Every time something needs to be repaired, dread dances near to me, ready to cut in on my partner of the moment: discombobulation, envy, absurdity, fantasy, impatience, or cruel irony are my usual dance card
entrées. Not willing to deal with that, I procrastinate; write it on my exponential “to do” list. I indulge in self-pity; I implore the usual saints. Eventually, I resign myself to the impending repair, not without a spiritual chorus of “I’m Gone to Sell This F**king House and Get an Apartment.” With a substantial intake of breath, I open the Yellow Pages and search the text of hellishly organized categories. Next, I brace myself for The Reading of the Names and Ads. I used to hire a repair person by studying the ads but then questions arose to confuse me.
Should I select the one with the largest ad? After all, that would be the most costly, so this person must be doing well—lots of happy customers. Then again, it could mean the person isn’t doing well and needs a big ad. And what to make of those who have no ad? Does that mean, “I have so many customers I don’t need to advertise” or “I had to refund so much money, I don’t have enough to buy an ad.” When I feel particularly memory-challenged, I choose one whose phone number is the easiest to remember. In a couple of years, I’ll be able to narrow the field choosing amongst those who mention the two magic words “senior discounts.” Not that it really matters. Whomever I choose will examine that which is in need of repair and begin the inescapable recitation.
After taking a deep breath, the repair person shaking his head announces “Whoever did this job did it all wrong”. I begin to swear knowing I’m powerless to prevent the next chilling assessment. “This is such a mess, I don’t think I can fix it, even if I could fix it, nobody sells this part anymore. In the long run, you’d be better off having the whole thing completely redone. My pained expression makes me a little defensive, “Hey, I’m just given the two straight lady, Sure you might get someone in hidden fix it cheaper
But you’d be asking for trouble down the road. I ain’t telling ya. I’m just sayin’ what to do. Overwhelmed, I assure him I’ll think about it and get back to him. He walks to the door but just before leaving delivers his trump card: “Don’t wait too long cuz pretty soon—it’ll be in the busy season and you may not be able to get me back.” I sit, felled by my usual after-the-estimate funk. Apparently, I’d hired a spate of idiots for the past repairs.
This Blame Your Predecessors is not limited to household repairs. Players appear in diverse places and though the words may vary, the basic message is the same:
“Geez, whose been doing your hair? see all this? I’m going to have to cut that out—it’s pretty much dead”
Who put this in? (Choose one: transmission, brake pads, engine, air filter etc.)
Who prescribed this medication? I hope you haven’t been on a too long? You really should have come to me first.
Maybe I’m blowing this all out of proportion But, I’ll promise you this. If my new lover peers into my vaginal canal and says, “Who was in here last? I honestly think he shifted something- I’m serious, the whole area is out of alignment,” I will smother him with my pillow, the one I undoubtedly bought from the wrong salesperson.