Goodbye Grip – Tuesday October 17th 2013


Tom G – that long suffering, dear, ever hopeful, ever optimistic gem of a man- pointed out today that I hadn’t written a post here since July.  The truth is I write at least a few sentences everyday.  I come up with a great idea, sit down at the keyboard…and something serious comes out.  Something stressful and whiney, or something heavy and overly-explained.  So I don’t press “publish”.

I also noticed today that I am stressed out.  STRESSED OUT.  It’s probably the normal mom-around-the-holidays stressed out with the new steroid of owning my own business.  I bet even hippies who start local food co-ops or grill cheese stands in the parking lots at Phish shows get stressed the hell out if they really believe in their ability to succeed.  I wasn’t the sweetest, most even tempered woman before my partner and I opened for business in May…but I was old enough to have a pretty decent Grip.

That Grip has been substantially loosened.

It’s not just stress’s fault.  Comcast is at least 50% to blame.  I spent my 20′s learning how to remain calm to befriend and defeat the customer service person.  I was famous (in certain circles) for getting discounts by being nice and just asking.  Fees were waived and reversed, I used expired coupons, I got the personal phone numbers of tech support people.  I had defeated Comcast several times in the early and mid-aughts.

Everyone is now aware, however, that almost all customer service has gone to hell in a hand basket.  After spending hours and hours on the phone, repeating my address and last four digits of my social security and taking deep breathes and explaining again that I had been charged for something in error…one day I felt my palms getting sweaty.  One by one, my fingers uncurled until I was just hanging by my littlest digit and praying that the Grip would hold me.  Then I heard some one screaming.  It was a woman, she was screaming and stomping her foot.  I heard her mock the customer service person she was on the phone with- mocking his pat answers and stupid voice and career decisions.

It was me of course.  I realized when my own voice was echoing off the dining room walls and the phone was covered in rage-spittle.  The Grip was gone.  I was entirely unhinged…a decade of therapy and self help books and meditating and exercise to reduce anxiety just erased with one too many pointless conversations pleading with a piss-faced (probably), dough-lidded, numbskull.

The worst part is that I got the erroneous charge reversed.  And I was refunded another $80 for various upsets and outrages.  Because that’s how I found out that sometimes screaming at people gets them to act right.  I was hoping that my maturity and the wisdom of my advancing age would confirm my other life philosophy: You Catch More Flies With Honey.  You Catch More Flies With Fly Poison is kind of a downer.

So there you have it.  I’m going to press publish this time, and hope that writing again will help even out my Gripless existence.  I really don’t want to be one of those stressed out dicks in a skirt suit screaming at the Starbucks barrista for forgetting the whip cream. I mean, I would never order a drink at Starbucks that came with whip cream because I’m a snob about ordering actual coffee- not liquid candy bars- but who knows where this is going to all lead?  It’s time to take back control of my life.  First I’ll press publish, then I’ll look up what other cable providers service my building, then I’ll go to bed.

And when Hazel gets up at 4 in the morning and says ” MAMA WHEWE AWE YOU?  COME HEWE!” I’m going thank the universe for the 1265th time for the privilege of being a stressed out mom with a successful business.

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