The lame place

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As we speak I’m sitting inside a Toyota dealership, waiting for my car to be serviced. I’ve been here for about 2 1/2 hours, and I’m reminded that no place in the world is less interesting.

As we speak, I’m listening to two employees chat. They work in sales. The one guy is about to attend his 20th high school reunion this weekend. He’s in a band that plays every week at a local bar. He wanted to make music a career, but … you know. Life. Responsibilities. He got laid off from his last gig, but now he’s here. And his voice suggests, “It’s fine. It’s perfectly … fine.”

That’s what all the voices here suggest. It’s fine. Perfectly fine. There’s a coffee dispenser. The coffee is fine. There’s music playing—a ton of Chicago, Roxette, Celine. It’s fine. Perfectly fine. It’s very clean and specific. Tile floors that are beige and gray. Walls that are off white. There’s nary a scent to detect—good or bad.

Life passes here at a snail’s pace. It seems like a spot where dreams come to die. You were in a band, but you needed a side gig. So you started doing 15 hours per week at the dealership. You got married. Upped the hours to 30. Wife is pregnant. Forty. The years passed. It’s been five. No six. Actually, seven. You know everything about the new line of cars. Yes, the backup camera is standard. We can throw in new mats. No, it doesn’t come in electric blue.

I’ve been watching all the employees. They walk past. They do that grin-not grin to one another. Happy to see you, but not too happy.

It is what it is.