Sassy, now with 153,000+ miles, is sitting at the shop for the next week or two, waiting for a used transmission. That’s a story in itself. The crowd where I was had not one single new vehicle for sale. And used vehicles are through the roof. A new transmission would cost all-told more than $9,000.00, more than the vehicle is worth. So, a used transmission will hopefully work out. Always a gamble. That brings the full price including labor down to 2 or 2.5k, but no guarantee. It is what it is.
While waiting for a friend to come pick me up (some hours wait), I wanted to run an errand. A “driver” was employed to assist me. Being chatty, I asked what the prerequisite background checks and driving history checks are like. He said there are absolutely no checks, zilch, nothing at all. Sorry, but this, for me, was red flag #1, a huge red flag. As I found out later, what he said was either an outright lie or he was misled by his own crowd.
Right after that, this guy told me he had spent his life working with our State Department’s Embassies and Consulates for their Fulbright program. This isn’t the first time I’ve had “accompaniment” informing me of their academic prowess specifically with the Fulbright program, right up to the top council. What are the odds on that? People should get a different story. He kept apologizing, saying that being a driver was just for fun-money, but that Fulbright is where it’s at. But if he retired out from a field-op job needing extensive academic and linguistic and travel-viability qualifications, he wouldn’t be wasting his time like this for fun-money. The retirement for that I’m guessing is about $135,000 a year. It’s all just coincidental, but even coincidences can be red flags. You just notice them, and basically ignore them, unless further red flags come up. I’ll call this red flag #2 just because this most unlikely of stories has been repeated too much over the years with yours truly.
Excursus which might well be the point of this post ;-) — Just my opinion, but the Fulbright program of the taxpayer funded ECA flagrantly manipulates academics in various countries, adjusting cross-cultural paradigms of perspective that those might be brought into closer conformity even if not to the best interests of these USA, at least to the political weirdness of whatever “diplomacy” is temporarily in vogue. Fulbright is a program which gives operators an entirely “insider” view of all players in whatever country, with full access to anyone, anywhere, any time. If someone’s a player in an economy, military, intel community or essential industry of whatever kind in the milieu of 160 participating countries, those individuals were surely a student of the ones with whom the Fulbright program field officers get to know as their targets of manipulation. Those who know what I just said know what I just said. ’nuff said. ///
Anyway, with my little errand accomplished, with the car already in motion, instead of bringing me back to the shop where Sassy was, the guy, out of the blue, went out of his way to bring me elsewhere (red flag #3, I quickly noted), namely, to the lower deck of an expansive and dark parking facility (no GPS signal?) of a shopping mall on Black Friday (red flag #4), instructing me with insistence that he wanted me to go to the food court, even though he knew I already had lunch (red flag #5) and then insisting many times that I surely wanted to go to [a named store], almost like an assignment (red flag #6). I kept refusing. Frustrated, he got out of the vehicle saying he had to make a phone call. It’s always a phone call. But he just quickly darted among other vehicles nearby. This was creeping me out, so I got out of the car to step slightly away, to try to take stock of the weirdness. He continued to go in-between cars, not on his phone, and also going in front of me and his own car (red flag #7). Having gone by some twenty feet, he then suddenly turned around and came back laughing and apologizing, saying he forgot where he left the car (just a few minutes previously) and having just walked by (red flag #8). He insisted again a couple of more times that surely I wanted to go to [that certain store again] (red flag #9). I refused again and again, and said that I just wanted to go back to where Sassy, my-car-under-repair, was in the shop. He brought me back, but then instructed me not to tell anyone of the strange detour (huge red flag #10).
I was creeped out by all of this, but always played it cool throughout, complimenting him, giving him a tip, super friendly. When this kind of stuff happens I usually just try to let it play out as much as possible to see where it goes. Of course, many will say that I therefore should’ve gone to see what would happen if I sat in that food court – 100% nothing, and all seats would’ve been taken anyway on Black Friday – or if I did head toward [that certain store] – 100% nothing, just big crowds, and I hate that store anyway – all just too boring.
The rest of the story: I’m sure you’ve caught on by now. He was likely just running the time up if that’s even possible; I wasn’t paying for the time or trip. But someone was, right?
Moral of the story: Don’t do errands with a driver claiming Fulbright status.
Fine. I get it. That’s a poor attempt for the moral of the story. We always have to do errands, regardless of someone’s all-too-coincidental life story.
It’s just that it’s good to find some little bit of humor in just about anything. Too much dismalness these days methinks.
Also, when this kind of behavior goes on – kind of dangerous because way too entitled and narcissistic in my opinion – I would rather discover this and not let it continue for someone less capable. And yes, having seen something I did say something.
And now, Advent is upon us. Joyful expectation of the one who is Irony Incarnate, who brings justice and mercy together upon the Cross in His own body, for our redemption, please God also for our salvation. Jesus changes the paradigm from hell to heaven for those who want this, not with the cleverness of the Fulbright “diplomacy” that puts people off, but with the wisdom that is truly love, as Jesus is God Himself, and God is love.
Finally, my parishioner friend arrived to pick me up. Great drive back through the mountains. Wholesome conversation. Lots of talk of Jesus. A very pleasant day. Thanks be to God for good friends.