Friday, June 22, 2018

on the line again

When I was in private practice, my secretary, Jamela, kept us all amused (and better informed) with her fractured aphorisms.

"Now you are skating on dry ice" was good. But, my favorite was, "Now, you've got crow on your face."

And I do. Or, at least I feel that way.

Because I have had to eat a big bowl of crow after my exercise in hubris when I reminded all of you the primary reason I moved to Mexico was to avoid comfort; to get up every morning in Mexico and not know how I was going to get through the day. It would build character. Not that I was not already character enough.

There is an old saying that whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. If Longfellow meant mad in the angry sense, I qualify.

Last week I told you I had suffered a modem outage due to a lightning strike. The modem died on the night of the 8th. I finally connected with a Telmex customer service representative on the 12th.

She took all of my information and informed me the modem would be delivered on Monday. The 18th. She said a courier, rather than a Telmex technician, would deliver it. I thought it a bit odd to take that long. After all, even in Mexico, Amazon delivers within two days.

But, that was the only way I was going to get my modem replaced. You can imagine how thrilled I was to receive an email that same afternoon that my order was being processed. On Thursday, I received a text message from the courier (AM/PM Express) that my modem was out for delivery.

I was ecstatic. Could it be delivered that fast? I was meeting people for dinner when I received the message. But, I canceled. The instructions were quite clear. I had to be at the house to  sign for the modem and to give the old modem and charger to the courier.

I waited at the house. And waited. Nothing.

On Friday, thinking I had missed the delivery, I called the AM/PM number included in my notice and waited on hold for about 40 minutes. When the young lady answered, she assured me the modem would be delivered that day. I waited at the house all day. No modem.

On Saturday, I called again and was told the modem would definitely be delivered that day. Do you want to guess the outcome of my stay at home? Yup. No modem. I was beginning to feel a bit like Charlie Brown and Lucy's football.

I stuck around the house on Sunday (other than going to church). As I suspected, the AM/PM office was closed for telephone calls on Sunday. And there was no delivery.

On Monday, my friend Julio and I tried calling again. This time there was nothing but a busy signal. And no delivery.

Tuesday. Busy signal. No delivery.

Wednesday. Busy signal. No delivery.

On Thursday, I decided it was time to throw myself on the mercy of the local Telmex office in Manzanillo. The best the very pleasant representative could do was tell me that the modem was out for delivery -- and there was nothing else in his bag of tricks.

So, back to the house, I went. No delivery.

Today, my spirit was almost broken. I thought about writing letters or making telephone calls. I was fuming for action.

And, it then occurred to me. My Mexican neighbors have been dealing with these bureaucratic frustrations their entire lives. So, I asked Jaime (the fisherman) how he dealt with it.

I should have anticipated his answer: "Sit down. Open a beer. And wait. It will either be there or it won't."

And that is what I did. All except the part about the beer. I poured myself a tall glass of mineral water. And did what I had been doing for the past week -- sat and read. But, this time, I packed up my anxiety and drowned it in the pool.

After all, it is just a modem. It will arrive when it arrives.

You have probably already intuited that the modem did, in fact, arrive. I was late leaving for dinner this evening, when I saw an AM/PM van stopped along the main street. A group of women were besieging the poor driver. For modems. He was delivering 60 of them in Barra. Unfortunately, the women had not yet reported theirs to Telmex.

I found my order amongst the pile they were examining. The driver followed me home, we switched out the modems, and had a brief conversation about Carlos Slim  owning AM/PM as well as Telmex. And he then drove away.

The new modem is set up. I am blogging. Omar is watching Netflix in his room. And all is right with the world.

I have not changed my mind about why I moved to Mexico. And, as frustrating as the experience was, I learned something about myself. I need to slough off this notion that I am somehow in control of circumstances. It is one of those northern viruses that I have yet to shed.

If I learn one thing from Mexico, it will be developing the patience of Job. Or, at least, Peter.

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