Saturday, January 02, 2016

Ocean 12

I learned something about myself a long time ago: I am capable of giving in to frustration, capable of being impatient, frazzled, angry. Quick to blame someone other than myself. Well, aren't we all capable of that -- you'll say. And it's true -- most of us know how to lose our cool.

But if you know this about yourself, you can take charge and stay mellow. How do you do it? For me, putting myself in a calmly quiet environment is like a magic tonic. Clouds evaporate, calm sets in. I forget that I have this capacity to... lose my composure.

Today, however, I was tested.

The day had a great beginning and an even more beautiful agenda: I didn't let the cheepers out -- Ed did the morning run to the coop. The sun was brilliant...

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... and I knew we would be able to fit in a lovely day of skiing. Before that, I could pop in on Snowdrop and after, toward the evening, Ed suggested a movie and a dinner out. Wow. Days don't get grander than that, do they?

Ed had one small chore he had to knock off this morning and so after a beautiful, sunny breakfast...

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... I told him that I would go to the mall and do my iphone upgrade while he finished up his stuff here at the farmette.
It shouldn't take more than an hour! I said. I'd done upgrades before: half hour, maybe 40 minutes if I can't make up my mind which case to get.

I made a point of getting to the Apple store when it opened. I know it's Saturday. Things can get dicey.

I look around. Many Apple employees, standing with their devices, looking clever and ready to assist. I'm thinking: yay! A phone upgrade and a speedy exit.

But no. I am assigned the slowest Apple salesperson on the planet. His thumbs move over the device in the way I imagine mine will when I am 95. He makes a mistake. Has to do it all over again. Explains nothing well. It is a miserable set of hours.

My eyes canvass the Apple store -- help me out here! Get me someone else!
No one is catching my gaze.
The store fills.
The phone will not load. iCloud is not delivering. Several hours later, I have a phone with nothing on it.

This is when I almost reach into my inner chamber of horrors. And perhaps some will say I did cross the line. I said -- this is taking too long! There was no kindness in my voice.

My salesperson tells me he needs to go on mandatory break and I am handed over to someone else. I swear there is a magic button, the use of which allows the sales guy to convey the message that "this customer is trouble." Everyone is suddenly very edgy.

Here's when I really wanted to be mean. Oh, but to write a negative review of my shopping experience. Satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5? Zero!

It takes me over three hours and three separate Apple reps (they keep telling me breaks are mandatory and somehow all my people just happen to need breaks) to finally work through the mistakes, the errors, the long downloads that have to be done again and again.

But here's the thing: at the end of that time, I have a working phone. In a sage green case (well, some say it looks more like mint toothpaste). No one is hurt, nothing is damaged.

And so nothing happened, right? Nothing except this one thing: I was again reminded how easy it is to lose one's cool and how close I came to doing it today.

Onto the rest of this gorgeous Saturday.


Good banana, grandma!

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She is in a happy, chipper state. I'm not here for long -- just enough for a few books, a few pretend iPhones...

No, Snowdrop, do not get sucked into those!

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A few moments where I can just sit back and admire her curiosity, her gentleness...

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Her tenacity...

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Her desire to understand the possibilities.

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And then I'm back at the farmhouse, and Ed is ready and waiting, and off we go! Skiing at our county park up the road.

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It's a beautiful hour on the now groomed trail. Lake Waubesa is not yet frozen, even as some would like to believe it's solid.

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We finish our ski run in time to get to the movie house, but as we get to the ticket counter, we find that all the tickets for most of today's shows are sold out.

So we don't go to the movies. And we don't go out for dinner. On the way home, we pick up take out Thai and at home, Ed turns on his most favorite show on his computer -- Air Crash Investigations. He's now on show number 90-something. You get to see a reenactment of a plane crash of the past and then listen to an analysis of the causes for it.

And in a weird way, it's a superbly beautiful evening. Ed loves the engineering puzzles behind the crashes and I love having this moment to only half pay attention, but mostly tune it all out and give myself a chance to reflect on how well the year is proceeding.

A mall misadventure and a missed movie and dinner out. How utterly trivial. A quiet evening in a warm house and good food on the table. How good is that!

In other news: Ocean is twelve years old today. Twelve years of daily blogging. For as long as I do this, inevitably someone will ask -- why? And the answer is so very simple: because I love the process. Of writing. Of hearing from someone who may have read a post. Of connecting, correcting. Of learning. Of writing! Thank you -- all you loud and all you silent types. To me, writing something down makes sense only if at least one person (perhaps you are that one person) reads what you've felt compelled to state. Ocean, to me, is a quiet conversation. I say the first word, you supply the rest. Thank you.