I was sitting in the waiting room of a commercial oil change service doing to much of what the room was designated for. The attendant had promised me that this would take no more than 45 minutes. But the lube was not so Jiffy as I hit the 50 minute mark and my car was still in line, waiting like myself.
There is no air conditioning, nor a fan to blow out the gas and exhaust fumes congregating around the 3 day old free coffee. The few chairs are too close together, so I’m now “going steady” with the smelly guy waiting for his ‘92 Corrola, wildly sucking on the straw of a 64 ounce soda. Either he doesn’t know that the light is not working in the men’s room, or he doesn’t care.
I am in Hell. Worse, I am in the waiting room for Hell.
After complaining to the recorded voicemail voices of all of my friends, and flipping through an old issue of “L’Opinion,” I suddenly remembered that I had episode six of MAD MEN on my iphone. There was a terrible glare on the screen, but something was better than nothing.
After 10 minutes of Matthew Weiner’s wonderfully drawn characters, sophisticated nuance, and uber-coolness, I was transported.
I hadn’t landed in 1950’s Madison Avenue. No, I was in my TV utopia. There was no better place.
At the last commercial break, the attendant came out to tell me all the additional things I needed to spend money on. After my needless questions to feign knowledge of auto repair and a commitment of an extra $245 dollars, the guy told me the final work “shouldn’t take too long.”
As I eased back into the final act of episode six, the car exhaust still filled my lungs, the endless chatter of the guy next to me on his 2003 cell phone still droned on, and the heat from all the glass windows still beat on the back of my neck. And I found myself thinking, “Please, don’t finish my car before I’m done watching this episode.”
What’s more powerful than that?