Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Stamp Episode

My last girlfriend called me one night and asked if I could come over the next day.She wanted me to fix her computer and said we could get pizza delivered and watch the college basketball game to make a day of it.

Being a well qualified geek I was very happy to spare her the expense of the Geek Squad and told her I’d be over at 12:30 or so, and started preparing all my diagnostic software in a canvas carry bag that Adobe gave away at the last Seybold Seminar I attended.

At 12:40 I was parking my car and she called asking where I was. She seemed surprised and relieved that I was in her parking lot and would be ringing her bell in less than 3 minutes. I’m typically very punctual but she lives about 40 minutes from my house and I was running a little behind.

When I went into her place I was a bit surprised to see that she had already been drinking wine at that time of day, but thought “well it’s Sunday” and put my canvas bag on her counter, put my ginger ale in her fridge, then proceeded to boot up her PC.

The basketball game was on the TV within view of the PC and I settled in to begin working on the rouge computer. She went about her Sunday chores, busily folding laundry and sipping wine. We took a break when the pizza delivery man appeared and sat on the floor and watched a little of the basketball game.

Shortly after we resumed our tasks she looked over at me and sweetly asked “honey, do you have a stamp?”

“No sweetie, I don’t carry stamps with me” I replied.
Instantly she became visibly agitated and began to vent her frustration. She said she absolutely needed to mail out a bill immediately so the payment would not be late.I then said “Why don’t you give me the letter, I have plenty of stamps at home and I’ll have it next morning’s mail”.To this she insisted that tomorrow wasn’t acceptable it absolutely needed to be mailed today.
“It’s Sunday sweetie, the post offices are closed. The letter is just going to sit in the box until tomorrow anyway….”

At this point she was getting quite angry and said “NO you will mail it from (your town) or (your workplace town), it has to be mailed from (her town)”.

“It’s going to Aurora Illinois, it will get there on the same day whether it’s mailed from here or (my town)”.

Now I’d done it. She became furious and yelled “Have you been reading my mail?!?”

“No sweetie. I put my canvas bag on the counter next to your mail. I recognized the envelope by all the big blue graphics. It’s AT&T – I pay that same bill every month and know it goes to Aurora Illinois. It’s their central billing center, every AT&T bill goes there.”

She ran to the counter, picked up the envelope and stared at the mailing address. “How do you remember these things?” she asked as it seemed her anger was subsiding. “I told you about my memory sweetie” I said as I smiled.
Then she said “CVS sells stamps, I wonder if the Cumberland Farms convenience store up the street does also…”“Well the CVS is less than a half mile away, I’d just go there” I stated in a matter-of-fact” way.

“No, I’m going to call Cumberland Farms and ask them if they sell stamps” she said as she reached for her wall-mounted land-line phone.

I returned to the task of repairing the computer and noticed that she had installed both Norton and McAfee anti-virus applications which, not to mention her AOL junk-ware, was most likely the issue.

About 15 minutes passed and I assumed she was talking to a friend on the phone when suddenly she began to slam the phone against the wall and cursing Cumberland Farms for not answering.

“Was it ringing this whole time?”

“Yes, and they did not answer it the $*@! *$#@*s. I’m calling the phone company and make sure I didn’t get charged for the call!”

“Um sweetie, it’s a local call on a land-line and they did not answer…” I stopped in mid-sentence. She glared at me like a rabid werewolf so I quickly returned to staring at the computer monitor hoping she would find a more suitable target.

She immediately called the phone company and I could tell by her responses that they were trying to explain that “it’s a local call on a land-line and they did not answer…” but for over 15-minutes she insisted that the representative check and confirm that she wasn't being charged for the call.Then she slammed the phone against the wall one more time before she slammed it down on the cradle.

She was cursing to herself as she put on her coat and her fuzzy blue slippers. Then she wheeled around and with her eyes full of fury she angrily directed her attention back to me.

“Can I trust you if I leave you here alone?” she growled like an angry tiger defending its cubs.
“Sweetie, I’m a grown-up, I’m not going to go through your things… look I am still working on the computer, the basketball game is right there… I’m not going to do anything.”

Without a reply she wheeled around and I shook as the door slammed behind her.

Well, I got to a point where I had to download some updates, so I left the PC, poured a glass of ginger ale then sat in front of the TV to watch the basketball game for a bit.

Suddenly, without hearing her key or any other warning the door flew open and she burst in like the Tasmanian Devil until she saw me on the couch.

“I’m sorry sweetie but North Carolina just went ahead, it doesn’t look like you will win the pool” I said as I looked up and smiled at her.

“What’s going on with the computer – why aren’t you working on it?” she interrogated.

“It’s downloading some patches sweetie. I can see it from here. As soon as it finishes and the screen changes I can reboot it.”

She put away her coat and slippers, poured another glass of wine, then came over to the couch and sat next to me. As quickly as it appeared, the storm had passed and all was calm.

I looked at her, smiled, and asked “Did you mail the letter OK sweetie?”

She looked at me and said: “you think you can get anything you want with that cute innocent smile of yours don’t you…”

“Yes sweetie, indeed I do.”