Figuring out how to do things myself can be daunting, disheartening, and dirty. But even worse is waiting for people to come fix the things I can’t do by myself. I’ll bet I have wasted at least a month of my life waiting for the “guy” d’jour. It’s never a woman. A woman might be on the phone setting up the service call, but so far, it has always been a guy who does the actual work.
If he shows up.
The current problem started Wednesday night when I came home from church choir practice. My electric garage door decided it could no longer go down all the way. I pushed the button, walked down the sidewalk, and heard a boom, then watched in amazement as the door rolled itself back up. What? I pushed the button again and watched the door go down to about four feet from the ground and bounce back up. I moved stuff in the garage in case the sensors were detecting something in the way. I did it again. Boom, up. Well, shit.
It was dark in my garage. The fluorescent light is burned out. It’s a long one, I’m thinking eight feet, which is farther than I can reach. I keep imagining glass all over the floor when I drop it. I backed out the car, plugged in an old lamp, dragged the ladder to the center of the garage and disconnected the electric opener. I figured I would close the door manually. But it wouldn’t go all the way down even as I pushed it, scared I would smash these piano-playing hands. I noticed a hanging cable, torn at the bottom. I don’t know how it works, but that was the problem for sure.
I left the door two feet open, certain I’d be greeted by raccoons and other critters in the morning, and adjourned to watch videos and forget my troubles. In the morning, I called the guy and looked for critters. None so far. That I could see. But any human could duck under there and get into my house. There’s no lock on the inner door to the laundry room. The dog would stop them, you say? Ha. She’d welcome them with kisses and tail wags.
First thing Thursday morning, I called the garage door guy. He said he would come about 1:30 p.m. to fix my garage door. Okay, fine. I had a lunch date in Lincoln City, but I dashed home to be here for him. No guy. I waited till 4:00, then called him. I got his voicemail. I left a message. He did not call back. Well, he’ll be here first thing Friday morning, I thought. The perpetual optimist. About 10:30 Friday, I left another message. At 2:00, I forwarded my landline calls to my cell phone and took the dog for a walk, hoping he’d be here when we got back. Just in case, we wouldn’t go too far.
No sign of him.
Four calls later, plus a Saturday call to another garage door guy, it is now 11 a.m. on Monday, and I’m still waiting. I have other things to do. I’m hoping publishing this will cause him to magically appear.
On Saturday night, my neighbor managed to forced the door almost to the ground. He may have broken it in the process, which would be unfortunate, but I needed the door to be shut. Of course now nobody can go in or out, but . . .
The fix-it guys do not seem to understand that when a person lives alone and is as anxious as I tend to be, she (or he—my dad was the same way) gets up and dressed early just in case, holds off on going to the bathroom, eating, or getting involved in anything useful. We’re constantly listening. Is that him? No, it’s the heater. Is that him? No, it’s the neighbor going to work. We keep looking out the window. We make the dog nervous with our pacing. We get a stomachache, for Pete’s sake.
Why? Because if he calls or comes to the door when we’re on the toilet, in the shower, walking the dog, or outside for one minute dumping the trash, he might turn around and go away. When you live alone, there is no one else to answer the phone or open the door. No one else to write the check. No one else to say, “This is where we seem to have a problem.”
It’s even worse for people with regular jobs, who have to take time off to wait for “the guy.” Why can’t they give me a time and stick to it—or at least call if the schedule changes? When I arrange to play music or do an interview, I set a time, and that’s when I arrive.
In the past, I have waited for electricians, plumbers, stove repairmen, washing machine repairmen, tree trimmers, stump pullers, fence builders, gutter replacers, ditch diggers, propane tank fillers, telephone repairmen, cable TV installers, and yes, garage door guys. I have a lot more work that needs doing here, but I’m tired of waiting for the guys.
Should I call again?
Fr. Joseph talked about temptation yesterday at Mass. Well, I am tempted to hate this no-show Joe. I’m trying not to. Clearly this is a one-man operation, or there’d be somebody else answering the guy’s phone. Trying to run a business alone isn’t easy. He probably took on more work than he can handle.
Maybe he got hit in the head by somebody’s garage door and is lying unconscious in a hospital. I would feel terrible if that were true. But he probably just ghosted me. That’s a trendy term I have never used before, but I’m starting to see its usefulness.
Meanwhile, do I have time to go to the post office? Let me check outside again.
Readers, how do you deal with waiting for “the guy?” I welcome your stories and comments.