she who keeps this diary

18 August 2003 - 5:55 PM

Waiting, with idiots

Bah. My last day before I have to go back to the academic grind, and what do I spend it doing? Dealing with idiots and waiting.

I needed a new tyre for the Jeep -- whatever happened that flattened the driver's side rear tyre on Saturday did a real number on it. The Viking also wanted to get our Pennsic photos developed, so I figured I'd run out to Sam's Club, drop off the film, and then go over to Sears for the tyre. At least at Sears I can go stroll the mall and be amused while I wait for the car, and then when the car is done I should be able to pick up the photos. Looks good on paper, as Maman would say.

So, I went to Sam's and left the film. They were running a bit behind; the 1-hour photo processing was running more like 2, but hey, that's OK, I still had to get the car done and it's usually a 90-minute to 2-hour wait at Sears anyway. So I requested a set of prints and a CD and tooled over to Sears. I made the arrangements, left the car, and planned to be back in 2 hours. It's 11:30, there's coffee at Nordstrom's and all's well with the world.

On a whim, I called Maman. Was she busy? Would she like to have lunch? No she wasn't and yes she would. Lovely. We ate, window shopped, and generally frittered away the time until the Jeep was supposed to be ready. She gave me a ride to the auto centre, where I saw that the Jeep was still where I parked it. Coincidence? No. As we pulled around the front I saw that the spare was still in place. Grumble. I hopped out, inquired pointedly about the untouched state of my vehicle, and was assured that it was next in line and it would be only another 45 minutes. Well, all right. If nothing else we can run over and get the photos at Sam's which will eat up a little of that time. So, back into Maman's truck and across the road we go.

At Sam's, I waited in the line at the photo counter, delivered my slip and my surname, and waited while they fetched the prints. Something was wrong -- they were looking all over, but not bringing me an envelope. Finally one of them came up to me.

"You wanted a CD," she said, as though she was accusing me of a crime.
"Yes, I did," I replied. Wanting a CD is not a crime. Photo processing places all over the US advertise them with great enthusiasm.
"Our machine is down," she continued in lugubrious tones, then stopped, as though that should explain everything.
"But I wanted prints too," I said. "Are my prints done at least?"
"No. You wanted a CD, and the machine is down" she repeated, again as though all should be clear.
"Wait a minute. Have you even touched my film?"
"No, the machine for the CDs is down."
"But I wanted prints, too."
"But the machine is down."
"But the machine that develops the film and makes prints is not down," I said, pointing to the instrument behind her, which was belching out photos of some child's birthday even as we spoke. "I was told at 11 the prints would take two hours. Now it is 3. Where are my prints?"
"But you wanted a CD," she reiterated, and now she was starting to raise her voice. "And the machine that makes the CDs is down."
"I am not happy," I told her, and I confess that my volume was starting to go up, too. "I was told my prints would be ready at 1 and now it is 3 and all I am getting from you is a hard time. I will be back tomorrow, and I will expect to see my prints. I am sorry that your CD making machine is down, but that is no excuse for not making my prints, and now I am an unhappy customer." Then I turned on my heel and left before I said anything I would regret.

Maman can read my thundercloud moods a mile off, so when I left the building and headed for her truck, she knew things had gone badly. "Come on," she said, as I got back into the truck. "Let's go shopping for a while. Is there anything you need for the house?"

Well yes. There is always something I need for the house. It's one of the little joys of home ownership. So she took me to a shop with various home decorating and kitchen items, and we spent a useful 40 minutes debating the qualities of various styles of cutting board. She even bought me one. Then we went back to get the Jeep, which was, thank heavens, finished, and I went home. I left my house at 10 this morning and didn't get home until 4:30. 6.5 hours just to get a tyre changed and photos sent through a 1-hour processor, and I didn't even get the photos.

verso - recto

The WeatherPixie

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