He’s called that because I was fairly sure, in several senses, that he was never going to arrive.
I moved into this house over fifteen years ago, looked around the kitchen, and said “Ripping all this out and replacing it is the first project.” One divorce, the predictable adjustment in finances and a decade later, I promised myself that I would at least get rid of a stove that probably went in before I was born, was missing two burner racks, had three increasingly temperamental pilot lights, reeked of roasted gunk when the oven was lit, and measured a solid yard across.
No amount of elbow grease seemed equal to cleaning the damn thing. I had to pry apart and reassemble corroded gas guides between the pilots and burners twice just this past year, and the hinge of the stove top was broken on one side so that when you lifted it to get to the pilots, it tried to make an escape break down the back of the appliance.
Every Christmas I have been swearing I would do something about this monster but after relighting pilots two times in one week, and still whiffing a sickly faint smell of gas around the hulk at random times, I marched into Sears Roebuck and a nice man named Khan fixed me up with Godot.
Sears contracts with another outfit to hook the thing up to your gas line. This is when Godot really began to earn his name. For starters they couldn’t schedule me for two weeks; then, this Wednesday afternoon, called me with a succession of stories: The stove wasn’t here yet; it was here but they weren’t sure I could get on Thursday’s schedule; they could deliver Thursday but no one could tell me when during the day; they could deliver Friday but still couldn’t tell me whether to plan on AM or PM. Feature me on the phone to a gum-chewing, excuse-making dimwit and then to her supervisor, pacing my office like a zoo lion at feeding time, hair standing straight out from my head in full Angry White Woman mode: “Strangely, Lisa, I am able to tell my clients when I will be prepared to serve them to the dot of the hour or half hour one full month in advance, and if you cannot even tell me whether to reserve morning or afternoon to receive this stove I will call Sears to cancel the sale and find a business that can respect my time.”
A guy called back in about three hours and set me up for yesterday “before noon.”
About eleven-twenty I set a timer, prepared to blow out of the house at 12:01, but just then a truck pulled up and knocked over my recycling bin (this keeps happening) and two stalwart Myrmidons entered with a hand truck, shifted the refrigerator out of the way, removed the carcass, and said “We’ll give you a few minutes to clean up while we load this on the truck and get your new stove in here.”
a Korean (I think) cockroach trap (???);
four marbles, six assorted bottle caps, and the two missing burner racks. No mouse remains.
“Y’all’s gas valve isn’t up to code,” they told me as I scrubbed and steamed the gack of decades off the floorboards, the ghosts of meals eaten in 1958 or so wafting hideously out the open porch door. “Afraid it’ll be an extra charge, but they found out this kind leaks.”
They picked up all the recycling.
Nice boys. The dodoes in the office weren’t their fault (it often seem to work this way). They left me standing there surrounded by a broom, a floor steamer, an overflowing wastebasket, everything that had been stored in the Monster, and a pile of coupons for broiling accessories. About an hour later I finished sweeping and storing, stroked Godot gently for a few moments, then poured water into the kettle, ticked on a burner with my brand-new electronic ignition, and made a cup of tea.
I’ll always wonder how close I came to blowing myself up.