oth our lives and this post are pretty much in line with the subject above, but hey, you do what you can with the time you've got.
I've spent all week battling with Nicor gas. Literally 3 or 4 calls a day, and since Tuesday I have left work for most of 12 hours to sit and wait at the church for the gas critter to show up and unlock my meter. Never have I seen them, no, not once. I'd like to make the time productive, but being inside and working on the church means I have no way of knowing when they come, and thus, the Gas Faeries will visit and leave nothing under my pillow.
They can only give me an estimated arrival time to within 4 hours of a "scheduled visit." I remember the jokes about the old Soviet Union. A guy makes an appointment for a plumber to come fix his toilet and is told "He'll be there on this date, 10 years from today." The guy asks "Morning or Afternoon?" and the person making the appointment, taken aback, says "What does it matter? It's 10 years away!" and the guy replies "Well, the electrician is coming in the morning..."
So the last 3 days I waited, was stood up, and the next morning would begin the cycle all over again. Call Nicor. Punch the "#" key on the phone until the damnable automated voice system gives up trying to interpret the "beep" as "Emergency" or "Si, Habla Espanol". Get passed into the hold queue for a customer service representative. Wait. Wait. Wait. Get told they're too busy to take my call, but if I type in my phone number, they'll automatically dial me when someone's free. Type my number. Hang up. Many minutes later, take their automated response call. Wait on hold some more. Get a human voice. Re-explain the same thing I have since Monday morning. Hear a different answer EVERY BLESSED TIME. Beg, cajole, flatter, joke, wheedle, plead, PRAY PRAY PRAY that this is the person that knows the magic formula to prod the leviathan of Nicor into action - "[a] grey mountain of lumbering sadness, plodding towards Golgotha" (appropriate description courtesy of Stuart Milstein's "A Dream In Eden").
Each day, new hope. Each afternoon, a growing despair, frustration, and bootstrapped perspective that "this too shall pass." Each night a thin attempt to put a humorous spin on it for my wife. "Not today honey. Maybe tomorrow." Your husband failed again, because in that enormous web of grey matter in his skull he lacked the deductive power to divine the "true" path to a solution, and believed more thoughtless pablum from a phone jockey who would probably love to hang up when someone as frustrated as your husband calls.
The excuses and myriad of reasons for "the gas situation" are astonishing. I'm a guy who likes to observe, build, tweak, and understand "systems." Computer systems, human systems, social systems, business systems. Processes and the dynamics by which the world operates are incredibly addictive to learn. Mostly. Sometimes I don't want to turn on the light, because I know I'll see cockroaches scattering. Nicor, grey mountain of lumbering sadness that it is, is infested.
I passed through the shallower rage early in the week, and found peace in my frustration while sitting in the car for 5 hours yesterday, waiting yet again outside the church. I had the car running with the heater going, and I was drawing designs for a master bedroom. At the top of the page I found myself scratching out a priority list. I didn't like how I was tossing away valuable work time sitting in the car on this fool's errand. So I marked down my priorities. The church was last, preceded by God, Sally, family, friends and work. I left at 5:00 and came back to work. I got to eat dinner with Shep and Cindy and hang out with Sally later on. Those are the important things of the day.
Today I talked to Nicor. 33rd time's a charm, right? I talked my way to somebody one level above "useless" and adopted a very calm, "if you even think of dismissing me I will feast on your extremities while you watch" sort of approach, and even threw in some vocal tremors. No tears, curses, or discourtesy, but just thinly veiled rage. I know this person wasn't responsible for my trouble... Though on second thought, no "one person" is responsible, and thus, none of them feel particularly accountable when they screw up. It's all put back on my shoulders to call again, to complain again, and to survive at their pleasure.
This week has not improved my feelings about large companies and/or the illegality of vigilante corporate justice.
So sometime this afternoon, I'm told a Nicor rep will go to the church and take the lock off. I don't have to be there. I've heard this before, and I'll believe it when I see it, but I have no other recourse.
Have I mentioned much about geothermal heating yet? Yeah, it doesn't use gas, and it's considerably cheaper each month than gas. Just costs more to install, but cuts the cord from the gas company. Have I mentioned the people who go "off the grid" and don't use any public utilities? Most do it for reasons of conservation and such. Forget saving the earth though - I'd just like to scrape an ounce of dignity back from this week.
I guess this post sort of blew through the "short" part of the subject above, but remained faithfully meaningless. I'm battin' .500 baby!