The food on the top shelf of the fridge is melting because the upper light will not turn off and it’s generating too much heat. Meanwhile, the ice-maker in the freezer has stopped working altogether. Annoying! It’s January 22…two days after the inauguration. I’m on the phone speaking (well, negotiating) with a customer service representative from Sub-Zero. The contractor who completed my remodel did not register the appliance so I may have to pay for the repairs despite the fact that I think the appliance is still under warranty. Will the company representative agree? She can not miss the fact that I am sick; my voice is compromised, or sexy, as only my husband would say. I don’t know why I’m calling today, except that I should have called last week. Maybe she will feel sorry for me.
I attempt to create a rapport with her while we wait for her computer to retrieve the pertinent information about my appliance. I ask her where she’s located. She’s in Wisconsin. I wonder silently why “Wisconsin ” should generate a slight reaction within me. Hmmmm? Ah, yes…it is one of the states that helped elect our president. She apologizes for her very slow computer and asks me about the weather in California. I do not want to boast, but it is nice, I tell her. “However,” I add, “as you may have noticed, we get nasty colds in California, too! ” She laughs and continues to make enjoyable small talk. I get the feeling that I would like this woman.
Finally the computer is displaying the needed information and we are ready to get down to business. She asks me a few questions and we share another laugh this time at the expense of contractors who do not follow through with paperwork. It is beginning to become apparent to me that I am just outside the warranty window when she says “Ok, it’s done! You are covered; here’s the repairman you need to call!”
I hang up thinking that she seemed a very nice woman…a very nice woman from a red state. I am convinced that she could not possibly approve of the way the man in the White House speaks about women and minorities. She couldn’t possibly believe him fit to lead. And, yet…maybe …
Politics has always been of interest to me, and I have always delighted in vigorous debate. But, this moment in history is different. I remain deeply unsettled about this election. I am exceedingly grateful for any small act of kindness shown to me from a friend or stranger. I feel that I am looking for a general reassurance that most people are good and want the best for the country and each other. After all, everyone has appliances that break, computers that freeze and colds that last much too long. That may not be enough to bind people in the long run, but it was enough for two of us today.