Barbara's brand new laptop, the one that had worked perfectly in Michigan, would not work in Florida. We thought it had something to do with the Civil War, but were wrong.
--He’s nice, I like him.
--And right on time, too. That in itself is a huge plus. I can’t count the number—
--Please don’t, Barry. I was here every one of those times. I lived it, too, remember?
--I know what it’s like down here. I accept it. I know about how all the traffic lights are timed by sadists, and about the hundreds of deranged, criminally insane people the state of Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles issues drivers licenses to.
--I’m sorry, it’s like exorcism. If I say this speech, it helps me to live. It prepares me for the next time I make an appointment with a tradesman or a vendor who never shows up.
--I don’t think it helps you. I think it makes you more nuts.
--No, it helps. It reconfirms for me the deeply flawed nature of human interactions. It reestablishes for me that this is the norm, not an aberration. It refreshes my memory, it equips me—
--No, honey, it doesn’t. It makes you go on the way you are right now.
--OK, I’m almost done, then I’ll shut up. I know all about the short-circuited nature of things here in sunny Florida. Which is not all that different from the short-circuited nature of things in Michigan. Except in a heightened way, but with fewer homicides. At least on the Gulf Coast. But: I cannot come to terms with service people who can’t even do me the simple courtesy of calling me with a lie to explain why they’re three hours late, or why they won’t be able to come today, or come any day, ever. Is that too much to ask? A simple call on your cell phone as you’re driving around? A little lie? Just a courtesy, a simple, little thing, instead of stiffing the poor sap whose toilet or roof or pool you said you’d fix between one and four, but no, not today, not tomorrow, not, I’m sorry to say, ever.
--Good. He was nice, and he came on time. And fixed my laptop problem. Be grateful.
--I am. He stopped on his way to his shop, and didn’t charge us for another service call. I gave him a twenty anyway, to secure his good will for the next cyber failure.
--It surprised him, our problem. You said that when you described the “symptoms” over the phone, he told you he was stumped. He said he’d “never heard that one” before.
--Actually, I think that’s why he came so fast. It intrigued him. It’s just like Dr. House, he’s only engaged by weird illnesses. Why would a new laptop computer refuse to connect to the Internet, when it’s resting right next to both the cable modem and the wireless router? Why would this same laptop work perfectly thirty-five or forty feet away in the same house? Answer: Because it’s resting right next to the wireless router, etcetera.
--Being able to use it wherever I want is like being released. Paroled.
--Just like the thing with my Volkswagen. Or was that before we got married?
--Honey, you told me about it yesterday.
--Of course I did, exactly. I’m topping up mine. You?
--I’m fine. I’ll just sip my wine with happy thoughts of my new laptop.
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