I’m not the most patient individual in the world. Or universe. I try. It’s part of my practice. But at my weakest moments, when life is too full and I feel overwhelmed by it all, I can be an impatient, humorless and cantankerous grouch.
Case in point:
a recent any interaction with a nationwide cable company that shall remain nameless (Comcast). During the move in February my beloved NCLP – a man of seemingly infinite patience without a cantankerous bone in his body – offered to deal with installing wireless in the new condo. As it happened, I was present when our technician arrived. A lovely, intelligent and engaging gentleman, he had the wireless up and running in minutes. As the technician was leaving I kindly asked begged him to take with him two cable boxes (who needs a television when there’s free Hulu?) and the modem that had just been replaced by its smaller and speedier cousin. He was sympathetic but could not help. The equipment would stay with me.
A few days later, while standing in my storage unit determining how to stack the detritus of life from which I’ve yet to find the courage to part, it hit me. Literally. Looking back, my reaction to being bonked by a cable box was extreme. But I can tell you it felt great.
After letting loose with a few expletives and without taking a moment to consider the ramifications of my actions I picked up the box, walked the few yards to the garbage dumpster behind the Chinese restaurant, and threw the damn thing away.
And now, two months later, my impetuousness has come back to bite me in the tuckus. The cable company would like their box back. They’ve been calling repeatedly and until today I’ve avoided admitting the pickle my lack of patience has created. This morning I drove to the local Xfinity Emporium (ironically and with a healthy bit of snark I parked at the ATT shop next door). I handed in the old modem. I tried to return the new cable box but it was refused on the grounds that the box – all shiny silver and still shrink wrapped – is part of my bundle. Don’t ask. Finally, the customer service rep (who was desperate with allergies but really a very nice woman) asked about the missing cable box.
“I don’t know where it is.”
“You should really try to find it.”
“I think it got lost in the move.”
“You should really try to find it because you’re being charged for it. Once you return it all that money will be credited to you.”
“I’m not going to find it.” I couldn’t quite summon the courage to confess to Comcast how their box met its end. “How much will I be charged?”
“One hundred sixty-two dollars.”
“Can I just pay for it now?”
“You should really try to find it.”
She seemed so nice. So certain that surely the cable box was in a closet somewhere and not littering a landfill. I just didn’t have the heart to tell her and so I thanked her and said goodbye. I’m down one modem but there’s a cable box in the back of my car that I will not be throwing in a dumpster no matter how many times it falls on my head. It’s going right back into my storage unit.
As for the money my impatience has cost me? I have a bucket full of change that I’ll take over to the Coinstar machine at Mollie’s. I was hoping to treat my NCLP to a nice dinner on California Avenue but I suspect there’re just enough quarters in that bucket to cover the cost of that poor cable box.
Patience is my practice, and there was a time in my life when I would have blamed the technician or the customer service rep before even considering that I am the one responsible for my actions and my reactions. I’m grateful for that understanding. I’m grateful that I can find humor in this latest adventure in Comcastland. I’m even a bit grateful that it’s going to set me back one hundred and sixty-two dollars. I’m not certain why.
Maybe the next time I feel full and overwhelmed I’ll remember to step back and breathe.