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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hostage Situation

I sit in my darkened room yearning for the outside world but wonder, "What if they come back?!"  "What will I do?"

I stare at the clock wondering "Dare I try to breathe in the freedom that momentary escape can bring?"  Just a few seconds outside this house could give hope that all is not lost.

NO!  I must not try.  I must stay put.  If they return and I am not here waiting there is no telling how long this ordeal will go on.

The captors I speak of are not terrorists.  They are not even criminals.  They are the most ruthless and sadly the most clueless of hostage-takers. They are REPAIR MEN.

The words, "We'll be there first thing in the morning" apparently works on some offshoot of the metric system in their world.  The words resonate in my brain like a Michael Bolton song meaning even though you hate it there it is inside your head.

I even asked what 'first thing in the morning' means and the answer was 9:30.  Assuming since they said 'in the morning' I take it to mean a.m.  Around 10:15 I call my captors.

"Oh, they're running a little behind.  I can't imagine it would be more than an hour."

In the time-space continuum these life-nappers seem to exist going up on a down escalator.

Thank goodness I have the digital clock because if there was any ticking or tocking parts of my brain would start oozing out of my head.  It is a depressing notion that my world can have the feel of a fat man in quicksand because my refrigerator is on the blink.  Or is it "the fritz"?  I'll go with "the blink."

Twenty more minutes pass and I call this man who controls the destiny of my day.

"We had to get parts and the place we go doesn't open until eleven so we had to wait."  What kind of place opens at eleven?

Then, I make the classic mistake.  I dare to ask, "Shouldn't you have had the part already if you were supposed to be here 'first thing in-the-morning'?"  That question will cost me at least another hour.

I think to myself, "At least Patty Hearst's captors gave her some chores, like armed robbery.  I am just here."

Ten minutes later Buford or Jimmy or whatever his name is calls and says that they have gotten the part so "We should be headed your way soon."

"Soon" is never good.  At least if they give a specific amount of time you can use the classic Repairman Quotient:  TxCxB+OxPxS=A

That is Time they tell you times Complaint Calls they receive times Breaks for cigarettes plus Orbits they make around the neighborhood despite having directions plus Phone Call asking for those same directions times Stalling because he did not like the tone of your last call equals Actual time of arrival.  (Give or take 43 minutes).

It works out to 3.376 hours to every hour they tell you.

Now it's about passing the time.  Do I dare get on the treadmill? Wait the treadmill could be too loud so I would not hear the doorbell.  So, I can do nothing that makes noise of any kind.

I return to the couch and start to see smoke rise from the remote as I explore all of the options of daytime television.  I begin to envy the view that a hamster on a wheel has.

NOON comes and goes. I begin realize that possibly these people do believe there are people on this planet who have jobs that do not entail driving around listening to the latest from Toby Keith.  I have nothing against Mr. Keith but well over seventy percent of repair men in my life have been listening to him when they drove up.

Our original conversation did feature a specific mention that I had to be at work by 1:30.  Of course that means they will arrive at 1:15 and take a look at what needs to be fixed and I then have to go into another equation where I figure out the last possible second I can leave and still be only a couple of minutes late for work.  

To be fair, I was wrong. They got there at 1:13.  Sadly in my state of despair and desperation I actually decided that meant they were early!  It is they hypnotic power they have.  I could not act mad because, "I don't want the repair guy to think I am a jerk."

As I ponder my impending lateness for my own job I finally ask, "How long will it be?"

The response, as always, "Prally 'baht an hahr."  Translation:  Pro-bab-ly a-bout an hour.

I tell them that I really have to leave.  The two men look at each other with an expression that says, "Mission Accomplished: Another person's day in the crapper."

As one guy picks up the tools and puts them in the truck the other says they can be back in two days.

You know of course when they will arrive.  "First thing in the morning."

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