I was trying to think of what to write for this weeks “My Store” (Its getting harder to think of what stories to tell) and I was taking to my brother on the phone when he said about his car being in the car dealers for service. He said they showed him how his tires were wearing, which triggered a memory of my first time as Diana at the car dealership back when I first transitioned in 2007 and I thought, “Ah ha! I got my next story.”
It was a day that I dreaded, bring my car to the dealer the first time as Diana. I know that I couldn’t put it off forever, that I had to eventually bring it in for service. So one day I bit the bullet and made an appointment. As usually I was nervous, my anxiety level increased and I imagined all types of thing that could happen, like being laughed out of the garage or everyone staring at me. I imagined the worst.
So the big day came and I drove up to the garage doors, left my keys on the dash and went inside. Checked-in, and went into the waiting room, open my computer and started doing my homework. After about an hour, the counter guy came out and said that they thought I needed a new tire, the side wall of the tire was all cut up from what a nail in the sidewall. He wanted me to look at the car tire for approval, which meant that I had to go out into the garage area. So here I am nervous as all hell walking by the whole line of testosterone driven auto mechanics, of course my car had to be in the last bay. I looked at the tire and he was right, it had to be replaced and I told him to replace it. Then I had to walk all the way back to the waiting room. No one said anything or did anything; they all treated me just like any other customer. Once again, all my worrying was for nothing!
Last semester, when I was there in the waiting room with my computer and books working on homework, one of the salesmen came by and saw me working on my paper. He asked if I would like to use one of the vacant offices, (they had a lot of them) and I said yes. So they set me up in an office and I was able to get most of my paper written.
However, not all of my visits to have my car serviced turned out to be that friendly. I was interning in Hartford and I thought instead of going to the car dealer, I’ll stop by one of those quick lube shops near work on the way home. I pulled into the place on the turnpike and one of the mechanics took my cars and drove my car into the garage. I went into the office and the manager said, “What can we do for you ,SIR”
It’s “MISS.” I just want an oil change.
I waited while they changed to oil and the manager came out with my air filter and said, “You really need a new air filter, SIR”
No, I don’t want a new air filter and do you want me to call your company’s national complaint line to report you?
After that, he didn’t call me sir nor miss. If they hadn’t already drained the oil I would have driven off, so I had to sit there and do a slow boil.
However, when I gave my testimony in favor of the anti-discrimination bill I used them as an example of bigotry. Also I used the story when I went around the state talking about the legislation at various town hall forums and it moved several people to sign up to call their legislators for the bill.