Keep On Keeping On

Oh, my. Two months without a vehicle, and my car still isn’t ready.

I took my ancient VW to a recommended body shop to be restored. He said it would take three weeks and every time I called him after those initial weeks, he’d tell me the car would be done in another ten days or two weeks or “soon”, reminding me every time that old cars take longer than expected because so much of the damage is hidden until the vehicle is taken apart.

I finally got a chance to go see what is going on and found my car the way I left it minus the chrome. That’s all he’d done. Take off the chrome trim. It turns out the car he was talking about with all the hidden damage was another vehicle he was working on, a 1930’s truck.

Oddly, I wasn’t angry. Just devastated. I trusted the guy, and he’d been lying to me. Even worse, I started crying. I didn’t expect that reaction, but I suppose it’s natural. I’ve endured so many losses in recent years, and the car is all that’s left of that earlier life.

The guy’s wife was there, and she hugged me. He said nothing. When I asked why he didn’t tell me that he couldn’t get to it for two months so I could keep driving the car instead of leaving it sitting there, he said that he’d made a mistake.

Normally when such things happen, I get angry, demand my deposit back (and in this case would also have demanded that he put the chrome on immediately), but I walked away. Left my car there. I just couldn’t deal with the situation. I have a lot of things going on this week, such as dress rehearsals and performances, and I don’t want to lose focus on that.

Besides, if I took the car back, it would never be restored. He was the only one who offered an acceptable estimate, and there’s no guarantee that anyone else would treat me better.

So we’ll see. If in another week nothing further has been done, I will negate the deal. Until then, I’ll keep on keeping on.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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