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Friday, November 11, 2005

She's A Lady, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, She's A Lady

My mother wanted to give me up for adoption. I told her, at the age of 33, it's too late. She is stuck with me. Last weekend I was over visiting. She wanted some basic maintenance done on her brand new computer. While I was at the helm, it crashed. No Blue Screen of Death, no slowly freezing screen, no warning. Complete crash and burn.

She looked at me like I had just killed her dog. Then she went into the denial phase.

"It just needs a rest. Keep it turned off for a few minutes. It'll be fine."

"Mom, it won't be fine. It won't even start up in safe mode. It's fried."

Wide-eyed, she nearly convinced herself, "No, honey, it can't be fried. It's new."

She called my sister Angie and her boyfriend Papa Roach to see if they could help. She handed the phone to me. I relayed all the techie crap. I tried the things they told me to, but nothing worked. The two of them came over to help.

Papa Roach is a computer geek. Even he couldn't get it started. He called Best Buy, where my mother had bought it a month earlier. They were no help. Their Geek Squad blows hard drives. My mom paid an extra 300 bucks to have them come and hook her up. It took them two weeks to get there and didn't even connect the speakers.

Papa Roach tried calling the Geeks for assistance. They said they would have to charge some $350 just to talk him through fixing it over the phone.

By then, Mom was losing her mind. She wanted to talk to them herself. She tried to remain calm.

"You don't understand. My deceased husband's pictures are on there..."

When Angie and I made eye contact, we had to put our hands over our mouths to keep our laughter in. Yes, Dad is gone, and that's not funny, but the way Mom tells the story, those were the only copies in existence. She was working the sympathy angle like there was no tomorrow. Even though every single family picture, since the beginning of time, is saved on disks and each one of us has a copy.

"...All of my stuff is on this computer. You can't replace memories like that!"

The Geek Squad dude who came to hook her up was named Carl Sanchez. Over the phone she told the IT person, "Listen, I waited for that stupid creep squad, geek whatever, for weeks. I'll tell you what, that friggin' Carlos Santana guy didn't know his ass from his elbow."

Angie, Papa Roach and I were buckled over laughing. It took a second for my mother to realize Carlos Santana did not leave the music business to become a member of Best Buys' Geek Squad. She tried not to laugh into the phone.

Calls to HP didn't help either. Papa Roach was going to take Mom's computer to work and get it working again. More bad news came Monday. There was no rebooting the computer. It had a faulty hard drive. I didn't think I did anything that could have caused that kind of damage. I was relived it wasn't my fault.

Tuesday Papa Roach took Mom to Best Buy to get a new tower. She assumed she had a year warranty and thought trading it for a new one would be okay. No troubles expected.

They marched into the store, Mom wearing her "Do I look like I care?" tee-shirt, with her attitude on her sleeve, she asked for the manager.

After going over the whole story, the guy looked at her receipt. In tiny print it read "open box" which meant her warranty was null in void. Something the helpful salesman never mentioned. My mom argued with the manager and said the box was taped. Everything was packed like it had never been touched. She told him that her salesman made no mention of an open box. He insisted that her salesman gave her a $20 discount because it was already opened.

Highly pissed, she said, "I spend $2,000 fucking dollars on this thing. Plus another $300 for your retarded creep squad to come out. Do you think a lady like me is looking to save 20 bucks? Give me a break!"

Calling herself a lady at that point, nearly sent her over the edge. It was the funniest thing she ever heard herself say. When she called me later that night, she was laughing so hard at herself she could barely speak.

The Best Buy manager told her, after they had been in the store four hours, that they would have to send it out to get fixed. She would have it back in six weeks. The lady in her, lost it again.

Papa Roach stepped in, probably saving my mother from a jail sentence, and said, "Give me the parts, I'll put them in myself."

By Wednesday, the lady was back up and running.