Elizabeth Taylor once said “It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”. At some other point Andy Warhol also talked, and when he did he said “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.”. Then I showed up and was all “I’m 25. I’ve been waiting for about 322 years. That math’s a little spotty, but whatever. The point remains: you kids were legends…. and patient little liars.”.
“It’ll be another day or two,” Cable Professional #3 explains. “So, Friday?,” I whine, trying to formulate an equation in which it should take three-and-a-half weeks, two companies, and a whole, scraggly gang of tech-savvy men in hats to plug in a television. “Yeah. Friday. Just call if you don’t see or hear from anybody by, like, Tuesday-ish,” he details, specifically. “We’ll make sure you get taken care of. Have a good day, ma’am,” he waves goodbye, and I hardly notice. I am too busy running through Comcast’s version of “Who’s on First?” to which I’d respond “Why are all ya’ll playin’ baseball instead of fixin’ these here television wires?”. All this while also fighting the urge to rent a rain machine and pull a Brando. All my whole body wanted to do was to fling myself onto my knees and let loose something fierce: “COMCASTTTTTT!!!! WHY YOU MAKE ME WAIT AGAINST MY WILLLLLLL!!!!!”. I’d probably also throw in a “STELLAAAAA!” for good measure because we are new to the neighborhood and I’d like my stranger neighbors to appreciate the theatrical allusion within my nervous breakdown.
The worst part of waiting, my peers would say, is that it has given me ample time to think. Without a nightly slew of reality shows squashing my brain waves, there they are just waiting to formulate twisted, weird, weird thoughts that turn into words which then fly out of my silly mouth. Let this be a warning to cable guys across the globe: You gave me too much time to think. For all intents and purposes, you ruined the universe.
Here is a snippet of my weeks and weeks’ worth of thoughts while waiting for the cable man. I’m sorry.
– Something super threatening and scary has happened: a terrorist cell is plotting, Michelle Obama has run out of fashionable pencil skirts to wear to fashionable events, Charlie Sheen is awake. You know, something terrifying. Ever the concerned citizen, you attempt to alert the government to the impending doom of the nation. After a host of telephone loops, you are redirected to a random home phone number of some guy named Bert. He’s as confused as you are as he spends his days working as a gas station attendant in Kansas. The whole world ends somewhere between your fifth and twenty-third attempt to get in touch with an employee of the United States of America, and you’d feel awesome about totally calling the whole terrortastic thing except when stuff gets apocalyptic nobody wins.
– You arrive to the Labor & Delivery ward ready to get all up in some labor and finally, finally deliver your bundle of bowling ball. You tell the friendly nurse of your last name and that you are about one sneeze away from making an awful mess of the waiting room. “Great! That’s just great! I can help you with that! Great! We’ll get you taken care of! Great!,” you pray she is as helpful as she is chipper. You sneeze. Things just got serious. You think at least one head and an arm or so are now entering the world. “Great! So, looks like we can get to you sooner than later. Great. Great news! So, we will be available to offer you our services next Monday, let’s say sometime between 8 am and 9 pm. Great. Here’s an unattended hotline you can call if you’d like to wait for a few hours in a vaina attempt to complain about the lackluster customer service. Great! Have a great, great day!”. You birth a mostly healthy kid in the back of an old Cadillac parked thirty feet outside the hospital. It is gross, and the car can go ahead and consider itself totalled, but you are paid $50 to appear in one of those freaky “I thought I had to poop and then I had a human person instead” reality shows. So, you know, that’s something.
– You excitedly usher your date through the door of a swanky-swank eatery. You feel pretty full of the swagger as you have finally secured a reservation at this over-priced hotspot. “Yes sir. Right this way sir,” the classy host instructs. Once seated you spend minutes enjoying the cultured and high-dollar atmosphere. You spend some more minutes admiring your dates hair, and smile, and cuticle, and… um, you are running out of things to distract from what seems to be a most eternal wait. A server finally approaches with a bill. You are confused as you don’t believe you’ve selected from the menu just yet. You wonder if this is just the rich folks’ way of life. You don’t want to look poor, so you pay the server and try to holler out your order (“Chicken Wings with fries! Chicken and fries, kind sir! Sir?”) as he snatches up your monies and sprints away from you. You are hungry and too poor to buy a snack all at once. Bummer.
Cable Professional #1 is a no-show for three consecutive appointments, somehow missing the “between 8 am and 9 pm” window of service he originally promised. A 1-800 number then prompts us through a variety of holds, transfers to a different department, and IQ tests the likes of which no Jeopardy champion would ever buzz. Cable Professional #1’s overseas counterpart puts this never-ending call to rest by finally admitting that despite those fancy appointment confirmations, they had none of our information on file or under file or even hugging a file . “Sorry. You literally, really, seriously don’t exist in my system,” he laments. So we literally, really, seriously flipped them a phone bird and took our imaginary selves to a competitor.
Cable Professional #2 assured us that we were real people with real information that could really be saved in a computer. So we exist! And that was the end of the good news. “Your address is in a black-out zone,” the gentleman explains. “It’s like there’s no power source for us to tap into down there, for we can’t run the [insert lots of incredibly confusing terms for techy tech things needed to hook your other techy tech things to some tech power]”. So, there it was. Technically speaking, our house literally, really, seriously didn’t exist to the cable bundle powers that be.
I waited. My brain melted a little when I tried to type a 1,000-word post into a cell phone. I missed my toddlers in their tiaras and other such television gems. I hit a particularly low-level of lowness when I began to leave sticky notes with status updates posted around the house. My toddler refused to do the old “give mommy’s note a thumbs up and say ‘I like! I like!'”. things got even In the shiny glow of our new house, somehow the lack of blogging and channel surfing seemed to take on the feel of roughing it. It was Oregon Trail in a sea of stainless steel appliances and electronically programmable thermostats.
Just when I was perfecting my rugged beard and tree chopping skills, Cable Professional #2’s friend called. He said a lot of words that all sounded like “Hope. Hope!”. Ironically, the same day we received a bill from Cable Professional #1’s place of professionalism. It was an invoice that pretty much said, “Hey, girl. Please pay us. No reason, girl. Also? I’m on First, girl.”. We literally, really, seriously existed enough to receive a faux bill in the mailbox of our literal, real, seriously existent house.
So Cable Professional #3 decides his co-worker #2 was wrong about the black-out scenario. Then some supervisors show up, some holes are dug, cords buried, very flustered men in hats are huffing and puffing and having to go above and beyond in the name of TURNING ON MY MOTHER CHANNEL FLIPPIN’ T.V. ALREADY!
We married, packed, moved, and unpacked in seemingly swift fashion. The hardest believed to be bubble-wrapped and behind us, the family settled into new life in a new home. These would be sweet and leisurely first days: waiting to hang photos, waiting to cook and clean, and waiting to slip back into the day-to-day formality of life. Before the obligatory, we would relax and celebrate the giant tasks just completed. The work could wait. And in the spirit of that thought, waiting seemed (for a minute) to be a brilliant and blessed thing. Maybe this was the waiting Warhol and Taylor so enjoyed. Maybe this was the joyous kind of self-imposed pause that made them clap their artsy hands and get that Patience Party started right.
they never waited for Comcast.
When have you had a ridiculous wait?
Do you make people wait?
Do those people hate, like really, really hate you?