And then Wife and I experienced an enormous problem in our back yard. Some idiot meter maid left one of the back fence gates open. Chester escaped. Fortunately, Wife saw him on the wrong side of the fence before he got too far, and he's perfectly safe. I'm glad it wasn't Moose playing outside, or else it's pretty likely he would have run away and gotten lost and/or killed by a car. Your typical six-year-old would tell you the gate is open, or he would know that cars are inherently dangerous to pedestrians. Mine would not. Our house is practically a fortress, and we've spent a chunk of money making it as such (the new fence, deadbolt locks on every door with the keys out of reach, etc. etc.). But when an idiot enters the system, it quickly all goes to hell.
This action of course prompted me to make phone calls to all our utility companies to see if they could put a note on our record to close the gates when they check the meters in the back yard. For the most part they were compliant, and even apologetic, for any angst they may have caused. Most understood the importance of why I was calling without my having to explain it. It was encouraging.
However, customer service at My Phone Company was provided by idiotic humanoids. The conversations went something like this:
And then she cheerily transferred me to the repair department, for whom I waited about ten minutes. He then brilliantly transferred me back to Customer Service again after not being able to help me. I finally spoke with someone who had a brain cell and got the damn note placed on the account. And then I re-checked the status of the gates before I collapsed in exhaustion.
"Your Phone Company's customer service center, how may I help you?" she asked.
"Hi. I have a special-needs child at home, and we have a fenced in back yard to keep him, and our dog, safe. A gate was left open today; I'm not sure by whom, but my dog escaped. So, I'm calling all of my utility companies to ask if it is possible to have a general note placed on my account indicating that the gates must remain closed at all times if they enter our yard to do routine work. Can you help me with this sort of thing?" I asked, courteously.
"No, but I can transfer you to someone who can," she replied, happily. Why did this make her happy?
"Great, that would be helpful. Thank you," I said.
"OK, but before I transfer you, I see in your file that you are eligible for a random free upgrade to a cell phone package you neither want nor need. Shall I get one of these phones to you in the mail within 2 business days for you?" she asked, sounding too cheery for my taste.
"No thank you. I am not interested in upgrading any of my services. I am calling to get a note placed on my account in order to protect my son from escaping from our back yard," I said, slowly losing patience.
"OK, is there a reason why you do not want to upgrade your services?" she questioned.
"No (are you kidding me??). I am perfectly satisfied with my phone service. As I said, I am not calling to upgrade my services. I am calling to have a note placed on my account regarding my back fence so that my autistic child does not get abducted or killed by a car." My tone was no longer courteous.
"OK, but before I transfer you: Have I answered all of your questions today?" she asked, perkily.
"No, you have not (and you are dumb as a post)."
You can't deny that my priorities are in line. Securing those gates was far more important than progress on the dissertation. I'm pretty thankful I was home today, actually. Guess I need to have three signs made that indicate something to the effect of: "Close the Gate Behind You, Moron." If you have any suggestions for how the signs should read, I'm all ears.