Service People, We Are at Your Mercy!


I’m sitting here trapped in the “Two-hour Window”. It feels more like a window-well too deep for me to escape. I know this is a far cry from the six hour windows we used to suffer, but two hours these days feels like an eternity. Think of all the things we COULD be doing!! Checking email! Returning calls! Mailing stuff! Writing a blog! Wait… I’m doing that.

I await a new energy-efficient washer/dryer set. The fact that I am rather excited about this would lead to a blog post of a more psychological nature, but what I’d rather address is service people. I recently had a nine-foot sliding glass door installed, and naturally that day the temperatures dipped and snow moved in, much more snow than the weatherman predicted. But faithfully the installers arrived and removed the old door that I had once witnessed actually allowing snowflakes to blow IN to my house. Blessedly, the wind stopped while I had a nine-foot hole in my house, and the new door went in without a hitch. I was so troubled by the adverse conditions in which the men were working I made them hot chocolate. With marshmallows. I think they looked at each other and whispered, “Mom.” That is fine – I’d rather that than have them freeze to death trying to spare me a few bills in energy costs.

A few days later, I received a call from the “home store” asking if I would take a survey regarding the process of the installation. I complimented the gentlemen on their speed, efficiency, and clean-up of the debris, and of course threw in the part about the hot chocolate. The survey conductor laughed like I am sure he had not laughed all day. “Service people enduring a blizzard need to be treated well!” I remarked. I know I wouldn’t be so quick to stand out in temperatures like that.

Which brings me to the point. I have a healthy respect for service people. You should, too. Would YOU do their job? Probably not. Freezing temperatures, broiling heat, wind, rain, traffic, not-so-nice pets, high voltage, gas lines, wild-life, politicians (same thing)… These people endure it all. My brother is a lineman for the electric company in California and he will not even tell me some of the things he has seen because it would cause nightmares. I couldn’t do his job, not in a million years.

I couldn’t do the job of the men (hopefully arriving soon) who are about to take away my old appliances and replace them with new ones weighing a couple of hundred pounds. I fully admit I am not physically capable. I couldn’t hook them up unless I opted to study some YouTube videos or something. I do not possess that kind of knowledge, and I know I am at their mercy for it.

But this is how society works – those who do not possess the know-how are at the mercy of those who do. We have delusions of being self-sufficient, but think back to the last time something broke in your world. Could YOU have fixed it? Probably not. I know I just drive my car. If something goes wrong, I will happily fork over the money to fix it because I can’t do it. Same thing with ANY of the technology I use, even down to my washing machines.

This symbiotic relationship we have with service people who can help us keep our lives on track is a thing of beauty, if you really think about it. They know they make money off of our learned-helplessness; we know we keep them in business by not being self-made Renaissance men and women. We get back to our buzy-ness, and they make a comfortable living.

And so it goes. We call them to fix our broken worlds. We call them at all hours of the day. We call them in all kinds of weather. And they arrive in a two-hour window.