it had been pouring rain for about three days. the water came down in noah-like proportions. creeks and rivers were overflowing. the farmland hardened from what had been- prior to those three days- a rain deficit, would not yield to the moisture. streets, roadways and homes flooded.
under heavy, gray skies i set out to do some ordinary errands… the gym, the grocery store, target, before pulling into a cingular wireless store. when i got my phone two years ago it was through at&t but that company had since married cingular. still wearing what i ran in, with my hair in a pony tail, i parked as close as i could to the store. from inside the two cingular workers stared. maybe they were watching the giant rain drops, or maybe they were wondering why i walked, instead of ran through the wet mess.
the female employee was busy with someone. i told the other that i wanted a new phone, preferably one with a window so i could see who was calling without flipping open my phone. he walked me over to the wall of options… starting from $9.99 and jumping into the 100s. i said i didn’t need a camera phone. that narrowed down my bounty of options to just two. i asked if the $9.99 phone was a gimpy one. he nodded. i took the $19.99 option.
he started setting up my account… switching me to the official cingular network rather than the formerly at&t/wannabe cingular customer i had been. (somehow though i knew “the network” really wouldn’t follow me en masse like the company advertises so heavily… maybe it’s just the mountains out here… but i am constantly facing the frustration of disconnection).
i don’t think he thought i caught on… but i knew he was taking longer than necessary to set everything up… flirting with me throughout the process. he was from southwest dc and from just my 202 prefix he deduced that i was cool and said we needed to hang out. talk turned to work… he knew others at tv3, asked me about them…
then talk turned to college. he asked if i had attended jmu. i said, “no. i went to brigham young university.” his response was the first i have ever witnessed of its kind. he stood up from behind the counter… threw his hands above his head, and the stocky, black, cingular employee stormed out of the building.
his co-worker and i watched incredulously through the glass doors as he put his hands on his hips and just shook his head… thankfully, for our curiosity (and for my new phone), he re-entered and told me that he had played college football… his team played byu and there was nothing to do in provo. this was not his main complaint. the reason for his reaction was the fact that he could not believe that a team of mormons could have beaten him… and he had somewhat sworn off people of that wacky religion, thinking he’d never run into another one.
i apologized that some mormon boys beat him at his game. i tried to console him by saying that was probably the only year they were good… but the reality was, it still took him quite a while to get me connected… so i don’t think my religious standing bothered him all that much.