It’s been a minute since I’ve written. Life has been incredibly chaotic, for a while now. Maybe longer than awhile, maybe for years. Yes. Definitely for years. And when I reflect on the chaos, the constant challenges with my house, my job, my adult children, my health, and, and, and, I realize… Hey, wait a second. This is life. For whatever reason, I have had the privilege of being presented with a new challenge fairly regularly for a lifetime, and ya know what? I’m meeting those challenges. So, should I be taunting the Universe with a Bring It On? Hmmm, maybe, maybe not.
My youngest son and I went out for breakfast this morning. He’s a senior web developer for a company that works with musicians, and in his spare time, an avid gamer. I’m a techie in my own right, working freelance as a content writer, college student coach, and sometime virtual assistant. So the two of us often talk tech and games, new software and gadgets. This morning we were gabbing about a recent purchase I made, an amplified TV antenna. The previous one was worn and broken. I use it to catch local stations rather than paying for cable. And if there’s something not on mainstream TV that I want to see, I’ll catch it on Hulu or Netflix, or some other reasonably priced service instead of paying crazy money for a bundle of stations I’ll never use.
Well, the new antenna arrived… ordered from Walmart. (I rarely buy from them, but found it online, with decent reviews and thought why not?) The product box, neatly packaged with padding inside a larger box, was misshapen, had obviously been beat up, stomped on and reassembled (the box, not the product), and did not have the original instruction pamphlet. The product itself, amazingly, was in good condition… but didn’t work. So. Even though it’s been an incredibly busy morning, I am just ticked off enough to get in the car and drive out to the local Walmart store. About halfway there, I thought, “Geez, I feel like I’m sleep-driving (kinda like sleep-walking),” but I persevered. I can do this!
At the store, of course there is a long line in the customer service area. Swaying a little while I’m standing, wondering if anyone can notice, I consider turning around and going home, but again, I persevere. I can do this! “I definitely need coffee!” Finally, it’s my turn. I bring the product, nicely taped, with the receipt to the counter. The customer service representative searches online with my customer number, and after some time has passed says, “Oh, this is a Marketplace purchase, I cannot take this back without the box it came in.”
“You’re holding it,” I say.
“No ma’am, the original box. The box it was packed and shipped to you in,” she replies. Seriously. You’ve got to be kidding. For real? I thanked her and walked away, too tired and feeling somewhat defeated. I knew I didn’t have the energy to argue or ask for a supervisor, to make a scene, or to hold up the ever-growing line behind me.
I got in the car, drove home, printed a return label from their website and drove it over to the shipping store on the corner by my house. They didn’t ship FedEx. Really? I must have had a “look” on my face. He directed me to the one down the street a few miles, “Not too far,” he said sympathetically. I really must have had that look. Back in the car, I headed to the FedEx store. Success! The young gentlemen behind the counter looked at the package, scanned the label, and asked, “Contents?”
“A TV antenna,” I replied.
“They still make those?” He grinned.
“Yes. They’ve become popular for those of us who don’t want to pay for local stations.” I reply, feeling just a little bit ancient. But what do I care? Works for me.
Back to the discussion with my youngest son. We often discuss how life is just waiting to pounce, could be good, could be sucky, or could be indifferent, but it’s going to pounce all the same. Today, while describing the events… I said, “It’s just like the old SIMS games you kids played years ago. Somebody chose this scenario for me and the drop-down box included, “Customer service rep refuses to accept return. Must have original shipping box. (bwahahahaha)” SIMS is a life simulation video game.
I remember one time years ago, the oldest boys were playing the game and had built this gorgeous house, complete with big screen TV’s, stereo’s, a pool, all the conveniences. Unexpectedly, because that’s how life works even with SIMS, a fire started in the kitchen. They had spent all their “money” on the best conveniences, and didn’t have a fire extinguisher. So the house burned down.
There are no “fires” in my life today. Today’s a better day. It’s a sleepy one around here, albeit a little weird in the weather department because they’ve predicted 3 to 8 inches of snow. (Another drop-down menu choice?) No one is sick, there are no family emergencies, my freelance work is done for the week, and I can nap while the crazy enormous snow flakes fall to the ground. The Universe has been kind. And with reflection on yesterday’s series of events, the conversation with my son today, and the quietness of right now, in the moment, I think, “What’s next Universe? Bring it on! But, one request, can you reprogram those drop-down choices to something really, really good? Like fun, happy, YEAH, good?”
Thanks. Yours sincerely,
We are more than this…