What Fueled My Insecurities

by Aug 8, 2021Theme: The False Self

Continued from yesterday…

Just as I was leaving, the sales rep motioned for me to roll down my window. I stopped to hear what he had to say. Clearing his throat, he looked at me and asked, “What did you mean about the GPS not working very well?”

“Let me show you,” I responded.

While the salesperson leaned in through my side window, I used the GPS’s voice command feature. With clear and slow speech for emphasis, I gave instructions to the GPS to take me to an address in La Jolla, California, about 20 minutes away from the dealership. After a few moments of searching, the GPS revealed an address in Idaho, more than 2,000 miles northeast. With a sense of validation and self-satisfaction, I looked at him and “casually” said, “You see what I’m talking about?”

Suddenly, he became pretty defensive and asked me to get out of the car so he could try it for himself. When I declined, he muttered something about my accent, possibly being the reason why the GPS was not locating the correct address.

“My accent?!” I thought to myself. I was born in Sweden, but I have lived most of my life in Canada and the US. I may have a slight accent, but I speak publicly in various forums and know how to speak clearly.

So I looked him in the eyes, and with a firm voice, reverted to my self-ascribed lawyerly defense.

“Are you telling me that Acura doesn’t make cars for people with my accent? Or are you telling me that Acura is not capable of making cars for people like me? Or are you suggesting that Acura doesn’t want customers who, like me, are immigrants to this nation?”

For a moment, I felt really good. With just three short questions, I had managed to make it an immigration issue while at the same time implying that Acura was an inferior carmaker. Seeing the bewildered look in the salesperson’s eyes, I reached out my hand and told him, “No hard feelings. But, unfortunately, I have to leave. Thank you for your time.”

Driving away, I spent the first minute fluctuating between anger at the rudeness of the sales rep and guilt about my irritated response. But then the whole episode crystalized into clarity. The entire exchange was nothing more than the ego rearing its ugly head.

To be continued tomorrow…

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