Waiting for the Repairman

Have you seen the one-panel cartoon by Dave Coverly? There’s a caveman sitting on his haunches by a fire that has burned out in his cave. Across the burned-out fire from him is his wife. He says to her, “The guy with two rocks said he’d be here to restart the fire between 10:00 and 4:00.”

It’s true. Ever since prehistoric times, long before people could even tell time, people have been waiting for the repairperson to show up, which also accounts for why many people say, “Where is that Neanderthal?” The other questions, of course, are these. Did the guy with the two rocks ever learn to tell time? Did his repairperson descendants learn how to tell time? If so, why isn’t my repairperson here yet? Do you think he’ll bring both rocks? I hope so. I might miss him with the first one. IT’S NOT LIKE I HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN WAIT!

I, myself, find it difficult to get too upset with repairpersons. Guesstimating how long this or that repair will take, and how long it will take to get through traffic, and how long it will take to go fetch the part that for some reason he doesn’t have on his truck is an inexact science. Plus, many business owners are stretching all their workers thin, not just repairpersons. Seems like there is more work than any worker in any business can get around to in a normal shift. It’s so bad that Jeff Bezos’ warehouse workers get behind and in trouble if they simply need to take a bathroom break during their 12-hour shift. It’s called Amazon.com because there is no time for Amazon.john. They’re too busy filling orders (including adult diapers) and dodging spy drones.

Things aren’t any better with that other sort of repairperson known as a doctor. Doctors are repairpersons, right? Or at least we hope they are. I’m sure they wouldn’t admit to being anything like the washing-machine and air-conditioner repairpersons who keep us waiting at home, but it is obvious by the way they keep us waiting in their waiting rooms that they belong to the same union, the ILWU, the International Longwait and Waitingroom Union.

And since ophthalmologists now do this sneaky maneuver of making you wait in two different waiting rooms – one before getting your eyes dilated and one after – year after year they are the ILWU Repair Persons of the Year!

There are things you can do to amuse yourself in waiting rooms. You can look at the dates on the magazines and try to figure out who was President when they were published. If it’s a really large waiting room, lots of patients, you can start a waiting-room pool and bet a dollar as to whom the nurse is going to call to an exam room next.

Or this one works well. You can pull out your cellphone and make a pretend call in the presence of the other patients. Say, “Hi, hon. Didn’t the doctor say that this is a highly contagious disease?…Yeah, I thought so too…But the receptionist has me sitting out here in the waiting room with all these other patients.” (Lower your voice at this point. Believe me, everyone is still hanging on  your every word.) “I’d hate for them to come down with it, but I guess the receptionist knows what she’s doing…And I will need you to come get me. I just keep feeling worse and worse. ” This last time-killer can clear the waiting room and get you in to see the doctor faster than usual.

And one thing you can do at home while waiting for the refrigerator repairman is drive to Barnes and Nobles, if it is still open, hopefully, and buy a copy of Refrigerator Repair for Dummies. Drive back home, read it, and if Jeff Bezos’ delivery drones are as fast as he says they are, there’s a good chance the part will arrive and you can fix the refrigerator yourself before the repairman gets there!





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