Monday, December 28, 2009

sometimes, you have to earn these things...

I drove back to San Francisco yesterday sad to leave the cozy comfort of my parents' home in Mill Valley. But at least, I figured, my place in the Mission will be a little less ghetto with this fabulous new flat screen from Santa!
Finding a Christmas parking miracle in front of my home, I unloaded my Christmas loot and 3 days worth of dress up clothes and promptly unplugged the old television. I cut open the box containing my new TV and got to work. My brother assured me the whole thing would take 5 minutes, so I glanced at the instructions, got the jist and started screwing things together.
A flat screen on a stand has 3 pieces: the stand, the monitor and the thing that holds them together. From henceforth, the thing that holds the monitor to the stand will be known as The Thing. Anyway, I screwed The Thing to the monitor first. I quickly discovered I should've screwed The Thing to the stand first.
No problem, I figured. Oh me and my excitement. I've just got to unscrew these 4 little screws and start over.
Screw number 1 connecting the monitor to The Thing came out. So did screw number 2. Screw number 3 took a little while, but eventually, out it popped. But that screw number 4 was taking forever. It just twirled and twirled.
Maybe it's gravity, I thought. I tilted the monitor back and unscrewed from underneath it. I tapped it, I jiggled it. I screwed the screw back in and then started unscrewing again. The minutes turned into an hour. The flat screen was at times balanced on my feet, in the hopes that the screw would finally twirl out and fall on my face. I tried tweezers, tape, swearing.
Still, it just twirled and twirled, never to fully release from it's plastic prison.
I'd spent hour on one screw. The screw didn't even do that much, functionality speaking. It was one measly quarter of the screws needed to hold the monitor onto The Thing. The real issue was screwing The Thing to the stand, something I couldn't do until I got this goddamn screw out.
My blood boiled. My heart thumped. I took frustrated, deep, angry breaths. It was ridiculous and horrific. All I wanted was this beautiful new television to work. It was supposed to be so easy. But I had skimmed the instructions. And now I was stuck.
As I do in any crisis, I called Melissa. I don't remember the voicemail I left her, but apparently it was quite something. Minutes later, she called me back and for reasons I found unnecessary, she made me explain exactly what had happened with this screw. On and on I went about The Thing and the stand and my skimming of the instructions. I finally took photos of the whole scene, including close-ups of the stuck screw and emailed them to her.
She emailed back, "Dale and I will be over in 20 minutes."
Oh dear.
During this time, my very sweet roommate John had emerged, observed the issue, tried to help and kinda shrugged his shoulders, agreeing that I'd done everything conceivable to unscrew The Thing from the monitor.
By the time Melissa got there, she marched through the front door, pushed John out of the way, threw a Nob Hill Gazette at me and said, "Distract yourself."
She and Dale were on the living room floor and they'd brought their own tools. It was all very dramatic.
"We have a plan A, plan B and plan C!" Dale beamed.
2 hours later, the three of us looked at each other. "I think I should just take it in to Best Buy."
"But I hate admitting defeat!" said Melissa.
"I know. But this is ridiculous."
Dale suggested I go to an old, dusty hardware store. He trusted an overall clad old-timer more than a Best Buy polo shirt. And I could see his point. But I don't know of any hardware stores
and it's Sunday evening and... "No, you guys." I said. "I'll just take it to Best Buy. There's one a few blocks away."
I was sad, defeated, so frustrated I could barely stand it.
In unison, Mel and Dale said, "We're coming with you."
"No, no, no. You don't have to do that." I lied. But my God, how I wanted them to come with me. Carrying a television alone into a Best Buy 2 days after Christmas struck me as the most depressing thing that could ever happen to anyone.
So Dale pulled around his car, loaded in the TV, Melissa and I piled in and 5 minutes later, the three of us were walking into the Best Buy on Harrison. I watched Dale and Melissa hold my giant television demanding to know where the repair area was and almost cried. There are limits to friendship, things even your family won't do. Carrying this flat screen all over the Mission district on the Sunday after Christmas sucked and I may be in best-friendship with the only broad who will do it.
We waited in line at the Geek Squad desk, Dale standing there
holding this flat screen and Melissa pointing out which shoppers might be pedophiles. Watching the Best Buy polo shirts take their sweet ass time had me rethinking my decision to forgo the old-timey hardware store.
These people don't care about us, I thought. They'll charge me $100 and give me a lecture on how I screwed in a screw wrong and ruined a brand new television. Dale leaned in and over the top of the television, he whispered, "This is like the DMV!"
Eventually, someone offered to take the television to the desk while we waited.
"Okay, when we get to the front, who's going to talk?" I was nervous, actually afraid of what was going to happen It had been too many hours, this was too big a favor, I love my television watching way too much.
"Well Beth." Dale said. "I will try humor and charm. And when that doesn't work, we're going to use your boobs."
And with that, it was our turn. I think we all spoke at once. I don't really remember. It was all a blur. Day was turning to night outside, I was surrounded by hundreds of people buying video games and the 2 lawyers who had brought me to Best Buy were being very animated in their explanation of the screw and The Thing and the television.
One member of the Geek Squad picked up the television, another grabbed a screw driver.
"Like we never tried that." Melissa rolled her eyes.
One member of the Geek Squad jiggled The Thing, another unscrewed the screw.
"Oh my God."
"Holy shit."
"They did it."
We were beside ourselves with our love for Edward of the Geek Squad who acted like this was no big deal. I asked Edward to marry me, and unsurprisingly, he declined. Dale asked to sing his praises to the manager.
"I am the manager." Edward deadpanned.
"Of course you are." We gushed. "As you should be."
As we got in the car, the flat screen now firmly attached t the stand via The Thing screwed in correctly, Dale announced, "I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to say that I am in love with Edward."
Not to be outdone, Melissa and Dale brought that flat screen back to my house and set the whole thing up. The cable, the DVD player, the distribution of wires and cords. It's all immaculate, functional, even the remote.
"What time did you start this, Beth."
"I left my folks' at noon, so 12:45, I guess."
"Awesome. Guess what time it is?"
It was 5:45.
It took 5 full hours to install a 3 piece television and plug it in. 5 hours, 2 lawyers, 100 stifled tears, 3 emailed photos and 1 trip to Best Buy all because I got the "jist" of the instructions instead of, well, reading them.
But we did it.
My best friend Melissa Griffin saved my life(style.)
I finally settled in to watch my first show alone, after Mel and Dale had left and my roommate went out to afford me the privacy of de-virginizing my new TV. I took a moment to fully relax, let go of my frustration and appreciate how great my new TV makes my living room look.
Then I turned it on.
And the first channel I turned to was just announcing what was on next. As if a sign from heaven, one more gift from God, a huge reward for the hell in getting this television to work, THIS WAS ON...


Melissa Griffin said...

If you had heard that voicemail...dear Lord, I thought we'd find you trying to end it all with a Bic Classic Lady Shaver.

Anonymous said...

A great tale well told. You've got he best pals a gal could ever hope for, Beth. And then Patty Hearst! (I was in love with her once.) tp

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Seems like Melissa and Dale are the go-to folks when ass-kicking is required.

By the way, I think some remuneration from NyQuil and Bic Classic Lady Shavers is in order.

generic said...

Who is this Lawyer Dale and what are his ass-kicking credentials? Is he Mel-G's beau? Does he have an IMDB page? Characters are being introduced to the narrative without any backstory.

Beth Spotswood said...

Dale is a brilliant and funny counsel to the stars and international jet-setter currently wooing Mel-G and occasionally entertaining me. My mother described him as the nice young man with the very firm handshake. Dale is currently getting his Masters at OXFORD, which might explain his sporadic appearances. And yes, when studying he wears robes, a la Harry Potter.
(The above is my description, not his.)
I apologize for springing him on you. Perhaps you noticed him from afar at the DEATH MATCH.
Dale is very nice. Obviously...

Anonymous said...

Oh! Dale of the publicist imbroglio? Awesome. Does NL call to hang with Dale when visiting England?

generic said...

Wow, that is a much, much better character bio than I could have hoped for. I thought it was gonna be some random SF law firm dude who Melisszzzzzzzzzzz ... you know?

I hope the Harry Potter robes help him get in the Griffin-door. (Sorry. Had to.)

Anonymous said...

I know this is too late but a lot of times when assembling something with lot of screws, you leave the tightening for the last. Tightening them down as you go eliminates the slop room that all the other screws need for proper seating.

Next I'll look forward to your critique of widescreen TVs vs the various "widescreen" offerings on TV.

Big Jer! said...

thank you GENERIC! Yes, I too was excited/confused/intrigued at the introduction of characters! The BETH narrative always keeps me entertained, but I have to keep up!
Thanks for the info, beth! Sorry to be so nosey!