It’s a shame to write only when one is irritated. Do it often enough and you will earn the designation, “curmudgeon.” I am, at the moment, highly irritated and I am writing. But I promise not to make it a habit.
Abilene is not really a small town, but sometimes it seems to be. One would think that most things would be readily available here, especially medical supplies. We have a dozen or so listed in the phone book and so, I got on the phone and began calling to find a particular item I really needed today. I called several places, a couple of which did not have the item in stock but promised they could get it by the next day. I decided to keep calling around to see if I could find it in stock somewhere.
My first “hit” was a place called “Choice Medical Supply.” Yes, the lady told me, they had some in stock. “Great,” said I and hopped in the car to pick one up. It was not a short drive but not all that far either.
When I arrived, the lady I talked to on the phone led me into a room whose walls were lined with this and that. But when we came to the place where it should be…guess what…it wasn’t there!
“I thought it would be right there,” she said.
“You mean, when I called you didn’t check to see if it was really in stock?” said I with growing dismay.
“I’m sorry,” she offered, “I thought we had some.”
“Look,” I said, “that’s the reason I called ahead so that I wouldn’t make a useless journey!”
“So sorry,” she said, “it’s my fault.”
At that moment, some language I learned long ago in the oil field came to mind. I wanted to say, “You’re (fill in the blanks here) right! It sure as (blank) isn’t my fault!” But, keeping in mind certain biblical injunctions regarding a Christian’s speech, I simply stalked out.
Returning to the car, I consulted a phone book we keep there for situations such as this, and called some additional suppliers. I kept striking out until one person told me that “West Texas Rehab” would be my best bet. Since it was on my way home, I stopped in. The very kind and polite lady there said they had sold their supply business and it was now “Travis Medical.” She offered to call for me and, wonderful news, they had one! It was two-thirds of the way back to “Choice Medical” but I was so happy to have found what I needed that I willingly and joyfully drove to their place.
In spite of having difficulty finding their location, I arrived in high spirits. “We called a few minutes ago, looking for (the elusive item),” I said, flashing my best smile.
“Oh yes,” the man jovially responded, “it is right over….well, I thought it was there.”
“Oh no!” I said, my smile turning to a look of horror. “We called,” I cried, “you said you had one!”
“I thought we did but it turns out it was this thingy,” he said lamely (the “thingy” bears little resemblance to what I was after).
“But that’s the reason I called ahead!” I responded with growing anger. I looked for a table or something to turn over and drive everyone out with a cord of whips. In the end, I simply walked out with slumped, defeated shoulders.
Finally, all hope of imminent success gone, I called one of the other medical suppliers who had promised they could have one by the next day.
“Should be here between 10 and 11 in the morning,” she said.
“Are you sure?” I asked with trembling voice and a tear threatening to form.
“I’m sure,” she said confidently.
As you might guess, dear reader, I’ll believe it when I touch it.