I’ve been busy, alright? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Just got back from a week up North in New England, working for a restaurant group that’s about to open an outpost here in Atlanta. They flew me up there and had me in as a Celebrity Guest Manager for a week at two of their restaurants. Their Director of Operations said we needed to date a little before moving in together in Atlanta.
It was a little different running a place with much higher cover counts, lower check averages, and a much more causal style of dining than I was used to in my most recent jobs. But after running some very serious dining rooms, running a place where you have to drop a check because your waiter is Salsa dancing with the guests is kind of refreshing. Great food; needless to say, a lively atmosphere, and excellent wine and beverage programs. A fun bunch of people and a very competent and well run company. Can you tell I’m sucking up in hopeful anticipation of the GM job at the new place?
So I arrived back home on Monday night to the nice surprise of my wife and daughter meeting me at the gate. It was so great to see their happy faces in the crowd, until they told me about the failure of the AC unit at the house (again) on the brink of what is supposed to be the hottest week of an already very hot summer. Got home to a house that was like a sauna; but as the old saying goes, “Home is where the humidity is…”
My next “surprise” was not really a surprise at all: a bill waiting for me from AT&T. Many of you might already have read about my trials and tribulations involving our relocation to Atlanta and the subsequent struggles with establishing utility service. Short version is that we tried to go with AT&T, decided to switch to Comcast for our phone, internet, and TV, and canceled AT&T back in June. Three phone calls and two bills later we were finally credited for charges on a service that was never connected, installed, and for equipment we returned having never removed from the box. Each time we got a bill, I had to call and explain the whole situation to people in two different departments, one for internet and one for home phone; I had to wait on hold in two different cues listening to two different yet equally cheesy elevator musak recordings. I had to listen to them each ask me how they could make me a “very satisfied AT&T customer?” Well, you’ve fucked up so bad that you can’t make me either satisfied or a customer. At this point, you couldn’t get me to use an AT&T payphone if my house was on fire.
It had really become comical after the string of encounters I’d had over the last few weeks, and the continuing ineptitude of every person I spoke with, all of whom had promised me that my account had been credited and there would be no more nonsense. And then I’d get another bill in the mail with no credit on the account and more charges for a phone that had never been used and an internet connection I don’t have. The truly maddening, yet humorous thing here is that each time I explained the situation to a new person who promised to take care of my problem, they were increasingly incensed and apologetic at the incompetence of the one previous, yet they proceeded to fuck things up even worse than the last guy. This last woman told me I would receive one final bill on the 25th of this month that she promised would show a zero balance and effectively end the romance. I just know that, come the 27th or so, I will receive that bill, and there will be new charges, probably billing me for the Space Shuttle disaster in 1986 and for plugging the spill in The Gulf of Mexico.
And lastly, on a note of not-so-small-triumph over mindless bureaucracies, we finally received our garbage can this past week. While this may not send you into rapturous celebration as it did us, it is still a big deal. We have been in our house since mid-June and have gone back and forth between smuggling our bags of garbage into our neighbor’s cans after nightfall, and putting the tied-up bags of trash at the curb where they needed to be vigilantly guarded from marauding animals lest they be torn open in pursuit of tasty rib bones and fish skin from our dinners that week. I can now retire my ski mask and gloves, as the night missions of sneaking into other driveways on the block are now behind me. The three of us were debating who would get the great honor of rolling our shiny new green bin out to the curb in the morning, probably having to run the gauntlet of paparazzi along the Red Carpet asking us “How does it feel to finally get your can?” or “Were you surprised at how long it took?”
Actually, I was so used to depending on the tender mercies of our neighbors that I forgot to even roll the damn thing out until I was coming back from walking the dog and saw the truck coming up the street. Maya and I raced them home, I rolled the can out past Joan Rivers sticking a mike in my face and asking “Who are you wearing?” to get it to the curb just before they arrived at the house. It was a madhouse, and the scene looked something like this: