Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh. Oh. Domino.

Moving is a very socially uncomfortable process for me -- standing around giving instructions while others conduct manual labor might sound like something a lot of people enjoy, but in reality, it's bothered me ever since college, where we were surrounded by what was known as GrayArmy. They were the people who ran the grounds and buildings and facilities, and always seemed just one sorority bitch away from putting our heads on pikes and mounting them on the Flame.

Half of this morning's moving crew liked me; half didn't. I dispensed cold beverages, and tried to be appropriately appreciative. I had clearly color coded and labeled all the furniture according to room and position, with corresponding labels on the other end. I had also had 17 or so friends deliver multiple truckloads in recent weeks, thereby completing about 40 percent of their work before today's crew even showed up. They made a lot of loud noises and comments suggesting they really, really did not like the process of lifting heavy things and putting them elsewhere -- which suggests to me that maybe they are in the wrong line of work. They brought their own music and listened loudly to "Domino" (with an occasional accompanying Motown-like shuffle.) I hate that song. It seemed to cheer them, but in retrospect, I should've considered it a portent.

Nonethless, I tipped them extravagantly and thanked them profusely (under nothing more than the general theory than I sure didn't wanna do their job), and as they drove off into the sunset, there was a really, really loud snapping sound at the end of the driveway. My pal Scott yelled out from the living room, "Uhhhh, I think you might wanna check on your boys."

"Yeah, how come they're MY boys whenever they've done something bad?" I asked.

A hasty jaunt to the curb, where a small crowd was gathering, revealed that they'd just taken out utilities to the block with the top of their truck. There were downed wires everywhere, which they tried to remedy by poking at them with a collapsible shower rod they'd retrieved from my downstairs bath. In a thunderstorm. It ended better than you might think, with them at least extricating the vehicle before anyone got killed or electrocuted. They left the severed wires just lying around.

I called their "Boss" who is really just an anonymous, androgynous  person named "Chris" who answers the phones and who said s/he'd "get right on it."

While I have never been less confident in my life that someone was going to "get right on" something, a few minutes later, the Cable Guy pulled up outside. I asked if he was there to transfer my cable and wi-fi to the new address (as scheduled), or to repair the lines we'd just yanked out of the poles? He said, "Honey, I'm here to do whatever you need me to do, and I won't leave til I'm done." I felt like I should've blown him on principle just for saying that, but it would have been hard to come up with an encore two hours later when he was STILL up a tree in my yard re-building the neighborhood lines. (This was after I had to walk home -- to the old home --  in the rain to fetch a power strip for my modem, since my car was trapped by live wires. There's no possible way to convey how pitiful an image it truly was.)

The guy got in, got out, and he left me two new remotes (I'd mentioned mine had grown tiresome and outdated).

By the time the fascist gas company rolled in at 8:30 at night, I was handing out lollipops and ass-kickins and I was fresh outta lollipops. They were the one utility that gave me explicit instructions reiterating that if I did not answer the phone when they called, I would have to reschedule their inspection for another day -- no hot water, no stove, etc. til they got their inspection in. After an all-day wait, he called the first time at 7 to say he was on his way, and we all trooped to the front porch where he couldn't miss us -- and then called back at 7:30 to say he had to take an "emergency" call and I should plan on being home the rest of the evening.

Once he arrived, of course, he promptly red-tagged the furnace (here's a tip: don't ever let the gas company into your house if you can avoid it -- like all monopolies, they will eff with you at least partly because they can). Luckily, I'm not someone who uses a furnace much, even in the winter, so I don't really care when the "drip leg" gets fixed" and the dryer hose gets "caulked." By then, my proletarian sensibilities had dimmed. I didn't even feel sorry for him when he said, before heading under the house to inspect the furnace, "call somebody if I'm not out in an hour."

I just said, "they don't call it a crawlspace for nothin' buddy."

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