Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fears Have A Way of Catching Up With You

A few Saturdays ago, I realized my day had gone exceedingly well. I had slept seven hours the previous night (something I am seldom able to do). After breakfast, I got down to work on a final edit on a novel and made good progress. My back was behaving to the point that I took a walk without realizing I was walking…and that’s the best kind because it means it’s not painful or uncomfortable. I had even completed the post for my blog to be published later that week. A major accomplishment for me.

Once I realized all of this, the other side of my nature kicked in, and I desperately hoped the telephone wouldn’t ring. Why? Perfectly obvious. Things couldn’t get much better, so a ringing phone could only bring bad news. Well, the dreaded call did not come, and I finished the day on a high note. My groundless fears didn't come to pass…although I did not sleep as well that night.

Then Tuesday rolled around. Not a good day. Not much sleep the night before. Nonetheless, I got organized and headed out to Sam’s Club for gas and some bacon before the day heated up. (Hundred degree plus days.) I elected to gas up the car before going inside the store. While the hose was feeding $3.34.9 gas into my tank, I grabbed the squeegee and some paper towels to wash my windows…which needed a cleaning badly (See post of June 13 on Haboobs and Verga Bombs). And by the way, why doesn’t anyone have the guts to call gas $3.35 and be done with it? Who’s going to drive to another station for a one-tenth-of-one-cent price differential? A penny, maybe.

Anyway, I got the windows done except for the rear window on the driver’s side. By that time, the squeegee needed to be cleaned and replenished with water. I looked at the hose hanging out of my tank, and I looked at my car. Walking around it would be the safest course (remember, I’m neither agile nor steady since my back operation). But the container holding the water was barely beyond my reach…why walk all the way around the vehicle when what I needed was right there virtually within my grasp.

You guessed it…I took the bold approach. Caught my foot in the hose and went over hard. I crawled around on my hands and knees (scraped all to hell and gone, of course) but couldn’t get to my feet. The attendant tried to help, but all he did was flip me over on my butt. Another customer rushed over, and together they got me upright. Results: I lost a lot more than the time it would have cost to take the prudent course, have earned myself at least one more session with my VA physical therapist, ended up on pain pills, and am walking with a cane again.

Well, that wasn’t the end of me proving to myself and the world that for a fellow supposedly of at least normal intelligence, I can be pretty blessed dumb. In that bit about Haboobs and Verga Bombs, I told you my 1974 Montgomery Ward washing machine died a premature death. I ended up purchasing a new machine, an Amana (about which I know nothing) that is very basic. Pour in the detergent, let it do its thing, and then take the clothes out.
The dealer delivered it on the Friday the 14th. I did my first wash the next day. I intended to stand there and watch the process unfold, but the phone rang and demanded an answer. I left the machine clicking and hissing and filling with water. By the time I finished talking on the phone, the machine was finished. Fast! Great, uses less electricity that way. Plus, the clothes didn’t take much time in the drier because they’d spun so dry in the washing machine.

The next week, I washed again, still intending to watch the parade of little colored buttons detailing the stages of the wash . While the machine filled, I returned to the computer to get a short job done. Lo and behold, before I was finished what I was doing, it had finished what it was doing.

The following Sunday, I washed again, and this time I stood in front of the machine for the entire process…which took about one minute. The green light indicated it filled. And then the blessed machine skipped over things like “Wash” and “Rinse” and went to “Final Spin.” Suspicions confirmed. In minutes, I was speaking to the salesman who’d sold me this dud. He promised a technician (read repairman) would be out on Wednesday.

Before I left for my ill-fated visit to Sam’s for gas, I got a call saying the technician would be available about noon today—Tuesday, if that was convenient. Sure. Earlier was better. Not necessarily, if you’re going to perform acrobatics with a gasoline hose. Even so, I was bleeding and hurting and home by the time the man arrived.

That poor guy worked for almost an hour. I glanced in on him once, and he had pieces off that Amana I didn’t even know would come off. He performed every test, recalibrated the internal timing mechanism, and then told me he couldn’t find anything wrong.

We decided to wash a few pieces of clothing…after all, I had plenty that had gotten dripping wet with Arm & Hammer-laden water and then spun dry with the chemicals from the detergent still in it.

So I showed the technician exactly how I poured in detergent, dropped in the clothing, and started the machine. First off, he told me I was putting in ten times the amount of detergent that was needed and about three times the stain remover. Great, neither is cheap, and they’ll last a lot longer now.

Then I went through the process of setting the water level with hot/cold (explain that one to me, please) water, and then used the last indicator to turn to a light load. Old faithful started filling with water, skipped right over to “Final Spin” and spun.

“See,” I said. I’m sure my disdain for a technician who couldn’t tech competently was fairly obvious.

“I do see,” he said. “I see it did exactly what you told it to.”

Then with the exaggerated patience of one dealing with an idiot, he pointed out I’d used the wrong end of the indicator to select what I wanted. I’d put the blunt end to “Light.” The tapered end, which is what I should have been using, pointed directly at “Drain/Spin.”

He was better at concealing his feelings about a consumer who couldn’t consume competently, but I’m pretty sure I was the butt of several jokes down at Baillio’s…maybe still am.

Next week: Depends on how much "Stupid" I have to report between then and now.

New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


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