Bill

by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

If you dispel the obfuscating fog of everyday living, life has I think you’ll concede its discernible – though subtle – drama. The source may be unpredictable and even unlikely. Don’t let a facade of placidity dissuade you! Behind a veneer of composure may subsist one of daring enterprise. Permit me to observe that while I am not perpetually living on the edge I too have my moments. Consider if you will  the following example.

I do not recall when I made up my mind but it was not long after having planted my feet upon the floorboards this morning. I’m like that, determined in a word. The dilemma had dogged me overnight. When however the new day broke, my ambivalence dissolved and I unhesitatingly set upon a path of resolve. I was going to return it!

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Oddly this wasn’t the first bluetooth sound system I had to return because of its faulty construction. Perhaps it is too strong a denunciation, “faulty construction”. A corner of the device’s cabinet didn’t fit tightly. It made a squeak, admittedly a slight though to me quite unsatisfactory squeak. It compromised the integrity of the article. Why should I tolerate slipshod assembly-line production? It was going back. That was all there was to it!

Even fearless combatants set upon a trajectory of purpose must attend to the platitudes of life. Breakfast is for me a primal necessity. Accordingly I temporarily derailed my steeled absorption to relieve the matutinal distress. After absently eating my tangy orange wedges and drinking my strong black coffee, my resolution was firm. I telephoned the store. It was Sunday morning. The recorded message mockingly deflected my gusto by proclaiming the place didn’t open until ten o’clock. I had an hour to wait. While drumming my fingers on the dining room table I reconfigured my strategy and settled to forego the courtesy of the telephone call. Delay is the enemy of resolve. I would shower, dress and materialize at the Customer Service Counter unannounced. My only concern – and it was an over-riding one – was there wouldn’t be a replacement in stock. I recollected the clerk hinted yesterday there was only one in stock, the one I had purchased. But this one was going back in any event. Perhaps they would direct me to another outlet (though I couldn’t imagine there was one within 50 miles); or maybe they would have one delivered while I waited (highly unlikely I admit); or, I would simply choose another make or model. Whatever. The point is, notwithstanding any barrier or hindrance it was going back. I had no intention of imagining the squeak didn’t exist!

I was so distraught about reversing this unsettling setback that I didn’t eat any of the bacon this morning! I love bacon. But I completely overlooked it, right there on the stove!

When I arrived at the store I descended upon the Customer Service clerk with obvious ambition and a sardonic smile. My air of nonchalance did nothing to dilute my earnestness. I faced the clerk squarely and summarized my dilemma. He blankly – and rather unsympathetically I thought – called the Manager. I repositioned and braced myself accordingly (though privately I questioned this instinctive reaction). The Manager approached from the back of the store. She was a woman, a very plain looking woman and humourless. Thinking I might revitalize this early morning congress I eagerly opened the plastic bag containing the device and with added vivacity once again began to profile the problem. She wasn’t in the least interested. She dismissively said I wouldn’t have bothered to come unless something was wrong. She didn’t even open the box. Instead she mechanically moved to the display case where the other remote sound systems were displayed and I sheepishly followed in her wake. I ended choosing the same make but a more expensive model, “trading up” as she called it.

It was a brilliantly sunny day, a cloudless sky! Spirited by unqualified triumph we speedily agreed upon a compensatory visit to a dockside restaurant. Events such as these deserve commemoration! Upon arriving there the parking lot was jammed. We nonetheless determined to stay for lunch. After mistakenly running a wheel of my car against an unseen boulder, I parked in a dip where water had collected from recent heavy rains. I practically submerged both feet upon alighting from the car. That’s the closest those Top Siders have come to nautical baptism!

Inside the restaurant, buoyed by the tour de force, we brazenly perched upon swivel stools at the heavy wooden bar (which interestingly sloped downwards toward the dock) and cavalierly ordered an uplifting cup of hot tea. The morning enterprise had all but exhausted us! The meal was nonpareil – She-crab soup and a dozen Blue Point oysters on the half-shell. We finished with Key Lime pie and warm bread pudding drenched in brandy. This unscheduled luncheon was a fitting observance of the victory. And we knew we had only the further pleasure of an afternoon bicycle ride on the beach. Which is precisely what we did for the next two hours.