I went to a different car repair shop today. Like some others around, I'm choosing to do business with businesses based on my self-interest, and that means that when I learn that certain folks associated with some companies donate majorly to organizations focused on taking away my right to collectively bargain or to subjecting me to paycuts, well I vote with my feet to use what pay I get where I like.
I had been going to the dealership where I bought the car, which was okay. It's a local iteration of a multinational, a dealership shop. And it had that dealership shop feel. And that was okay. (The dealer actually has a good reputation for treating women customers decently, so I'm sad that the owner feels the need to donate to certain organizations in a big way. But I'm pretty sure they won't notice that I'm not visiting.)
Anyway, the new place is highly recommended. It's a small place, much smaller, with the owner, Gary, right there with his name on his shirt and all. It looks like it's taken over an old gas station, the ones that used to have a little office, on one corner, and then the other three quarters of the square/rectangular building were the auto shop areas. Only the inside of the office looks sort of like old and very tiny diner seating went there to visit and stayed, and has a wi-fi internet thing and coffee and such.
I called this morning to make an appointment to get my oil changed and a headlight (or do you say headlamp?) changed. But they said I didn't need an appointment, and to just drop by. So I did.
It's a very cool shop. I looked at a National Geographic magazine from 1928 for a bit, and was blown away by a picture of San Francisco taken from the Twin Peaks area and looking north to the Marin Headlands. It's a striking picture for someone like me, because I've never seen this vista (except in a few old pictures) without the Golden Gate Bridge dominating it.
I wasn't the only person at the shop, though.
One of my colleagues came in. And then this other woman, and Gary, the shop guy with her.
Then Gary took my colleague back to work (while another shop guy worked on my oil change) and the other woman and I waited.
And she told me about being an alternative healer and how we all have these energies and she can tell what's wrong with people by touching their hands (I did not offer mine) and how humans are special and unique because we have an anima sort of thing and so on.
And I finally politely disagreed on the uniqueness of humans, because I'm pretty sure we're just really cool bags of chemical reactions, no more unique and wonderful in reality than other really cool bags of chemical reactions. My preference for bags of chemical reactions I have more in common with than not is merely my relative position.
Gary (having returned) offered that dogs are pretty special, and seem curious (which was one of the things she said was unique about humans, but I'm guessing she's never noticed a lot of other animals). But she said dogs were special only because we had bred them to be and blah blah. And who is to say that a daffodil isn't experiencing whatever unique daffodilness is?
She also said that every other animal had a purpose and just did that. So I wanted to ask if that purpose weren't misleading, and a result of the success of evolutionary processes that look like purpose, to which humans are just as subject as any other reproducing species. (Though, I, having chosen not to reproduce, have failed that part. But genes similar to mine are carried on in lots of other peoples, so I'm not too worried. And I don't think my genes for bad eyesight and such are all that wonderful anyway.)
Why is it that you never run into anyone in a car shop who wants to talk about the scientific method? Or who's interested in Hume or Locke? Why is it I never end up hearing out of the blue about someone's interest in language acquisition or prairie restoration?
Nope, I always get the people who want to talk about energy fields or how their sky fairy came into their life to have a special relationship with them. And it's not like I'm going out of my way to Norwich or something. I can be sitting in a car shop looking innocently at a 1928 picture of the Marin headlands, and I get to hear about energy fields and diagnosing people through their hands.
And then you have to remember that this person votes, too.