I was all set to raise some serious hell.
I was preparing to do battle with my cable company and I had a chip on my shoulder, my nose out of joint, a bee in my bonnet and a massive bug up my ass.
For months I have been struggling to get my remote control to function properly, but things were only getting worse.
I had to press down on the buttons until my thumb ached, but I could barely change the channels.
Certain channels wouldn’t come up at all, so I got into the habit of
I couldn’t get the Sundance Channel, for example, so I went to NY1’s Spanish language station and then clicked downward.
While it was nice to hear the weather report in Spanish, I still wanted to watch my “Law & Order” reruns.
But the very worst part of all this cropped up when I tried to watch TV shows I had recorded and I couldn’t fast-forward through the commercials.
The whole point of getting the damn DVR was to spare myself from watching all those tedious ads for drugs, hair replacement, and that awful Kars 4 Kids jingle.
Now I want to state right here that I have no doubt that Kars 4 Kids is a fine program that raises funds to help needy children.
If I ever own a car again I’ll be sure to donate the thing to them once I’m done with it. But I really dislike their commercial.
I reacted to this remote control misery in my usual manner: I cursed and whined and swore I’d do something about it and proceeded to do nothing but curse and whine some more.
Finally, I’d had enough. My hand was turning into a hook from all the strain and I was running out of obscenities. I decided to call the cable company.
I had convinced myself that these money-grubbing bootlickers were going to refuse to replace my remote control unit. They’ve never been the most cooperative outfit in town and I geared up for a titanic telephonic donnybrook.
I was going to skewer the hapless underling who answered my call, demand to speak to his or her supervisor then insist on being connected to the head of the damn company.
Hell, I was ready to go to his house and throw the remote through his window if I had to.
“Hello, can I help you?” the customer service woman asked.
“Yes, my remote control isn’t working—”
“Would you like a new one?’
What? You’re not fighting with me? You’re not going to demand my life savings and one of my vital organs in return? What the hell’s going on here?
“Okay, we’ll send you one. It’ll take about three days. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
And that was it. I was all psyched up for a battle that never took place.
The remote arrived a short time later, I popped in the batteries and it works fabulously.
I can go to the exact channel I want and I can fast forward through all those commercials at light speed. It feels so strange to do all this without fuming and cursing.
This is a minor incident that underscores some major character flaws that I’ve been struggling with—and blogging about—for years.
I let problems go until they become unbearable. Then, fueled by resentment and repressed rage, I create combat scenarios and whip myself into a fury. And more often then not, it’s just wasted effort.
I completely invented this confrontation instead of letting reality dictate my reaction.
This might be hard to believe, but I honestly think I’m making some progress in this area, through mindfulness meditation, prayer, and journaling.
But I seem to slide back to my old ways when I’m tired, worried, or unwell.
I want to keep on improving. I want to change the channel on my anger and lower the volume of my rage, so that the only time I ever get angry is when I get my cable bill.