Dire Horizonless

posted 6 May 2003, 11PM | 6 Comments

The display on my cell phone has been going wiggy, so I decided to get it checked out by professionals. I went to the cell phone people on Ventura Blvd. When I arrived, only three employees and two customers were in the store. I stood in front of the customer service counter. I heard something about the sign-in clipboard, and added my name once I found it. I stood around, shuffling in place. My back hurt. It usually does. I looked at new cell phones, better than mine, with their color displays, trippy face-plates and flip-tops. I looked at the blotchy red map of the US on the wall, part of an ad poster about long-distance coverage. More people waddled into the store and added their names to the list. A pretty girl with nice sneakers walked in, made eye-contact with me, made eye-contact with the sign-in sheet, and left. A stout man wanted to reactivate his phone, but only one of the five computers in the store had the power to do that sort of thing, and apparently it was in use. He scowled some, and rubbed his balding head. I played with the Automated Bill Payment Machine, but didn't pay my bill. The machine beeped too much. The music reel on the P.A. was not good. I thought about Avril Lavigne and how much she sucks, even though she can sing and has a pretty mouth. 700 peak minutes is a lot of minutes, I thought outloud. What would I do with them? The balding blue-collar fellow was growing impatient, but he was quiet about it. Finally, they began to call names. I fingered pamphlets, looking at the shape of service agreement fine print in different european languages. This hipster valley mother-daughter Gilmore-Girls type combo asked me how long I'd been waiting. I told them I could barely remember my own name in this place, and they laughed. I pretended to be zoned out, to amuse them. I was atracted to both of them. That never happens. Funny, that. Together we riffed on the dreariness of the room and incompetence of the employees with a comforting irony. I had taken to choreographing my jimmy-leg shuffle: back forth, back forth left right repeat. Does new Jewel suck worse than old Jewel? It is an impressively reinvented suckiness. I looked at phone spec sheets and wondered how much wireless web goes for these days. The carpet looked sterile. Eventually young Dustin came to help me, tomato hair, Listerine tie and all. He read my name off of the clipboard. He quickly produced a phone identical to my Kyocera 2235, and promised to transfer my contacts to the new unit. He hooked it to a Windows machine, making that muffled bleep-blip sound. A lovely brown-haired girl smiled at me, to my suprise. Multiple people were trying out multiple ring-tones, in a cacauphony of discomfort. A customer who had just left returned in a huff, pissed off at the dark-skinned female employee who had activated her second phone. "Do you understand what you're doing? You carried my phone over there without telling me anything. Nothing! And now the contact lists on BOTH phones are blank!" The employee tried to calmly explain, but the woman kept cutting in, impatient and upset. She had a small band-aid just below her right eye. "I am just very disappointed," she said.

We were all disappointed. Eventually I floated outstride down Ventura, poking at the new piece of hardware, already familiar in shape and texture, already filled with the names and numbers of the people in my life. The replacement was free on warranty, but after 61 minutes in the store with only 52 minutes on the meter, the trip cost me one $35 parking ticket. I'm going to contest the ticket by writing down small lies and mailing them to the government.

There are 6 Comments


7 May 03 at 01:58PM Matt said:

Dude, that sounds SO much like my typical day.


7 May 03 at 02:16PM ryan said:

you spend a lot of time hanging out at the Verizon Wirless shop on Ventura Blvd? Or is all tech support the same, boring wating process, even at Harvard?


7 May 03 at 03:32PM Shaun said:

Small lies to the government are the best lies to the government. The government has big lies, bigger than us, but it is big, so the small lies, still big, may be small or big, depending on perspective. Written down, all lies are small, except the Big Lie, and that's just a lot of small lies together, like that old story -- you know the one? -- of the father whose sons were always fighting, so he grabbed some sticks and broke them. That was a lie too, but I don't know if it was small or big -- maybe medium. Certainly it wasn't to the government, even though I first read the story (a lie) in a government building (a school). Written down.


7 May 03 at 09:19PM Adam said:

Frighteningly familiar to my escapades to Cingular Wireless in Wichita... scary. They always seem impatient when I have a problem; I'm not that dumb.


8 May 03 at 07:14AM dave said:

1. Avril sucks. I read an article the other day saying in ten years, we'd look back on Avril as the Anti-Britney. Why, because she wears a tie and wristbands? I can produce a picture of Britney wearing a tie and a wristband. That don't prove shit. I'm more of an anti-Britney than Avril will EVER be. I'm an overweight bearded guy who can't dance or sing. Well I can sing. So I guess I'm still the opposite of Britney.
2. New Jewel CANNOT suck more than Old Jewel. Even if you thought she was twice as bad now, I present the following evidence to the contrary:
200% of Zero = Zero


8 May 03 at 09:59AM ryan said:

it's hard to argue with your math, yes.

i like the idea of major labels trying to market you as the anti=britney, dave. in fact, we may have to make a short movie about that when I'm home in June....

In 10 years we'll look back on Avril Lavigne as another part of the machine.

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