Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanics and Tonies

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My Honda mechanic in Downtown is an L.A. relic, or something. No pomp. Old school, earnest, everyone’s kind. Sure, they charged me $630 for my service, but I was treated like a king, see, a king. Worth every penny. Oh the kindnesses swathed upon a bourgeois charmer who has the inability to haggle.

The Asian woman cashier didn’t even look at my I.D. when I paid. But she scrutinized the black woman before me, and the effeminate Latino man after her. It’s because I’m white, I know it. Or queer.

“I like your smile,” said the cashier after the black woman left. The balck woman who scrutinized her bill and espoused the importance of having one’s driver’s license number memorized. She, in strange brown denim pants, oddly fitting, the back of her head a glorious sight. She was all consternation until she relented to the price and wrote the check. Then she became reluctantly kind. The cashier said to me, “Whatevah,” as the woman left to retrieve her car. The cashier was in her late 50s, for sure. So strange to hear her say that. Her being so commonplace, so ensconced in this old, old, car shop. She diminished my use of “whatever,” however ironic, however effete, however affected and co-opted and styled. Time to come up with an equally effective, dismissive word. How about something nice and disaffected like “fuck.”


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