Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Full Circle

I ran out to lunch yesterday. On my way back in I rolled my window down, entered the parking deck, parked, and hit the "up" button on my window.....Nothing. After several minutes of banging furiously on the "up" button I looked up and realized a woman in the car next to me was staring; looking at me quizzically with a look bordering on concern. I shuddered involuntarily because I knew that I had initiated an inescapable sequence of events known only as The Eternal Wheel of Destruction. Once you're on the Eternal Wheel of Destruction you have no choice but to come full-circle.

The wheel has three phases:

PHASE ONE - "Get Some Pliers"
So, my first thought was "I better get some pliers" because, generally, I can fix nearly anything with some good pliers. If I CAN'T fix it - it at least feels good to have a pair of pliers handy. Then I'm standing there with some pliers instead of....just standing there. Standing there with some pliers announces to passers-by that "you are actively engaged in remedying your own misfortune." It doesn't matter what the misfortune is. You can spill a gallon of popcorn at the movie theater, whip out some pliers and begin frantically squeezing the lip of the empty container and people will think things are under control. If something happens and you're just standing there empty-handed - you look stranded and helpless; like a baby seal in a parking deck. Plus, if you're just standing there chances are good you're also "gaping"; and that's no good. If you gape - somebody will offer to help you - then its over: you're officially never going to be self-sufficient again. No matter what - you'll always know there was that one time when a stranger had to help you.

I am no stranger to The Wheel; so I quickly rustled up a pair of pliers and commenced to standing there with some pliers. That was okay. I felt relieved and I know several people saw me and approved, but I got tired of it pretty quickly and figured I could at least try to "get it unstuck." This is PHASE TWO

PHASE TWO - "Thrashing The Water"
Now, if you've ever attempted to get something unstuck you know that there's a 50/50 chance "unsticking" will also involve "crushing", "shattering", "mutilating", or at least "chipping."

In this instance I quickly went from trying to get it unstuck back to just standing there with some pliers; except, this time I was just standing there with some pliers holding a piece of my window which is, as you may have guessed, Phase Three.

PHASE THREE - "Complete Destruction and Defeat"
So, there I am pliers in one hand, chunk of window in the other, door panel in pieces in the parking deck. There was only one thing to do: bang furiously on the "up" button.

The wheel was complete.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I had a missed call on my way out the door to work the other day. I operate tangentially to the rest of the world in that if I DON'T recognize the number I'm much more likely to answer the call immediately. That seems to be opposite the normal tide of human behavior.

The truth is: I harbor secret hopes that answering an unknown number will culminate in a really good surprise, and you know how much I love surprises.

I've found that when you know the number - you generally have a solid idea on whats about to happen. Sometimes its good, sometimes it ain't so good; but its typically not much of a surprise either way.

Of course then 800.555.2391 shows up on my Blackberry screen. My friends don't have 1-800 numbers, right? But you know who does? Publisher's Clearinghouse, the Georgia Lottery, Cabela's, Beretta USA, Remington, Harvard, Puff Daddy, Gregg Allmann, Dave Mathews, Chifuti Safaris, the White House, and Winchester (to name a few).

So, yes: I'm going to answer that 1-800 number and I'm going to do it fast. A tiny glimmer of hope drives me.

In this instance I answered the phone and the guy said something garbled that sounded like "work on your tap." I had been waiting on a call from the county to come work on their part of my sewer line (the county "tap") so I immediately launched into a long description of my plumbing issues culminating in my frustration over having to pull up and dispose of $4,000 in fine laminate flooring RUINED from a sewer line backup. Before I wrapped up the inning I went into my final stretch and came across the plate with a high, hard, fastball describing in detail what its like to come home and find your brand-new, recently-finished basement covered in an inch of standing water.

I paused briefly to admire the black plume of complaint swirling smokily over my head; when nervously over the phone line I heard: "I'm sorry sir this is Tim from Tech support. I was just calling to see if you got your Blackberry fixed."

Thanks Tim. Its fine.