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Stories from the Road: The Waiting Room.

The walls are bland. TVs at the end of the room plays CNN or Judge Judy. Pictures of the building from years past, some tipped askew, adorn the beige and scuffed drywall.

Uncomfortable chairs surround the room, built in such a way to keep people from getting too relaxed. Yet, in them, some folks have dozed off, heads tilted back to catch a few winks while they wait. Others sit forward, elbows propped on knees and phones in hand trying to pass the time. Still others pace about, looking for answers... And they hope for the best.

A couple rushes in seeking help, as quick as possible. They're told, "we'll get to you as quick as we can. We're pretty backed up." Phone calls are made to loved ones and family members, reaching out to give the latest updates.

Still others saunter to the vending machines to buy a can of coke, a water, a pack of peanut butter crackers - God only knows how long ago they last ate. So much concern. So much worry. They know they should leave, even for a few moments. But, whether it is the fear of missing something, or the guilt for what has happened to bring them here, they dare not step out. No, they'll stay.

Suddenly, a man enters through the swinging door from beyond another room. "Bill?" he says, seeking to give some word. Bill is found and ... It's good news. "We found what the problem is; we'll get her fixed up in a moment and y'all can get out of here." Bill's grizzled smile is one of relief, as it turned out, the problem wasn't serious at all.

Meanwhile, a young child screams across the room, while the mother tries to keep him quiet with a magazine in one hand, and in the other a half-rolled wrapping showing a partially eaten Snickers.

Two grown men stare at the TV, watching a news report on the latest fashions from Paris. It's not their normal viewing, but it's something to do.

Another man enters the room. "Emily?", he calls out. Their eyes meet and the two stroll into a corner to talk privately. He places a gentle hand of comfort onto hers and, with all the compassion he can muster, delivers the bad news. "We did all we could," he said. "We can try....but maybe it's time to let it go." A sigh of resignation shrouds her face and a single tear escapes the swollen eyes and rolls down her cheek.

It's not the news she wanted to hear - you're never prepared for it - and certainly not what the man wanted to have to tell her.  He's trained all his life but... Sometimes, you know you can't do anymore and you move on and deal with it professionally.

This is life in the waiting room... Of the car repair shop

My 2016 Kia Forte as it receives a new catalytic converter

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