Making small talk and chit-chat is essential to getting any services in this area. I learned that when John the bug guy expressed his sympathy when Adrian died and my response was, “Who are you?” He heard from Tim who heard from Andrea who heard from… you get the idea. My friend, Joyce, says that people just seem to talk to me and tell me about their personal and professional lives and feel comfortable discussing just about anything! S&T Auto in Dingman’s Ferry is my go-to place for getting the car serviced so I took it in yesterday getting it checked out before snow starts to fall (today!).
S&T is owned by former NYC policemen and firefighters apparently, although I haven’t quite figured out who’s who. George (I think) answered the phone when I called on Monday to make an appointment. I reminded him who I was (by car make and model) and asked if it could be anytime 1:00 PM or after. “Well…we do all our heavy stuff after 1:00 and probably can’t do it tomorrow,” said George. “Okay,” says I, “why don’t you tell me when and I’ll be there. I’m flexible.” George: “I don’t know when we can squeeze you in because it’s busy you know.” Pat: “OK. Just give me a day and time.” George: “How about tomorrow at 1:00 PM?” Hmmm. We obviously came full circle.
I dutifully arrived 5 minutes early yesterday and sat down in the tiny office after announcing myself to George who was sitting behind the counter in a room that was barely eight by eight I’d think. We talked about voting and the long lines. He told me about Dingman’s and I told him about Pike County and then he told me about Ginger and the other women that work at the polls and how he would never have to show photo id because everyone knows him. Sergio, who was going to work on my car, went home for lunch and to vote and George was insistent that he not be a moment late. “It’s not a problem,” I said, “Everyone should have the opportunity to cast their vote and the lines are long.” George went on to say that they have plenty of time before and after work and, with business having fallen off lately, he’d give him 5 minutes or else (not sure what that meant).
So we sat there together. I took out my book and then George said, “Wanna read some good jokes?” Not really — I’m not much of a joke person, can’t remember a punch line minutes after hearing it but I didn’t seem to have a choice. A local publication (and I use that term very loosely) called “Our Town” apparently publishes jokes that people send in — more like very short stories than jokes. He thrust the current issue into my hands and watched me as I read. When I smiled or laughed, he asked which one I was reading. When I got to the one about the blonde female mortician (that was the name of the joke), I remarked that it could be considered offensive by some. He said, it has nothing to do with the joke so it doesn’t matter (it had everything to do with the joke). After reading them all, I said I’d look for the free issues at the local deli next time — it apparently comes out either weekly or monthly.
A few minutes later a mother and daughter walked in and sat down in the two remaining chairs. George was still going on about the jokes and the daughter said, “Oh, you must be talking about the latest issue of “Our Town”.” “Weren’t the jokes terrific?”