A new road

Luke, as a puppy

Last Thursday I brought my used (but certified) 2009 CRV into my local mechanic for an oil change instead of driving it back to the dealership (who changed the oil a few months ago). When I picked up my car, Chris (my Cambridge mechanic and all around good/honest guy) told me that the last person who changed the oil stripped the plug (or something like that) and instead of replacing the oil pan, he wrote a note (on the oil pan itself) for the next mechanic not to over-tighten it.

He said that someone made a mistake and they should have replaced the oil pan, but it was expensive so they left a note instead. If I had kept going back to the dealership, they wouldn’t have told me this. I felt angry when I first found out, felt like I had been taken advantage of. I called the manager of the dealership and he said that they did that sometimes, put notes on older cars about the oil pans (for people who took their cars to places like Jiffy Lube…intimating that the Jiffy Lube people didn’t know what they were doing). I told him that I just bought the car in March, and it either had the note on it, or his mechanics did it last time I was in. He said he’d get back to me.

That was Thursday morning. Since then, I have called every morning and afternoon, without a resolution.  I sat on my couch last evening wondering what to do. I kept thinking, “There must be a way to go through this without getting all worked up. I just don’t know what to do.” What starts out feeling off/wrong, generally carries that emotional charge. But what should I do now? I knew that if I didn’t get that inner sense that everything was fundamentally OK, then I would just continue mainifesting the same uncomfortable pattern; getting one difficult person after another, to match exactly how I was feeling! How do I start down a new, better feeling road, was my question now.

I asked for help, asked outloud, to my inner self, what to do, and I waited for an answer.

As I was doing the dishes, the thought came to me to call the headquarters of Honda in California. I did and within minutes was speaking with a wonderful customer service representative who, when I told her about the note on the oil pan said, “Well that is a new one on me! Something is wrong there. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and ask them to work this out with you. If they don’t, please call us back.”

Nothing on the outside has changed yet. My car still needs a new oil pan, but I feel better. I took action, from as centered a place as I could get to, and now I expect to experience things differently on the “outside” too.

You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”  Albert Einstein

16 thoughts on “A new road

  1. Good for you! And, once again your issue is similar to one I’m wrestling with right now and once again you have offered a productive option for solution!. I really don’t like dealing with car dealerships, but sometimes that seems like the only option. Thanks for presenting a good way to handle a vexing situation. Please keep us informed of the outcome.
    From Fran

  2. Well, Mary, this provokes two thoughts (at least!):

    First, I see this all the time (in others) in my legal practice. I’ve come to think of it as “the death spiral.” A dispute arises, denial and defensive behavior sets in, negative feedback ensues, positions become more and more entrenched. Armageddon! Everybody lawyers up. At that stage, even if you can coax the parties into a settlement, there is much expense and no happy ending for anyone.

    Second, I see this all the time in myself, when I struggle with a problem that seems to just keep getting worse and worse. For example, I was having a recurring problem with neighboring property owners who would not keep their dogs in their own yard. The dogs (several 200-pound Great Danes) would dig under my fence, jump over it, tear it down. The neighbors seemed to feel it was my obligation to fence their dogs out, rather than their obligation to fence their dogs in. I called them, talked to them on numerous occasions, and had to call animal control to intervene. Nothing was helping, and I was getting more and more upset about the situation and fearful for the safety of my own dog.

    Then I tried Einstein’s approach – although I didn’t know it was Einstein’s! I told the neighbors I was taking my fence down and opening my gates. Long, long silence, while it slowly dawned on them that, as soon as that happened, their dogs would take off, never to be seen again. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and lo and behold, they put up an enclosure on their property to contain their dogs.

    So Einstein was right – surprise! You can’t solve a problem with the mind that created it.

    • I love your fence story Jill!!!…it is so perfect. There is a saying that “whatever you resist persists” (might be Einstein too) and I find when I get into my open, non-defensive mind things move quickly…it is great to be reminded of this in such a real-life example.

  3. Love Jill’s story!
    Responsibility is a big issue to me. For some reason, no one is willing to take the responsibility of their actions these days and either just don’t face up to the issue (like moving away and leaving their cat for the next residents to feed and supposedly take care of), or can’t even say they are sorry when they are caught in some irresponsible act.
    Taking responsibility, facing up that they did wrong, saying I am very sorry and remmedying the situation goes a long way.

  4. I agree that worrying about how to solve a problem is often difficult. I find that a calm discussion with someone at or near the top will generally provide a solution. My latest experience was with a company who installed a sump pump in my basement, but made an error with some of the outside work. I called my salesman, who sent a manager to my house. He also found something incorrect in my basement and a new crew of workers will be here in a few days to remedy all. My experience with this and other past problems shows that being calm and asking for help, rather than playing the blame game, is far more effective in resolving issues.

    I just want to add my thanks for your blog. You talk so often of everyday things and how to cope in a way that leaves us better off for the experience. Thanks.

    • Thank you Carole and I very much appreciate you sharing your story of a peaceful, happy resolution!

  5. Mary, you always manage to elevate the mundane, sniggling details of everyday life into a meditation of peaceful coexistence.
    As someone who has a propensity to ‘stew’ about things far too much, I just brokered a deal between my left brain and right brain: whenever I need a new perspective or shift of focus, I’m bringing it here, to this group of amazing minds!

  6. I too liked Jill’s resolve. Turn a situation from “your problem to resolve” into “their problem”. Although I have been caught up in the telephone tag which never seems to solve anything, I know that eye contact with facts and figures counts.

    Tonight is the New Moon. State your intentions.

  7. Sort of tired tonight, though I kept this post in my mind all day long and it came in ‘handy’ as my husband and I sat down at a (boring) Title Agency to sigh, you know, the gazillion pages of a refinance on our home to these wonderful low rates. Well, only to find out that here we live in Arizona, and the “guy” in charge of our re-fi who works in Florida, sent us to the wrong Fidelity Title Company – ok maybe 8 miles apart but I could see and feel my husband’s blood pressure rising, whereas I thought, ok, hmm, hmm, hmm, 8 miles? And it wasn’t like we had to retrace our steps and go to the other location. The ‘egg’ was on their face, they were apologizing profusely, but in the meantime, thanks to technology, our closing papers were scanned from office A to office B, printed out, and within ten minutes we were up and signing our names a gazillion times. The women in this office had nothing to do with the miscommunication but I could sense my husband wanted to DEAL with it in someway and place blame on someone. And I just thought of my wonderful friends here, chuckling with me, so ok, you sign 8 miles elsewhere? Choose your battles, – let it go. I will NOT forget the fence coming down, Jill, your move! so that a peaceful resolve happened seemingly all by itself, saving your neighbor’s face, – a wonderful lesson. Thanks to all.

  8. I use to be a service advisor at a Honda dealership here in Arizona. When things did not get resolved, I did advise the customer to all Honda. I was not allowed to give the phone number out! But it is in the manual. From Honda things got taken care of. They were taken care of because at that point Honda them selves would pay the bill for the dealership. I hope this gets resolved.

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