Crazy Like Fox

Finally, something to blog about where the blog just writes itself. I was getting my car “maintenanced” this week and spent about 90 minutes in a car dealership waiting room. This is a new experience for me. I normally ignore the large print that says you should take your car into the dealership every 5,000 miles for oil, grease, windshield wiper fluid and TLC from a mechanic. I go to Jiffy Lube whenever my husband gets into my car and sees that I’m overdue and even then I just get the bare minimum oil change. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to turn off the MAINTENANCE REQUIRED light on the dashboard.

But I so love my new car (which will be referred to as My New Car until about 2042 when they pry the key fob from my arthritic claws and get me a hover craft with a handicapped license plate) that I’ve decided to do whatever the Toyota Prius book tells me to.

So I made an appointment, took it to the dealer and brought 90 minutes worth of work to do in the waiting room.

Nice waiting room, Toyota. Huge, with cushioned chairs, end tables to set the coffee that they provide with liquid cream. (Yes, the ability to drink coffee without a white powdered, artificial cream-like substance could single-handedly cause me to buy a Toyota over an American made car. I'm a light coffee whore.) And there’s a huge TV about as big as the screen at the Palace Theater in old Hubbard. And on that screen was Fox News.

Since my quasi-ban of all things Rupert Murdoch about a year ago, I haven’t watched more than a nanosecond of Fox News - about the amount of time it takes for my flipper to flip to the next channel. (I say quasi-ban because I boycotted Fox TV except for American Idol and 24. If it weren’t for Ryan Secrest and Jack Bauer, I would just-plain-ban the whole network, without an ounce of pain.)

I don’t like Fox News’ sensational, conservative, holier-than-thou ness-ish-ness. I’ve been listening almost exclusively to NPR in my car, so the switch from that to Fox News is like walking from Little Italy to Chinatown in New York. You have a hottie with a 5 o’clock shadow in a white tux shirt taking you by the arm and leading you to a table with wine, a candle and a little plate of oil; you turn a corner and some little guy is screaming in your ear ONE DOLLAH! and shoving watches, purses and Che Guevara t-shirts in your face. It’s a shock to the system.

So I exited my car with Michele Norris and Carl Kassel purring in my ears and walked into the Toyota waiting room only to hear Martha MacCallum barking something about Madonna, domestic terrorism, a beauty pageant scandal, gun rights, and Dancing with the Stars. Basically, everything I hate about the National Enquirer delivered by a bleached blond. I headed for the coffee machine (Hello, liquid cream! Baby, you know I love you!) and tried to find a chair facing away from the TV. Unsuccessful. It’s a right-wing conspiracy.

Like a 14-year-old, I’m constantly connected with every person I ever met in my entire life, so I got some on-the-spot advice about what to do about the Fox News problem.

“Ask them to switch to CNN. And then share the answer with us. Or better yet, tell them you want ESPN, and see if they're sexist and don't believe you,” suggested Mike, who I went to college with and who was my first news editor at The Daily Kent Stater.

Terri, a girl who was my mom’s all-time favorite middle school student and who is the niece of a lady I babysat for in the ‘70s, told me she got a ladder and switched off the TV when her employer insisted on playing Fox News all day.

Amy, a girl I went to high school with, told me I should bring my Toyota to her car shop in Vermont, where she has classical music, plants, coffee (with liquid cream, I’m betting) and a lending library.

Sean, who worked on the Obama campaign with me in Lexington, said I could do what he does in his apartment lobby and that is loudly disagree with what’s on the TV. Knowing him, there is probably some profanity involved and possibly some nudity.

Marie, a Youngstown woman who is friends with a former coworker of mine, agreed in all caps, saying we shouldn’t have to hear politics if we’re paying someone to do something for us.

I’m kind of a wuss and not very confrontational, so I did none of the above. I did, however, tell the cashier as I was leaving that I was not very happy with the TV channel selection and it could bring my service rating down from a 5 to a 3.5.

She was sympathetic, but I could tell this wasn’t going to go anywhere. Nobody cares if one Toyota customer is too liberal for the waiting room.

Next time I’ll take headphones, bring up NPR on my iPhone and enjoy my creamy coffee in Little Italy.

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