Friday, April 27, 2007
PUSHING MY BUTTONS
When I saw a kayak advertised in a catalog, the whole idea seemed very appealing. I imagined myself idly paddling down the Willamette. No cell phones, no faxes, no roving evangelists. Just me, the water and the sky. Besides, it had to be great for firming up the upper body and arms. It sure would beat schlepping to some smelly old gym where scores of young nymphets with perfectly toned Size Zero bodies were spinning, kickboxing and doing Pilates, which sounds vaguely salacious. And the kayak itself hides that unsightly tummy bulge and ugly thigh cellulite. And who among us doesn’t love the idea of exercising while sitting down?
Impulsively I ordered my kayak. I admit I was a little apprehensive about that pesky “some assembly required” admonition, but then I thought if an Eskimo, weighed down by all those bulky unattractive clothes, can assembly a kayak on an ice floe with nothing to sustain him but a whale blubber sandwich wrap and ice water, surely I could do the same on my patio, armed with a bottle of merlot and my Doritos.
When my kayak arrived, I laid out all the parts and carefully read the instructions. I then eagerly began to build my kayak, stopping often to check my progress and take a little sip of wine. Hours later, I stood back to admire the finished product. Alas, the project in front of me was not a kayak. It looked more like a…picnic table. When I turned it over, it resembled some kind of crazy loom.
I picked up the phone and reluctantly dialed Khayyam Kayak as I finished off the merlot.
“Thank you for calling Khayyam Kayak,” Computer Voice said. “If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, follow the simple instructions and we will direct your call to the correct party. If you are calling from a rotary phone, you might want to consider upgrading your telecommunications system and joining the rest of us in the twenty-first century.
“If you are calling to say your kayak wouldn’t fit through the mail slot, please press 1.
“If you find yourself up the creek without a paddle, press 2.
“If you thought you were purchasing a pair of oxen-like animals from the savannah of Africa, press 3.
“If you would like to order an adorable kayak ensemble, including skort, press 4.
“If you assembled your kayak, and it looks more like a picnic table or a loom, press 5.
“Please enter your zip code.
“Please multiply 1,484 by 27, subtract your credit card number, and enter the resultant.
“We’re sorry all of our customer service representatives are busy helping people more important than you. Please hold and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received. If you hang up, you’ll have to start all over again and who knows how long you’ll have to wait the next time.”
Otis and Westinghouse serenaded me with their Greatest Hits. Finally, as day turned to night, Computer Voice mercifully interrupted “You Light Up My Life” and said, “Since we realize how valuable your time is, we are going to terminate this call now.” And suddenly there was that ominous click. I had been disconnected.
I looked at my kayak/picnic table/loom. Maybe I could weave myself a longish tunic that would cover the offensive tummy and cellulite. I flipped the kayak to its picnic table position. Or maybe I could just sit down at my brand new table, have a few more Doritos and open another bottle of merlot.