Trudy in autumn

Last night I took my 2020 Subaru Crosstrek, Trudy, to the dealership for a routine oil change and tire rotation. (Yes, I name my cars. Over the course of my adult life, I’ve owned three Subarus: Little Tank, Miss Bling, and now Trudy “True Blue” Subaru.)

Since I planned to wait at the dealership, I packed a bag with my iPad, a book (Richard Power’s Bewilderment), a notebook, and a packet of letters and blank notecards. I sat in the quiet waiting room, which has three desks, a handful of lounge chairs, and wifi but no TV. An older man sat in one of the lounge chairs, and a middle-aged woman with mid-length, graying hair sat at one of the desks, shuffling papers and folders into and out of a small tote bag.

As I claimed a lounge chair in the corner, I chuckled to myself. “That’s me without glasses,” I said to myself, remembering the ongoing joke J and I have about the stereotypical Subaru owner: middle-aged and female, possibly lesbian or at least tomboyish, with sensible shoes, no makeup, and at least one dog. The anonymous woman in the waiting room appeared to check all the boxes, as I do.

After I’d settled in to write the day’s journal pages in the notebook I’d brought, a service advisor walked into the room and approached the older man to update him on the status of his car. Observing proper waiting room protocol, the woman and I tried not to eavesdrop on the conversation. After the service advisor left, the woman packed up her folders and moved to one of the lounge chairs, where she busied herself on her phone.

Not long later, the same service advisor came into the lounge and walked up to me. “That’s weird,” I thought, “How does he know who I am since he wasn’t the one who checked me in?” The service advisor told me my car looked good, they were replacing the gear shift, but they didn’t have to replace the recalled airbags since that had already been done. They’d discovered a broken tail light, though, and he asked me if I wanted to replace it.

I said yes to the tail light but silently wondered why they had to replace the gear shift on a nearly-new car. Only after the service advisor left did I realize he’d mistaken me for the only other woman in the room, and I’d authorized service for her car.