Calm Down

I am extremely nice. My internal dialogue is occasionally brutal, often politically incorrect, and sometimes super judge-y. But outwardly, I am nice nice nice. I’m waving you into my lane. I don’t care if you go back for frozen waffles and then bananas and then pay with a check. I’ll hold your baby, the elevator, and even my composure if you get grabby. I spent the better part of this morning tracking down an air conditioning repair quote that is one month overdue, apologizing for calling so often with inquiries. It’s officially autumn now… so, really… take your time.

Today, with my usual “these things aren’t that important” breezy attitude I made the umpteenth call to Verizon. I ring them every few months, or years, to ask the current staff if someone could get rid of this for me.

Ain't it purdy?

This looks safe, right?

Last spring I made a huge breakthrough as Verizon admitted the pole was theirs, even confirming its exact location in my yard as it continues to wrap its (scary) wires around a rhododendron. They promised someone would come check it out very soon. I didn’t believe them. In fact, I might have even joked about not believing them… but in a nice nice nice way. So today, when I realized that “very soon” was six months ago, I made another call.

I usually dive right into my unwanted-pole-and-wires spiel peppered with factoids proving these (hopefully inert) wires are certainly theirs. Since I’ve been requesting pole removal for seven years, I know their deflecting questions and have ready answers. Occasionally, I’ll ask if they have any record of my prior requests. They never do. The whole dance is ridiculous and funny and a solid example of the complete customer service incompetence that exacerbates most of us daily; but the Verizon repair staff on the phone never, ever sees the humor in a mom trying for seven years to remove a wired pole from where the soccer ball always lands. It goes like this:

“I’m calling… again… see there’s this pole and blah blah blah and can you believe I’ve been calling for seven years? But now there’s this tree sort of leaning into it and the yard guys, understandably, won’t touch it until someone removes the pole and wires, and no one ever comes and, well… I’m just calling… again.”

Today, after my twee rant, the Verizon lady told me to “calm down.” I think tolerating a potentially electrified eyesore in the landscape for an entire dog year makes me the Zen Goddess of consumer complaint. She was probably reacting to my coffee-fueled pressured speech, but I certainly wasn’t angry or agitated… just overly effusive about my persistent pole situation. I’m calling about a POLE in the YARD, not a snake in the house, or fire in the attic, or tumor in the breast. Perspective and patience I have in spades, but nothing makes the blood boil faster than this couplet of words. But instead of indulging my inner meanie, I swallowed my spleen, apologized for interrupting her, and gave her the gift of silence… which she filled with a little harrumph that tells me this pole isn’t going anywhere fast.


(Over the years I have repeatedly offered a $100 reward to anyone who can make the men with chainsaws materialize. Apparently no one is so desperate for cash that he would willingly engage with vile Verizon staff.)

I think anyone who tells another (who isn’t aflame, or being chased by bees, or a smallish child) to “calm down” is afflicted with an incurable bad mood impervious to civility or bribery. And anyone who tells a sane person to “calm down” must know they’re inviting the opposite. But today, I resisted all desires to spew vitriol and landed myself Repair Request Order MAAT03D1Y2. Honey and flies and all of that. But if you wanted to call… like every single day… with not-calm-at-all inquiries about the status of Repair Request Order MAAT03D1Y2, I would urge you to Carry On.