Joy Personified



While out in the world this week, I witnessed more than a few folks who seemed to be quite frazzled by the holidays. A couple of them were certainly over-stressed, and on the verge of blowing a gasket. A few others were keeping it together, but the effort to achieve that looked something like “Frank Costanza” screaming “Serenity now!” Not good, folks.


In the face of all that, I decided I wanted to maintain my own sense of calm and to that end, I actively chose to embody Joy. I couldn’t have made a better decision for myself. People wearing stressful grimaces saw me and smiled, most of them saying something nice and friendly. Hell – the parking attendant at Whole Paycheck had the driver in front of me circle around the lot so that I could have the primo spot by the door. (This is L.A., so yes – we have parking attendants at our overpriced grocers.) And for me – all of that was great!


But maybe the best feeling was reserved for the few moments when I didn’t have a conniption fit over someone else’s bad driving. Instead, I smiled at the person and made nice. Never mind the smile being fake. It kept me calm, and it kept me centered.


By the time I was pulling into the driveway of the new pad, I was beaming and saying, “I AM Joy!” And I meant it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying my little experiment will work for you, but it sure was nice for me.

Serenity Now!



Have you ever attempted to take care of a simple task, only to have it turn into an inexplicable, monumental snow-storm of a battle? No? Me, neither. Until now.


The largest part of moving is made of up small details. Like utilities and service installations. As Mister and I are old-school, we like having land-line phone service. We regularly use a land-line, and we like the security of knowing it’s there, in case of satellite outage.


Anyhoo, in our area of SoCal, the only land-line game in town is AT & T. (They’re one of the only land-line providers left in the US, period.) We knew what we wanted. It shouldn’t have been complicated. No bells. No whistles. Just an ordinary phone line.


What ensued was the most ridiculous experience imaginable. If I said I couldn’t tell you how many times I had to go through the details of the simple service I was requesting, I’d be lying. Because friends, I know exactly how many times I had to go through it: 11. That’s right. I had to talk to 11 different people over the course of 2 hours and 41 minutes. That is not a misprint.


I was told one thing only to have that information negated by a different rep. I was promised something by one employee, only to be told otherwise by another. The lack of consistency caused me to roll my eyes so much it hurt. The bait-and-switch tactics were another matter entirely. Yes, AT & T is a monopoly. But does that give them the right to illegal business practices? I think we all know the answer to that one.


As of right now, I do have a service appointment scheduled. Whether or not it takes place on the date I requested remains to be seen. Whether or not we end up with a land-line at all remains to be seen. For if I’ve learned anything during my waste of 2 hours and 41 minutes, it is that I cannot trust AT & T personnel to tell the God’s honest truth. Frankly, they probably wouldn’t know what to do with the truth if it bit them in the badonkas.


It may seem I’m in a bit of a tizzy over all this, but I’m not. It’s been a chore, and I sincerely hope it all goes down as it’s supposed to, but I’m actually pretty calm about it. And do you know why? Television. You see, while I was dealing with all those AT & T reps, I kept thinking of “Frank Costanza” from Seinfeld. In my mind, I heard “Frank” screaming “Serenity Now!” And I was mentally screaming, right along with him. Even as I was receiving some of the worst customer service on the planet, I was smiling.


When I move, I can live without a phone. I cannot live without TV.