Another Red-Headed Stranger

I don’t know if it’s the pain or the pain medicine or not being able to workout or not being able to make any decisions about what’s happening next in my life, but I’ve been somewhat of an emotional wreck as of late.

I’ve felt awful about the burden I’ve placed on my family, so I thought taking them to a Willie Nelson concert in Midland would be a fun change of scenery for all of us. It turned out that my body wasn’t ready for even a short road trip. I got sick, and we had to leave, not even halfway through the concert. I felt like a complete ass and sobbed apologies to my parents and older brother until I finally fell asleep in the back of the car.

I had to call my insurance company to get some clarification on a statement I had received, and I cried over the phone with the sweet agent on the other end of the line. I don’t know why. I just felt overwhelmed and couldn’t hold it in apparently. She obviously didn’t know what to say to the crazy lady crying on the other end of the line (me), but she tried to be positive and reassuring. I completely appreciated her being so nice and not hanging up on me, but all I could think to myself was, “How can I make myself stop crying long enough to just get the answers I need and crawl back under the covers…”

Fast forward a few hours, and the blue ray player that has been my connection to some semblance of sanity through this whole process (it streams Netflix and Hulu and provides hours of documentary, TV show, and movie watching entertainment…seemingly pathetic, but it is what it is), decided to start acting up. I was not feeling great but maybe okay enough for a quick trip to Best Buy to make the exchange.

Did you know that Best Buy has a 15 day return/exchange policy?? I didn’t either! So the first person to “help” me at the customer service desk was clearly a couple ants short of a picnic or just had zero interest of participating in the problem solving exercise in which I was trying to engage her. So I asked for a manager. A guy walked by wearing a Geek Squad tie and badge…yes, badge–like those plastic toy badges 4-year-olds wear on Halloween–and he identified himself as a “supervisor.” I told him that I had recently had surgery and was interested in getting out of there as quickly as possible because I was in quite a bit of pain. I told him I had no idea that they had a 15 day return/exchange policy and wondered if there was any wiggle room, considering that I had only purchased the thing 18 days before (3 days after their policy allows). He was rude and just an all-around jackass. I told him that I wasn’t an expert, but I knew that electronics were not supposed to stop working after less than 3 weeks of having made the purchase. He told me my only option was to have them send it to the manufacturer, which would take at least 2-3 weeks.

Fine…that’s the only option, “So, what do I need to do,” I asked the jerk…let’s call him Biff. “You’ll need to fill out the top three lines of this form,” Biff replied. It literally took me 13 seconds to fill it out, but Biff had vanished. I sat there…and sat there…and sat there. Twenty-five minutes had gone by, and even my sugary sweet mother was annoyed with this guy’s inconsiderate behavior. A nice guy behind the counter asked if there was anything he could do for me. I said, “Yes, please tell that asshole in the Geek Squad tie that he is the absolute worst supervisor I have ever encountered. Please also tell him that I will never be stepping foot in another Best Buy again, and it is his fault. Please understand I’m not mad at you, and none of this is your fault. But I am just completely shocked that this is the kind of person in a leadership position within this company.” The nice guy apologized profusely, and I continued to tell him that it wasn’t his fault as I crutched away from the counter.

I was visibly pissed and holding it together by a thread when this lovely angel with red hair walked by and asked if there was anything she could do for me. “Yes. Can you tell me if you guys have a comment box or there’s someone higher up than the jerk who just vanished after I told him that I just had surgery and wanted to get this taken care of quickly,” I asked her. She looked at me with a bit of shock on her face, and as she literally shook it off, she said “Absolutely, but can I maybe try to help you?” I told her that I would love it if she could. Her name was Amanda, and she was the manager. She walked us over to her register and even brought over a chair, so I wouldn’t have to stand any longer. I explained the situation to her, and she said it would be no problem to exchange the player. Within seconds, she was able to make that determination and change the entire dynamic of the trip to Best Buy. She worked quickly and efficiently but still managed to show more than a modicum of humanity and asked what kind of surgery I had. She was so sweet and so caring, and as I explained to her how they cut my shin bone and moved it over, then moved over my knee cap, cut the tendon on the outside of my knee to release my knee cap into the proper position, and reattached all my ligaments and tendons with a plate and two screws, I started crying. In the middle of Best Buy, for seemingly no reason at all, the water works started. Amanda put her hand on my shoulder and told me how sorry she was, and then she handed me her card and said if I ever needed anything I should contact her directly. I thanked her and told her that I just wanted to give her a hug for being so kind. When she walked away, I looked up at my mom and said, “What the hell is wrong with me?? I cried on the phone with the insurance lady this morning too!”
“Why did you cry on the phone with the insurance lady,” Mom asked me. “I have no idea. I was just asking her questions about the statement, and I was so confused, and I just started crying.”
She just looked at me and said, “It’s been a rough couple of days. Sometimes it’s okay to cry.”

I don’t like crying. I especially don’t like crying in public because stress or emotions or whatever have gotten the best of me. I don’t like not having the answers. As adventurous and “fly by the seat of my pants” as I can be, I don’t like not knowing. But maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to not have the answers. Maybe Mom is right–as unnatural and awful as it feels, sometimes, it’s just okay to cry…even if it’s in the middle of Best Buy or on the phone with the customer service representative at my insurance agency.