Hello, Katalusis readers!
I’m sorry I haven’t posted lately. On Thursday, December 25 at about noon my bundled landline telephone service and Internet connection failed, leaving me totally dependent on my cell until Sunday evening, Dec. 28.
The fact that I live on the fourth floor of a security building was an added inconvenience. My landline phone is programmed so that I can press a single key and instantly admit a guest; otherwise, I have to take the elevator downstairs to the lobby and manually open the door.
Although I didn’t notice any grammatical errors in my increasingly frustrated phone calls to the cable company, I could readily empathize with Professor Stanley Fish’s recent frustrations with AT&T, which he posted this morning at his blog Think Again (NY Times).
Professor Fish mentioned the first obstacle he encountered was getting through to a live person. That situation is even more depressing when you’re sitting there on hold wasting precious cell phone minutes while a syrupy recorded voice periodically interrupts promotional material to say, “Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us.” Eventually, I spoke to a live “account executive,” and scheduled an appointment for Sunday afternoon between 1 and 5 p.m.
My dinner guests arrived shortly before the system failed completely, and I was able to buzz them in. We had a happy Christmas/Chanukkah celebration. After dinner we watched Joyeux Noel, a 2005 film about the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of the French.
On Friday morning I called the cable company back to see if I could get an earlier appointment. I received a promise that if anything opened up, I’d be first in line.
On Sunday at around 4:30 p.m., I was re-reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book on anger and carefully following his instructions on how to mindfully treat powerful emotions that are threatening to get out of control.
My cell’s cheerful ring tone interrupted my practice and in a calm, relaxed state of mind, I took the elevator downstairs to admit a bright-eyed, youthful technician who proved to be both courteous and competent. He had the problem solved within minutes.
After he left, I reflected on the post-holiday weekend and realized I’d gotten along fine without my usual political fixes from favorite news sites and blogs and thanks to my ever ready cell phone, I hadn’t actually been cut off from the world.
Just the same, dear friends, it’s good to be back.