Now I know how she felt

I nearly stabbed someone yesterday, it’s true.

When we moved in to our new Brooklyn apartment, we got Cablevision hooked up, for cable TV, Internet, and phone. I mean, I don’t give a shit about having a landline number, but getting it makes the bundle cheaper than just having TV and Internet, so whatever.

But I give so little a shit about it that in our last apartment, in Providence, we didn’t even have a phone plugged in. We had a number we never used and actually couldn’t use. But here, we have a couple of reasons to have a landline, so I bought a cheap cordless phone yesterday and plugged it in.

About an hour later, the phone rang. I was so startled by the novelty of this, that I actually grabbed the phone without thinking. I checked the caller ID and saw it was some sort of energy company.

Here, you can choose from any of a number of companies vying hard to supply your power. ConEd gets the power to your house, but ConEd isn’t necessarily the company supplying the power. They’re UPS bringing an Amazon package to your door.

So the call was from someone trying to get me to change my power supplier. And I couldn’t get this guy off the phone. When I answered the phone, Julian was awake, in his crib, and happily chattering. As the call went on, he got crankier and crankier, and eventually was just openly screaming. And I still couldn’t get this guy off the phone. (I’m not good at just hanging up on people.) He wanted to know who was currently supplying my power; I didn’t know. Would I find my bill and tell him? No, I don’t know where it is.

He told me, at this point, that I needed to put down the phone and find the bill. He didn’t ask, he ordered. I carried the phone into the bedroom and let the baby scream at him, and then I said, “Look, I need to take care of my child, and I don’t have time to dicker with you about this.” Then I hung up on him.

I picked up the baby and calmed him, and as I was doing so, the doorbell rang. I answered the door, and there was a representative from a different power supplier, asking me to find my bill so he could tell me how much I’d save by switching.

Yes, two of them within about five minutes. I closed the door in his face and made sure it was locked.

It reminded me of something that happened about 18 years ago. I was out of work and desperate for any sort of job. I went out for a position at a progressive social-action network. They wanted people to canvas neighborhoods, gathering signatures on petitions and soliciting donations. Part of the application process was to spend an evening shadowing a team of canvassers. I approached one door, and rang the bell. I immediately heard a dog, inside, begin to bark and then a baby begin to wail.

A woman yanked the door open, screamed at me for waking up the baby, and slammed the door in my face. Now I finally understand her rage.

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