Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Ahh Factor

My laptop is finally back from repair. Its return home wasn’t without some excitement however. On Saturday, I received an e-mail message from HP informing me that my laptop had been shipped on Friday for “next day” delivery. “Oh geez” I thought, “we’ll be away all day.” No matter that we will not be home, I will leave a signed note on the door to cover for my signature and indicate they can leave it at the door. After all, when I purchased it new, they left a door tag for me to sign, and left the package the next day. When we return home on Saturday, the note is still on the door.

I begin thinking about the “next day” message I have received from HP. I recalled that when I had to send out “lay off” notices, I had to specify “Saturday” if I really meant “next day.” With that in mind, I visit the FedEx web site and type in my tracking number. Sure enough, next day is to be Monday. “No matter” I think again, “the signed note should work for Monday too.”

On Monday, after work, I go to the gym as usual, and look forward to sitting comfortably during the evening to enjoying the laptop. When I arrive home, Andy indicates the door tag on the table. I look around. No laptop package is in sight. “What the heck!” Andy tells me to read the note. “Sorry” it reads, “sender requests live signature receipt.” “Why do they need a live signature now? They left it before without a live person to sign! No one is ever home during the day! I’ll never get this delivered!” I’m sullen as I eat my evening meal. I haven’t tasted a bite. All the while, I keep re-reading the note. “What is that fine print here near the scribbled notation?” I squint. Oh my, can it be true? The FedEx office at the airport is open until 8:30 pm. My eyes widen. I look at the clock. It is now 7:20 pm. I point out the fine print to Andy. He squints and agrees that is does indeed say 8:30. “Do we have time to get there?” I ask. “Plenty of time.” he declares. We drop everything and jump into the van. “You drive,” he instructs. I do, and off we go.

As we head toward Manchester, I notice that my gas gauge is reading low. No sooner have I noticed this, than I hear the low-on-fuel signal. “Don’t worry! We have plenty of gas to get there.” Andy proclaims. We have a bit of a ride, so I start chatting about my day. Twice, I almost take the wrong exit, and become flustered. Not only that, but as evening falls I can’t see the road clearly. The contact lenses I wear during the day are different for each eye. One is for reading and one is for distance. Once it gets dark, however, the world gets a lot more blurry. I usually drive with my glasses at night. Now, not only am I nearly taking the wrong exits, I can’t read the signs anymore either. Finally, I get us to Brown Avenue in one piece.

As we approach the airport, I take the first left onto Perimeter Road. I realize my error right away. I should have taken the second left. Andy is sure the road goes around and instructs me to continue. We do, but get nowhere. He’s telling me to take this turn and that, and now I’m so turned around, I barely know which way is which! In frustration and with a voice many decibels louder, I’m told to pull over. I happily turn over the driving to him. We continue to weave around the airport in search of the FedEx office. The needle on gas gauge is barely hovering over empty. “Stop worrying about the gas! We have plenty!” Andy insists.

We realize we won’t find the office without help and stop to ask for directions. We see a service truck parked on the side of the road. We stop and kindly ask for directions to the FedEx office. As the man is giving us instructions, I try to pay attention. It’s clear to me that we are really off course. I look at the clock. It is now after eight o’clock. I have my doubts about getting there before closing.

Off we go again. We find ourselves at another dead end and have to turn around. Finally, I see a turn that resembles the description the man has given us. We take that. Next, we need to find a stop sign, go through that and we should see FedEx. Just when we give up hope that we are on the right track, the stop sign appears. Low and behold, so does the FedEx sign! I breathe a sigh of relief. Andy pulls up to the door and I jump out and hurriedly make my way to the entrance. A customer, who is exiting, sees me hurry along and announces, “No need to rush. You have plenty of time!” he says to me. What is it with men and their “plenty of” syndrome?

At the desk, I hand over the door tag and ask for my package. I sign for it, and never once am I asked for identification. Now I’m irritated. If I drove all this way on fumes and jumped through all those hurdles, shouldn’t they at least make sure I am who I say I am? This leave me wondering why they couldn’t have accepted the signature I left at home.

With laptop in hand, we make our way out of the airport and to the nearest gas station. We have more hoops to jump through here as well. Half the pumps are out of gas, and the credit card readers are out of order. We find an operating pump. The van takes more gas than I ever remember pumping into it. “Holy smokes!” I think. “That tank must really be on fumes for sure.” While I’m paying inside, Andy discovers from other customers, that the stations all along Brown Ave are out of gas. I have never heard such a thing. I look up at the sky and think, “Must be the full moon!” We arrive home. I inspect the machine and settle in comfortably. The laptop is running smoothly. I know it was all worth it when I feel the ahh …wash over me.

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