Eating Crow.

Not long ago I was in a little shop and saw the cutest kitchen hand towel that said this:

“Forgive me for the things I said when I was hungry”.

Well…today I was hungry and…

Actually, it wasn’t just that I was hungry.  I was hungry and I had to deal with a cell phone situation.  Trust me when I say that’s a particularly nasty combination.

I’ve made a short list of the top two things I despise having to deal with most in the whole wide world.  Having to upgrade my cell phone is number two.  I can’t think of anything right now to take the number one slot, but surely there must be something.  So, just in case, dealing with a cell phone will slide on in at number two.

For months now, I’ve been getting that annoying little message just when I want to take the coolest picture that ever has been taken.

“Cannot Take Photo.  There is not enough available storage to take a photo.  You can manage your storage in Settings”.

No.   I can’t.  That’s an untruth.  Because in Settings they tell you to add more storage in iCloud. I don’t really get Icloud–or is it iCloud?  But for only ninety-nine cents a month, I can roll, ya know?   And so I buy additional storage there because I’m at my wits end and I really want to take a picture. But still, I CANNOT TAKE A PHOTO!

It is right about here I want to throw the stinkin’ phone right out the window.

But instead, I listen to the words of my wise husband.

“Maybe it’s time for a new phone”, he says.  He informs me that I’ve been due an upgrade for some time now.

Okay, okay.  I guess if I must, I must.

And so it began.

Two days ago.

I drove to the phone store 45 minutes away.  I was feeling very grownup about handling this detail, because typically I get my husband to do it for me.  I’d appreciate it if you don’t judge me for that.

I arrive.

There is a sort of nervous/stressed/buzzing energy in the room as I look around at all the waiting people.  My name is taken and added to some list.  I find a seat on a little pleather stool and wait exactly 1.5 hours to speak with someone who knows about phones and upgrades and stuff. I waited patiently.  In fact, the sales associate kept thanking me for being so nice–so patient.  I said, “Oh please! Not a problem”.  And I meant it.  When I’m nervous/uncomfortable sometimes I’m overly nice, almost to the point where I might actually make people nauseous from the sweetness.

Yada, yada, yada.   You probably know the drill because you’ve probably been handling your phone like the grown-up that you are for some time now.  Not me, though.  I’m a newbie at this,  having just straightened myself from the fetal position.

So I ordered a phone.

The details of the transaction don’t really matter so much as the fact that after some research when I got home, I realized one aspect of the transaction seemed a little shady to me.  It smelled of scam. My imagination?  Maybe.  But I smelled a scam.

I called to cancel the phone I ordered.  No person could be reached.  Only machines.  I tried several times.  I left a voicemail and a text message with my sales associate.  Why don’t we call him Bob?  Bob the cell phone sales associate.  I came up empty-handed with all my attempts.  I got nothing.  No one will talk to me. Not even Bob, who told me I was nice to do business with.   I tried to pull up the website they gave me to register my old phone for trade-in. And here is what is said.

THIS PAGE NO LONGER EXISTS.  See?  It has “scam” written all over it.

Two days later–today– I make the 45 minute drive again to cancel in person.  I’m hungry, fueled only by caffeine.  My husband and I find a parking spot between the phone store and Walmart.  He goes after some headache remedy while I head the opposite way to tend to my business–the cell phone scam.   I walk into the store with my receipt to simply say “Cancel my order please”.  See how polite I planned to be?

Really.  That’s what I meant to say.  I did.

But then what happened next was right out of Romans chapter 7.

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

They ask me to put my name on a list–that the wait would be 45 minutes.  That’s when I told them I had already waited 1.5 hours only a few days ago, and I didn’t want to wait again.

“I just need to cancel my order,” I say in my inside voice–calling forth my best passive-aggressive self.

The sales associate says I’ll have to wait anyway.  The entire room of people go quiet and seem to be waiting in anticipation for my response.  And I didn’t disappoint.

No.  I won’t wait.  Here is my receipt, I say.  Just cancel my order.  The girl behind the counter stops with her current customer and says she’ll take my number and handle it.  The guy behind the counter says she can do what she wants but HE would make me take a number and wait.  The customer to my right looks at me with such disdain and I think I even hear her make a sound something like “phhuhh”.  At me!  The nice patient one…you know…from a few days ago.  No one has ever “phhuhh-ed” me to my face.  Ever.  My face feels hot.  And I’m hungry.

I give the sales associate my number to cancel my order.  Then I say thank you.  I distinctly remember saying thank you, ya know, because I’m polite that way.  Then I duck my head as I turn to go.

It is the walk of shame, as every eye is on me as I leave, or so it seems.  On me!  The one who is busier than all of them–too busy to take a number and wait.

You want to know what is worse than the walk of shame?  The walk of shame in slow motion. That’s what it feels like.

Come on, girl!  Only two more miles to go to make it out the door.  You can do it!

Outside it was a cool, crisp day.  I headed across the parking lot to Walmart to meet up with my husband, trying to turn the page on the great cell phone store debacle that had just transpired.  Maybe just focusing for a bit on some “rollback prices” would help me shake it off.


And I am still hungry.

We get in the car and begin to drive to lunch as I spill the whole sordid affair to my husband.   I told him about the “Phhuhh” lady and how she directed her disgust at me. Me!  “Can you believe it?” I say.  I just keep talking, and he just keeps listening.   I am the queen of justification as I keep trying to make myself be in the right.  No matter how hard I try, though, my arguments only sound weaker in my own ears.  Pitiful, really.

Poor, pitiful me. I should have stayed in my cell phone fetal position.

Finally I admit how bad I feel about it all.  “I’m not that girl,” I say.

“Today you were,” he said.

Ouch. No really.  OUCH!

“I’m going to have to go back in there, aren’t I?”.

He just raised his eyebrows as if to say, “It’s up to you”.

I know our lunch must have been delicious, but to me it tasted a lot like crow, and let me tell you that’s some pretty nasty stuff.

Third trip to the cell phone store.

I’m hoping all the customers that had been there a few hours ago are gone, but the store is still full of people. People waiting their turns.  They’re nice.  As opposed to me–the not-nice one.  As I walk in, the same female sales associate looks up at me with an alarming look on her face.

I quickly mouth the words, “I’m sorry”.

She motions for me to approach the counter.  She’s with a customer and she starts to say something and  I just reach out and lay my hand on hers and tell her how sorry I am for being so impatient earlier.  I told her I should have taken a number.  The guy behind the counter didn’t give me the time of day, but it’s okay.  I deserve that.  But the girl.  She shows such a lovely grace and gives me her card and says I could call her personal number if I have any other questions.

Here’s the crazy thing.  Just a few hours earlier, at my Sunday-morning Bible Study I had vowed I was going to try to go an entire day without saying one negative thing.  Things sure can go south quickly.  Oftentimes they do.

You know, it would seem that eating crow would leave a really foul taste in your mouth, and it does. Just for a bit.  But the aftertaste is sweet…like I just brushed with Crest Triple-Action Toothpaste, guaranteed to keep  my breath minty fresh for up to 12 hours.

Or until the next time I have to eat crow.