manage to routinely screw up the smallest things. Good thing they give us such high end reasons to help us find patience.
l - i am glad its all taken care of now! it IS taken care of now, isnt it??

thanks for such a pleasant wake-up this morning - i needed something happy to read, and somehow, this was it! :-)
Buffy: You are so right!

Christine: Throwing a fit used to be my default MO. Thank goodness THAT’s over.

Algis: :D

Kenny: You KNOW you are mellower than you used to be. Don’t kid a kidder.

Gabby: See my response to greenheron. That ain’t gonna happen. :D

Alysa: Yeah!

Matt: No, it takes mellow. Driving 30 miles roundtrip every time gets really old. I’m not one who enjoys driving that much, especially in Atlanta traffic. That’s why my 7-year-old car only has 15,897 miles on it!

Sally: Amen to that.

daisyjane: Yes! It does seem to be taken care of…finally. :D
Hoping Max wasn't the type to be dealing with a customer, at the counter, who has to wait when someone calls on the phone. I have to keep reminding such counter persons that it's the same, as letting the caller cut in line.