It opens up with the dignified trombones leading. The strings come in. And after a momentous build up, the pure clarity of the trumpet cuts through and steals the show. The pace is moving along, slows to a crawl, then builds up again. I realize that my heart has slowed and the tight, angry ball in the center of my chest has begun to loosen like Nyquil magically breaking up an ill person’s phlegm.
An hour before this, I had raced home from work, cutting off cars along the way, hardly stopping to look for bikers before switching lanes because I had a date, a long awaited date with the Comcast man.
It had been a good month since I had seen, felt, the strong, yet tender arms of high-speed internet holding me tight at night. Each day when I returned home from work, I had missed it, hand longed for it, and was greeted only by a signal-less, wi-fi free home. That was the longest month of my life. And barring death, nothing was going to stop me from meeting this man who would activate the signal, or whatever it is he needed to do, to breathe the joy back into my internet-deprived life.
An hour after getting home is when the knot of burning hatred for Comcast began to form. Here was the Comcast man, a large, well-built man (not at all chubby but of a good size, the kind of size you don’t want to mess with in a bar fight) whom I so desperately wanted to hate but who had a kind face and honest hands which made it nearly impossible for me to take my aggressions out on.
Apparently he was paid for each job completed and this was his 4th job today he couldn’t do. Apparently there was some sort of shield covering the ports in which he needed to access but couldn’t. Apparently a whole construction crew had been deployed on the 22nd and “dug up the fucking concrete” and “installed a box just for your place” when all of a sudden the boss’s boss ordered all work to be stopped. Apparently no one could speak to the boss’s boss because he just so happened to be on vacation. Apparently they went through all this work just to put a shield over the ports so the Comcast man couldn’t connect to receive a signal WHICH WAS THE VERY LAST STEP OF THIS MESSY, MESSY PROCESS.
Alan gets on the phone. After a long while, he passes the phone to the Comcast man who has since collapsed his expanding ladder and is sitting in his truck with the engine on and his car lights indicating he’s about to reverse out of the driveway. The Comcast man and the Comcast phone guy have words. While on hold, the Comcast man and Alan talk about the stupidity of the man on the phone. The Comcast man finishes having words with the man on the phone and hands it back to Alan. Alan is put on hold. The man on the phone expresses his thoughts on the Comcast man’s lack of intelligence and tries to call his boss. Who is on vacation. The Comcast man leaves. The man on the phone says things of no value and no further action steps are identified.
Alan comes and sits next to me on the couch. I am irritated so my voice is strained and sounds funny, like a spring is wound tight in my throat and is being held back from unspringing by the strand of one single hair. He tells me we may be SOL.
For a few minutes I am speechless, but soon enough I cannot stand the thought of what a completely idiotic organization Comcast is running. After all this effort and waiting for countless appointments for Comcast men to show up and tell me time after time what is wrong, I cannot give up now. Not when the last step is just having some shield pulled off from some ports so I can get access to some signal.
I am heated, real heated, when I dial the number I have become much too familiar with. I hang up because I want to be prepared, and I ask Alan what the name of the person he spoke with was. He doesn’t know. I ask him if it was a man or a woman. He says a man and adds that they’re all men and he’s never spoken with a women. I call back, this time (despite Alan’s advice to remain calm and cool) am ready for attack.
Surprisingly, a woman answers. The angel’s name is Lydia, and after listening to my story, she immediately puts me at ease. I get the sense that she is actually understanding the words I am saying to her, something which has never happened to me with a Comcast representative ever before. I am sure if I had gone to her desk in person she would have offered me some cookies or perhaps some fresh cut fruit.
Lydia puts me on hold so she “can get to the bottom of this,” and that is when the symphony comes on. In this moment alone, I think about what a good idea it is to play such calming music because it actually works. I can feel myself letting go of the curse words I was prepared to spit out if necessary.
With a collected head, I wait for her to come back on the line and after listening to 5 concertos, she finally does. She has all the answers and 2 appointments lined up for me. “By Saturday,” she says, “you’ll have this all taken care of and you’ll be able to surf the internet… all that.”
I almost cry. I tell her she is the most helpul person ever in the world and that she should win some kind of award. She laughs, I’m sure she hears that kind of thing all day.
Now if Saturday comes and I am still without internet, I can’t promise I won’t hate Lydia as much as I hate people who eat babies or talk during movies. But until then, what a remarkable human being we are blessed with.