Do you know what I discovered this week? #1. Trump is here to stay for a very, very, very long time (no matter how much I try and wish him away)—he ain’t never gonna change, and his supporters’ support for him ain’t never gonna change. #2. Trump does and will occupy our media cycles 24/7 until he leaves office, probably through 2024. #3. No matter how much I try to remain vigilant against what columnist Ruth Marcus calls this “one-man assailant against the rule of law,” I still can’t get through to the people I know who are supporting Trump, because they think I’m—at best—a purveyor of “fake news”—at worst—a spawn of the anti-Christ.
I sure do miss President Obama because you really don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Everyday there is some stupidity visited upon us by “President” Trump, and as I spend hours upon hours trying to decipher what this all means in the scheme of things—the end of the world as we know it—I am made painfully aware that his reign could outlast my life, and then what good would all that worry and fretting get me except an early admittance ticket to the grave.
This was brought to my attention by my ophthalmologist just the other day. I am 69 years old and have to get my eyes checked every six months to see if I have glaucoma (an inevitable rite of passage for someone with African/Cherokee Indian heritage roller blading through old age). Apropos to nothing, my sanguine 45 year old eye doctor started spewing his views about aging.
DOC: You know, I don’t want to live past 75.
ME: Oh, why not?
DOC: Because nothing good really happens to your body after 75—like nothing good happens after midnight, so you might as well leave the club, go home, and get some sleep. Most of my patients are 65 and older. The ones up to 75 seem to be treading the water of life very well, but the ones between 75 – 80 start disintegrating on all sorts of levels. They wake up one day and suddenly they need a hip replacement here, a knee replacement there, or a quadruple bi-pass here, maybe a prostrate extraction there, a cataract surgery here or macular degeneration therapy there, not to forget a touch of dementia here or full-blown Alzheimer’s there . . . It is not a pretty sight. Generally, my patients tell me that by the time a person turns 85—95, their best friends are usually their doctors because they are the people the octogenarians/nonagenarians see on a regular basis, since most of their social connections are usually dead by the time they are in their late eighties. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, given one’s DNA and all.
ME: You know I’m 69 right, and you’re telling me this scary shit? You don’t know my life.
DOC: How long did your mother live?
ME: Mom died at 70 and her sister died at 75. So what are you saying to me?
DOC: Hum . . . I’m not a fortune teller, but if I were you, I wouldn’t waste your life because it is probably going to be shorter than you think.
By the time I left the eye doctor’s (eyes so dilated from five different drops in my pupils I could barely drive home), I felt like I had been in an underwater episode of Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as my spirit guide of things yet to behold. It really made me think: If it is true that I probably have only six good, strong years ahead of me before body parts go spinning off in different directions like the wheels of a poorly made go-cart (I’ve already lost a uterus), I better start changing my ways—no more wasting time.
So I started making a list of things that are time sucks in my everyday routine:
#1. Scary news about Donald Trump 24/7
#2. Abscessing about scary news about Donald Trump 24/7
#3. . . .
Just as I was about to type in my third example of a Trump time suck, my cable system imploded. I promptly got on the phone, waited 20 minutes for someone to answer at my local cable company, told them my problem (“My internet is down for the 20th time since the beginning of the new year when one of your incompetent installers didn’t put in the most up-to-date modem”), at which the operator on the other end promptly replied: “Yeah, he was an independent contractor—not one of our ‘real employees.’ You’re going to need our new super-duper, panoramic WiFi system which is guaranteed to solve all of your internet needs. A ‘real’ technician is scheduled to arrive sometime between 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. If the tech doesn’t arrive within that time frame, we will reimburse you $20.00.”
My local cable company arrived thirty minutes late. “J,” originally from Barbados, was very nice and fed me the script that I learned must be part of the cable company handbook: “I will definitely get everything running—not going to leave before I do.” After two hours, “J” had installed a new fancy-dancy WiFi system and made sure I understood that when I got the survey about his work performance that I gave him all “10’s” because anything less was considered a failing grade in the company.
When husband returned that night, he discovered that his computer could no longer receive WiFi, both TVs could no longer access Netflix, and, although the company would send us a technician the next day (between 10:00 – 12:00), we could not get our $20.00 late-show fee because we needed to phone it in at a certain time which happened to NOT be the time we were phoning it in.
The next day, the technician “R” from Mexico arrived 30 minutes late. I could speak better Spanish than he could speak English, AND I CAN’T SPEAK SPANISH! He could say the prerequisite: “I will definitely get eberything runnin’—not goinna leave befo’ I do,” but little else. It was his first day on the job. After much hemming and hawing, he announced:
“Oder tech not do good job. Ju need (how ju say it?) a stender and two new ebrything.”
“Is that going to cost me any more money? I’m already paying extra for upgraded Wifi.”
“Asck billin’—I jes tech.”
Tech stayed all day, then finally fled five hours later in complete frustration, promising to return with his supervisor to finish the job, but had to get to next jobs or he’d get fired for not completing his tech log that day. I skipped three errands, cancelled one appointment, researched nothin for my next book, never meditated, and almost blew a gasket from frustration.
The cable tech never returned.
Somewhere between the entry into Cable Company Hell and the fourth level of Dante’s Inferno, a cheery customer service person called:
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Tomczyk. This is your local cable company calling to see how our service was today. Did everything get completed to your satisfaction? You know, service is our game, and excellence is our aim!”
“ARE YOU SHITTIN’ ME!?!”
Husband returned home that evening expecting everything to be in tip-top shape and made the mistake of asking me how my day had gone. I assaulted him with a stream of dragon fire, turned the cable company files over to him, and before abdicating my position as Internet Project Manager, I informed him that “R’s” manager (“M”) would arrive between 6:00 – 8:00 that night to fix the debacle his “first-day-on-the-job-non-English-speaking-employee” had left behind.
Sometime during dinner, “M” from Virginia by way of Morocco showed up and Hubbie and I threw up our agitated, frustrated word salad all over him which basically came down to the meaning of four words: “FIX IT, CABLE DUDE!”
“Absolutely, Mr. and Mrs. Tomczyk. I am the supervisor of 15 techs. If I can’t fix it, no one can. I will definitely get everything up and running—not going to leave before I do!”
Two hours later and two cold dinners left uneaten, after “M” extracted a promise that we’d give him all “10s” because “anything less is a failing grade,” he left the scene of the crime. Ten minutes after he’d gone, I discovered that the phones (land lines), which run through the cable system, didn’t work. After staying on hold for thirty minutes (thank God for cell phones), Hubbie was told by the cable company, not to worry about our phones, it was an outage in the area (not our specific problem) that would be corrected by them in a couple hours.
They lied. None of our neighbors’ phones were dead. Only ours. AAUUUGH!
The next day, “A” from Russia, by way of California arrived and said that all the rest of the techs had screwed up the repair job. He was a senior technician and announced that the cable company should never have sent a novice employee—the job was extremely complicated. The entire system was not getting enough signal, parts that had been added had to be removed, and parts that should have been included were added. Hours later and several drilled holes into my newly painted house siding previously not there, the Russian tech left after pleading that we’d give him all 10s because anything less would mean a failing job. He then added:
“The survey’s first question will be what you think about my cable company. Although you’ll be tempted to give them a zero rating after the experience you’ve had over the past several days, PLEASE, PLEASE give them a 10, because even though I wasn’t the tech that caused your previous problems, they will give me a failing mark for not convincing you to give the company a stellar grade.”
Two hours after the tech left, I noticed my back-up laptop couldn’t receive a wireless signal.
Recalling all the previous machinations I’d observed from each of the cable techs over the last several days and unwilling to waste any more of my precious time, I fixed it myself!
ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA” MOMENT) ABOUT WASTING TIME
I am discovering that I have a new heroine: Maxine Waters, The International Finance System Committee’s ranking Democrat. She’s Black, she’s old (78), and she suffers no fools. Recently when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was testifying before the committee about why he had not responded to a letter from her regarding Trump’s financial ties to Russia, he tried to “play” her and not answer her questions by slathering her with platitudes and compliments, apparently trying to run out the clock since each committee member only gets a strict amount of time for questions. Girlfriend was having none of that bullshit. She kept repeating— ad nauseam —“reclaiming my time, reclaiming, my time, reclaiming my time . . .” Auntie Maxine Waters kept repeating her declarative statement until the committee chairman silenced Mnuchin.
I am reclaiming my time from all things that are wasting it—especially from things that I can’t control. I have become a slave to the 24/7 news updates as I comb the Internet for any indication that Trump is going down in flames and that his supporters finally “got woke,” as the kids say, and are abandoning him—relieving us from this national nightmare that this cartoon of a President has thrust upon us. I realized the other day that none of this may happen anytime soon—if ever. I have no doubt that Trump will go down in history as the worst president we’ve ever had, but even when his supporters are completely scandalized and demoralized by him, the majority of them will never admit they were wrong because their identity is so tied up in his success. In the meantime, my life is rapidly moving toward the exit door.
I will continue to pray and fight the good fight, BUT, I have put reading, viewing, and listening to the news on appointment: a couple hours in the a.m. while I exercise and then shutdown. No responding to pinging news updates on my phone or bedtime news updates that rob me of my sleep.
As to my local cable company’s time sucking enterprise, the next time my Internet implodes, I’ll go sit in one of the bucolic areas of my house or deck and read a wonderful book—knowing that my local cable company is incompetent and will be here for days, so I might as well chill and reclaim the time by improving my mind.
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT WASTING TIME
“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”—Benjamin Franklin
“There’s no good way to waste your time. Wasting time is just wasting time.”—Helen Mirren
“I’m not a big sleeper. It just feels like wasting time. If I wake up, and it’s after 5 A.M., I stay up.”—Margherita Missoni
“Ditto, Margherita Missoni!”—Eleanor Tomczyk
THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK: “The Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts From my Miseducated Fetus Self” is on sale now at Amazon!
“What Humans Need to Know Before Being Born”
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? Check out her website at www.eleanortomczyk.com
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