Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Cable Guy

When I moved into my first studio, in Greenpoint in 2001, my Brooklyn Union (or was it Keyspan by then?) gas man asked me out and gave me his number. I never called him, but now that I've been officially single since December 2004 and haven't been kissed since May, I'm wondering whether I should have. I'm very solitary these days.

I had to work from home this morning to wait for Time Warner Cable's Roadrunner technician to come and fix my internet connection, which crapped out Tuesday night. I felt a sense of panic, like when you're in the middle of a field alone and realize you have no cell phone service, only worse. In Death Valley I had no cell or Blackberry signal but I was able to get a satellite internet connection and ultimately felt reachable and connected to humanity. But as soon as my internet went out at home, knowing that no one hardly calls me anyway and Edith and Maria are the only ones to txt, I suddenly felt more isolated than if I was out in the desert.

My technician quickly introduced himself as "Tony," a good-looking black man with a slight (Jamaican?) accent and a tiny pointy yet curly beard. He looked comfortable and handsome in his sky blue Time Warner Cable workman's shirt, athletic, confident. I, on the other hand, was wearing the same outfit I wore on both Sunday and Monday this week: black pajama bottoms and my Gotham Girls Roller Derby t-shirt, this time with no bra, hair in a bun.

It's not that I wanted him to ask me out the way that the Brooklyn Union guy had nearly 7 years ago, but it kind of seemed like he was going to. He asked me for a pair of pliers, and when I pointed him to the green toolbox that I keep wedged between my TV stand and my CD racks, he asked me if I was handy or something. Why did I have a toolbox in my apartment? My response, of course, was that sometimes as a single lady living alone, you've got to hammer something. He couldn't figure out why I didn't have a guy I could ask to come over and help me, but in truth even when there was a guy coming over pretty regularly, he caused more destruction (tearing down my curtain rod in his sleep, leaning too hard on a precarious towel rack) than repair while here.

This launched Tony into a whole line of questioning as to why I'm 33 and single, what was wrong with me, what did guys complain about, where was I meeting guys, how could I possibly not meet anyone in Murray Hill, etc. At first I thought it was kind of flattering, but then it seemed like he had a vendetta against single women, telling me about all the other apartments he visits, in which broken-hearted, bitter women reside alone, complaining about men.

Here is what Tony told me women must do in order to attract a man for a relationship:
  • smile
  • be intelligent
  • make the man listen to her
  • don't try to change the things you can't change

It was all pretty smart, though a bit obvious I guess, and I felt like he'd given this speech before and that it wasn't necessarily just intended for me. Besides, I've got no problem with the first two, and I never really have gotten a chance at bat for the second two.

I nodded and smiled at Tony for about as long as I could stand til I realized I really had to get into work, and then he collected my old cable box and the rest of his things and wished me luck and said goodbye unceremoniously, unromantically, with no ulterior motive. I guess I was kind of surprised. I mean, even my exterminator asked me out so many times that I stopped answering the door when he rang the bell on the last Saturday of the month.

Maybe I should start answering again...