The other day I took my car in for an oil change. I’ve been going to the same place for several years now, and last year I was surprised when I arrived and the company had changed hands and was now called something different. I’m not a judgmental person for the most part, because I’ve done some stupid things in my life and I feel like I’m the last person to be pointing fingers at other people, but of course I do take note of first impressions. I wasn’t sure what to make of the new owner; I could tell that he was of a different race and assumed he was Muslim because his wife was wearing a hijab. They were both fairly attractive, but he seemed almost too clean cut, and I always come in on my days off (usually braless and wearing the most comfortable clothing I can get away with since I am in business casual during the work week), so to an extent perhaps I felt intimidated by that. People who are that clean-cut remind me of the douchey guys who go to the club and are prettier than all the women. Because of his appearance and my own assumptions I have wondered if his polite mannerism was only due to his being the owner of the company and having to maintain a certain standard. But he has been professional and consistent, so I continued to go to there.
So, on this day, I had actually managed to put makeup on and was having a nice day, and I proceeded to sit in the waiting room and play Yahtzee on my phone, but there was a TV on the wall beside me and I couldn’t help but overhear the news story that kept playing over and over: a shooting at a mosque during prayers.
If you follow my blog at all, you’ll know that one of my more recent posts was about similar situations and what my thoughts are on that. That post can be found here. I try to ignore the news as much as possible because it frightens me, and moreover I’m familiar with the idea of the news being biased and inconsistent propaganda. These types of assaults are something that greatly saddens me. And this day was no different. The more I listened, the more upset I became. And I couldn’t help but notice the irony of where I was and who was around me. The owner was in and out of the office, checking on the garage, and towards the end of my visit he walked in and said to me, “People are so fucking stupid. Pardon my language.”
We talked for about ten minutes. I told him I find it unfair that people, regardless of their religious beliefs, now have to be afraid to go anywhere at any time because they may be targeted for any reason at all. I have to be afraid to take my kids to church now? He has to be afraid to pray in his own church too? My children go to public school and are being trained to hide under their desks in the event that someone comes in and starts shooting them. What kind of a world do we live in where those innocent little souls are being instilled with this type of fear?
He said he agrees with Trump’s decision to stop immigration. He is upset that there are a small group of people who take certain passages from their Quran and use it to benefit their motives. I said I have spent weeks exploring passages with Jehovah’s Witnesses only to find that depending on which version of the bible you have, even changing the placement of a comma in a sentence can completely modify the meaning of said sentence. And I said I am a Christian, and nowhere in my bible does it tell us to go around murdering people just because they don’t believe the same things we do–in fact, it teaches love, and humility, and service to our peers. The colour of our skin means sweet fuck all–if the bible and God are in fact real, then we are all God’s children and he loves us all the same, and it would hurt him to see us behaving this way. In my mind, we are all on different paths to the same place. I have no idea what it says in the Quran but I can’t imagine that it could be so very different in this respect. What gives anyone the right to take the life of another? Why don’t they just go on practicing their beliefs and let everyone else do the same? In other words, mind your own fucking business. Live and let live. He said part of the problem is that there are people over there who have lost their homes and families due to a war they didn’t want or ask for, and these losses create so much hatred that it’s easy to transform them into this other type of person.
As we spoke, I became more and more upset to the point where I was almost in tears. There he was behind the counter, and there I was in my seat, two totally different people from two totally different backgrounds, and we were mourning the same losses. I apologized to him that he and his family had to live in fear, more so than the rest of us. I apologized that they can’t even go to pray in the one place where they should feel the safest, without being afraid of being caught up in a massacre. It just isn’t fair. This world isn’t fair, and it is going to shit, and there’s really no reason for it.
I left there feeling like I was meant to be there and to have that conversation. I knew the moment the door closed behind me that I had to write about it. It’s hard to really encompass the way I was feeling at that moment, and everything that was said, but you get the idea. Obviously we cannot solve all of the world’s problems. But if more of us could just talk like friends or equals, and really connect and attempt to understand one another, maybe there would be a little less conflict in the world.
Needless to say, I have a newfound respect for my oil change specialist and I wanted to share it with everyone.