Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Better Late Than...Well, Late

Beautiful. I stumbled across “New Mexico,” by photographer Philip Greenspun (whose home page is worth a look, too), while I was chasing a Site Meter link from another googler looking for pics of Portales. Excellent photography…and the comments are illuminating. There are a LOT of folks out there that wish they were where I am. Well, in the same state, anyway!

Oh, My…yet another quiz.

What wise quote fits you?

Your wise quote is:"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months" by Oscar Wilde. You are a very sarcastic person with a sharp tongue. You may not be the one always talking, but your mind is nevertheless criticizing. You tend to have a cynical view on life itself and be somewhat withdrawn with who you really are. Society now is in your eyes corrupted and you wonder how the world will survive. And people are in your mind very ignorant and blind to the reality.
Take this quiz!

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I like the results of this one! Oscar Wilde? Not so much. But the gestalt of the thing IS the thing, nu?

This one just might be the closest yet. I tend to be just a lil bit sarcastic at times, yet try to keep it in check. And yeah, the world is going to Hell in a hand basket and most people don’t see it. Come to think on it, the Ol’ Man felt the same way. I’ve become my father, sorta. Same attitude, but without his accomplishments.

Just a little quirky thing I meant to blog, but forgot until just now. My new bike doesn’t have a petcock on its gas tank. This is the very first bike I’ve owned without one, and that fact drove me nuts the day I took delivery…I looked all over the bike for the danged thing and came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t there. The bike does have a gas gauge, though. Petcocks have become an anachronism, I suppose. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. Oh, and another thing…the bike is fuel-injected. Another first, for me.

While I’m on the subject…taking delivery of the bike was an “interesting” experience. After signing all the paperwork I was accompanied to the service area by the sales manager. She attached the temporary plate to the bike and then watched as I did my walk-around. I checked various nuts and bolts for tightness, inspected the oil filter area for leaks (and tightness), eyeballed the wheel alignment, checked the chain tension…and, to keep the litany down to a manageable level, just performed a general inspection. I only asked one question: “How do I open the seat?” The answer wasn’t obvious, and the sales lady didn’t know. I figured it out, noticing there was a key receptacle just below the tail light. Insert key, twist, seat pops up. Simple. The sales lady thanked me once again for my business and walked away after that, leaving me and my new bike alone together for the first time. I suited up and rode off…

I couldn’t help but contrast this non-ritual with the most amazing delivery experience I ever had, and one that’s not been matched since. That most amazing experience was at BMW’s Delivery Center in Munich. The Second Mrs. Pennington and I took delivery of a 1983 320i there in the fall of 1982. In Baltic Blue…just like this one. Yeah, it looks gray. I thought so, too. But if you've ever seen the Baltic Sea, you understand. Most accurate, those Teutons!

After presenting ourselves at the front desk of the delivery center (where we were signed in), we were escorted into an office where a BMW employee… fluent in English… walked around from behind his desk, introduced himself, and then sat back down behind his desk after we were seated. He verified our identities (passports and other assorted sales and delivery-related papers) and finished processing our paper work. This took all of about 15 minutes and was quite pleasant and efficient. The signing of the paper was concluded with a crisp “So, are you ready to take your new car?” Hell, Yes! Let’s GO!

We were escorted out of his small office and across a rather large area resembling a showroom, with various Beemers sitting around in all their glory. On the far side of the showroom were two sliding glass doors that opened into a spotlessly clean garage area, where our new baby was sitting, along with several other cars. We were met at the door by a middle aged man in a white lab coat. The paper processor introduced us, by name, and informed us Mr. Herr I-Forget-His-Name was going to “introduce” us to our new car.

And introduce us he did. He demonstrated every feature on that car, and I mean every single one…including popping both hood and trunk, showing us where the dipstick was, just to cite one example… demonstrating the oil level was indeed full, in the process. He showed us the fuse box. He showed us the spare, and the jack, and demonstrated how to remove and replace each. He showed us how to tune the flippin’ radio, how to operate the sun roof, adjust the seats…in short, everything imaginable. And then he asked if we had any questions. I had none: the briefing and walk-around, which lasted the better part of 45 minutes, had been more comprehensive than any I’d ever had, before or since. TSMP, honor-bound as she was to never let an opportunity to ask questions pass her by, had a few, which were handled politely and with aplomb, even the one or two eye-rollers (on my part and my part alone).

The ritual ended with the signing of a delivery form, we were handed maps and detailed instructions on how to reach the autobahn (after being discreetly asked if we were leaving Munich right away), and we were out the door. Literally, accompanied by hand waves of good-bye and shouted exhortations to “Enjoy your new Beh-Emm-Vay!!” And we did…from that moment on and for ten years hence.

I marveled about that experience for months, if not years. It was extraordinary. And that was for a bottom-of-the-line Beemer. Lord only knows what hoops they jump through if you buy an expensive one… It’s been a while since I thought about that experience, but taking delivery of my bike brought it back into focus. Bright, sharp focus.


  1. When we bought Jesse's Scion at the Toyota dealership in Grapevine, they did a big presentation of "the delivery". We waited for over an hour for them to prepare the car. Then several guys stood around as we were to inspect the car - all of them asking if it was not the most perfect car. But it had an inch and a half long scratch in the paint on the front bumper that had not been there earlier. When we pointed this out (which was hard to miss) they said we could just cover that up with a license plate. Toby pointed out the Okie plates go on the back and the car was not "perfect". They hmmed and hawed saying they would make it right. We had to leave the car for a week while they repaired the paint - during which time, they lost the key to it. Rather than having another made before we showed up to get the car, they said we could have one made somewhere else and they would pay for it. Yeah right. I was not impressed with their "delivery". The Scion is a great car; we will just never do business with that dealership again.

  2. Reminds me of my first brand new car - a 1983 Honda CRX - first year they made the little pocket rockets. I was all of 21 years old, buying my first brand new car. Honda did it right back then - all the things you mention about your BMW experience is what happened with my little CRX. Drove that car until is self-destructed 11 years later.

  3. Lou sez: Then several guys stood around as we were to inspect the car - all of them asking if it was not the most perfect car.

    That's the part that gets me about a lot of American dealerships. They're supremely arrogant and they think you're frickin' blind, or stupid, or worse. It's changing and it ain't quite as bad as it used to be...but I suppose there will always be shysters, con men, and other ne'er-do-wells in the car biz. I absolutely hate buying cars...

    Kris: one of my ex-relatives had a CRX and he had the same experience...drove it until it just wasn't possible to drive it any longer. He moaned for years about missing that car. Strangely enough, he didn't replace the old CRX with a new CRX, but times had changed...he needed something bigger (got married, family and all that).

  4. My quiz results:

    Your wise quote is: "Be kind to unkind people, they probably need it the most" by Ashleigh Brilliant.

    You try to look beyond apperance, try to give people second chances and are probably very kind. Understanding is your biggest personality trait, and thoose you can see through should be grateful. If they aren't already. You detest narrow minded people, because they can't see what's really there. Facades is not your thing and you strive to always be who you really are.

  5. Laurie: That sounds pretty much like the Laurie I know!!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.