According to The Great Wikipedia, which will surely be known as the greatest intellectual of our time:
"Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity."
For women in relationships (I'm being sexist here), gaslighting is often found in the form of the asshole (hopefully ex) boyfriend who, when confronted with an emotional response to his actions, will say that you are a crazy bitch/if you really loved me you wouldn't think like that/you're remembering that whole situation wrong.
It can also be seen when your car mechanic tells you that the weird noise you hear is just you overthinking things, and that everything is fine.
I know, it seems crazy - a car mechanic trying to tell you that you DON'T need a repair? In what world would that happen?
Well, dear readers: it would happen in a world that exists in Massachusetts. Where the following scenario plays out:
1. Mechanic A tells you that the alternator they replaced for you just a few months prior is faulty; and under warranty, will be replaced for free. Yay!
2. Appointment #2 for replacement alternator is made, but Computer Operator makes a mistake and schedules an oil change. Thus, replacement part is not ordered.
3. During appointment #2, Mechanic B realizes the mistake, sees that the part is not ordered, knows that the work will be done for free, and decides that the whole thing is just plain inconvenient for him because his time is valuable.
What followed from this scenario was a volley of words, where both Mechanic B and Shop Owner tried to manipulate me into thinking that I didn't really need that new alternator. In doing this, they first threw Mechanic A under the bus.
"That was X who told you that. Y has been doing this for 25 years."
When I questioned the noise I was hearing, the weird high-pitched ringing noise that initially prompted me to get the the car looked at, that's when the gas lamps got LIT UP YO.
First, the shop owner tried to Dad me. Dadding occurs when one person explains to another the intricacies of how something works. Normally this is perfectly acceptable and in fact welcome (to me at least), but in Dadding, the explanation is irrelevant, excessively long and demeaning. The Dadding in this case took the form of an explanation of how an alternator charges a battery. Thanks. That's great.
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Second, both the shop owner and the lazy mechanic tried to convince me that the noise I was hearing was All In My Head. Yes. That I just was thinking about it, so I was focusing on it, so I was making a big deal over something that had always been there. That the car I'd had for eight years had always made that sound.
This actually happened.
Now here's a lesson for you ladies. STICK TO YOUR GUNS. A different, more timid version of myself would probably just acquiesce. Think, "yeah, these guys are experts, maybe the car is just older so it sounds different, or maybe I really am just over-focused." But I didn't. Because I was visibly angry by this point, I demanded the new alternator and received it amid a threat of, "well, we'll see about that noise."
I was fairly certain that the mechanic was going to break something in revenge for my demands, but it didn't happen. He installed the new alternator and pulled the car out of the garage. I turned the key in the ignition.
Instead of hearing the weird high-pitched ringing sound I'd been hearing, I heard a familiar noise -- the purr of my car before the faulty alternator. A soft relaxing hum. The sound I knew.
Triumphantly, I exited my car and poked my head into the shop. "Hey. The noise is gone. Looks like that worked. Thanks."
So, ladies and gentlemen. Monro Muffler at 326 King St. in Northampton offers inexpensive oil changes and other maintenance. Prior this this very odd incident, I never felt screwed over. I always felt that I was treated in a straight-forward and honest way, and I was glad to be building a rapport with the shop owner and mechanics.
But now? Nah. Fuck off.