Valentine’s Day Fiasco 2018

Howdy. Certainly not a good day, but howdy will have to suffice.

Today here in the St Louis regional has been a little slice of wham and other sounds that depict misfortune akin to a Three Stooges episode. Today is Valentine’s Day! Chocolate, hearts and cards! Balloons, flowers and all things red-pink! Apparently the universe got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and didn’t have an appropriate amount of zippy endorphins to get this day off on the right foot.

Stage one: I leave the house and notice that the pavement is wet from rain. This automatically makes all drivers in a one hundred mile radius freak out and be incapable of driving responsibly and safely. Stage two: Upon navigating through the subdivision, I stop at the last stop sign before exiting the subdivision. This stop sign is on the left most branch from one street and at this same junction there is a corresponding right branch from a different street but also with a stop sign. At this junction I stop and look over to see a gray Jeep cruising along that right side street. The Jeep coasts right by the stop sign on that side just as I am releasing the brake to proceed forward through the forked junction. The Jeep reluctantly comes to a rolling stop about 3-4 feet from my vehicle as I pass their adjoining street. At this point I used some very colorful language to describe my thoughts on their intelligence level in relation to them being so self-important as to not being able to adhere to the same traffic rules as normal upright humans. Stage three: I get to Ayden’s school to drop him off for the latchkey program which runs before normal school hours only to find the building is without power. One of the latchkey teachers is freaking out and dropping subtle hints that school may be cancelled causing the children to have to be returned to their homes. Stage four: After leaving the school I try to turn left at the stop light to route myself to the highway. However, here the left turn traffic signal light is permanently stuck on red so no one can turn left. After an 8-10 minute wait without advancing in the traffic line to turn left, I merge into the right lane to try to find another avenue to get onto highway 55. But as you may have guessed, I ended up finding similar problems along the route. Delaying me further, I had to traverse into Arnold proper to finally get onto highway 55. By the time I actually got onto the highway, I was two minutes from being late to work with a long way to go. Stage five: I am finally in a place where I can try to send a text message to Kristi to let her know about the school power situation but my text messages will not go through. I try to send a Facebook messenger message and it also fails. Initially I tried to do Talk-To-Text but the phone refused to scribe the messages. As usual I assumed it was due to T-Mobile’s terrible service coverage area. But when I manually typed those messages and they still did not send I became suspicious. So by now I was highly aggravated. Next I tried to call Kristi. A synthesized voice message came on the phone stating that my service has been suspended for non-payment. By now I am losing my collective poop. Verbally I navigated the system prompts to make a payment to reactivate the service. I un-calmly yell the information into the phone while getting more and more irritated. As soon as I complete the transaction I get an automated message telling me that my service may take up to two hours to restore!

So at this point in the story I am basically a Viking in the throes of battle bloodlust. Traffic was barely moving, I could not get ahold of Kristi to inform her of the school power situation and my service provider had cut us off for a single missed payment. I was lividly livid. Finally, after screaming at some robotic voice prompts, I get a living, breathing service person who we will call ‘Chris’, possibly short for ‘Christina’. To be truthful, Chris was pretty darn good at doing her job. If the situation were flipped and a complete stranger was yelling at me with the volume and fire that I was (I did not belittle or personally attack her), I would’ve been hard pressed to not crack. In reality my outrage was twofold: First I immediately asked for her supervisor but she deflected the request and tried to tackle my rage on her own. Secondly, who cuts off a service after a single missed payment with no payment history issues? It is no secret that I have never been a huge fan of T-Mobile’s service. Of all the service providers I’ve had over the years, it is by far the weakest for actual coverage area (thank the heavens for WiFi or we would almost never have service on our phones). So to have them disengage service over a single missed payment was infuriating. My conversation with Chris started about 2-3 minutes after the phone payment was accepted and the clock was ticking. If the school tried to call either her or me to come get Ayden so the school staffers could leave, they would be unable to reach anyone for two hours as we have no home phone or other means to contact us aside from extended family who would also be unavailable to get him on short notice. Chris did inform me that service might be restored sooner but I would need to restart my phone as would Kristi. I proceeded to point out that there was no way to communicate this information to her in the current predicament. Needless to say I considered this was a very stressful situation. After a pointless 15 minutes or so of arguing with her, I finally got Chris’s supervisor on the phone. Alas this was not a good thing. She was a most unsympathetic voice from the Alabama call center. After five minutes of her condescending tone and pre-scripted answers, I thanked her for her time and told her I would be researching other carriers as soon as possible, then promptly disconnected the call.

Stage six: My phone gets re-booted, I call Kristi’s main switch board number at work and get transferred to her area. I relay the school information and wish her a Happy Valentine’s Day even though I feel like my heart is about to burst from stress and frustration. By now it is well after 8 o’clock and I am late for work. Initially this morning, I left the house at 6:45 am and thanks to various traffic shenanigans including a traffic incident on the exit I need to use to get to my job, I did not physically get to my desk to clock in until 8:47 am. Absolutely ridiculous.

In my food bag I had brought yogurt for my breakfast that was now room temperature. My nerves were frazzles and my energy levels felt completely depleted. Needing a boost, I opted to get a Mountain Dew from the soda machine. Thank you traffic and T-Mobile for stressing me out to the point where I had to have my first soda since last Wednesday. I didn’t want to do it but after the draining experience, just to make it into work, I needed energy in the form of sugar.

Epilogue: I hope your Valentine’s Day is infinitely better and smoother than mine started out. Hopefully Kristi at least will appreciate the cards, candy, flowers and family food later. That at least is my hope.

To all not experiencing stress headaches right now, I say good day and positive energy.


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