Written August 27, 2009
Let me explain. No, there is too much… let me sum up. We have the Time Warner Cable digital bundle. TV, phone, Road Runner. It has always intermittently gone out. Phone calls dropped, internet down. Oddly though, the cable TV has always worked fine. Except on occasion when the DVR would freak out, turn itself off and reboot. It once did that and came back with a whole new on-screen color scheme. I figured it just had an identity crisis and needed to visit a digital version of rehab. Shut down, come back a whole new DVR. I was willing to let it go… whatever it needed to do to make itself feel better as long as it didn’t lose our recordings of “Wipeout”.
Anyway… me being the procrastinator that I am, just dealt with it the best way I knew how. Chastising the computer “Come on you stupid internet!”, and suffering through lots of “Are you there? Hello? Eileen?” conversations with family and friends. (My mom was the best at that by far. I could hear her but she couldn’t hear me. Suddenly her disdain for what I was doing and my choices were no longer concealed behind meaningful sighs… “Eileen? Hello? Can you hear me? You cut out again. Oh that PHONE! I don’t know why she doesn’t get it fixed…” and slam goes the receiver! Brilliantly hilarious.) Last week though, it cut out completely for hours and hours. I began to become alarmed because if I couldn’t facebook how in the world would I survive??? Not to mention that now there was no way for people to get in touch with me. Cell phone you say? Who are you talking to?? Remember, I procrastinate. My cell phone battery was dead. I looked out the window to the driveway where my charger was sitting in my car. I began to debate myself. “It’s right there… just go get it.” “Aw man, the pavement’s hot and I’d have to put on shoes before going outside.” “That’s why Arnie built the shoe cubby by the front door. Look, your flip-flops are within 2 feet.” “Yeah, but if I go outside with shoes then I’ll feel pressured to check the mail while I’m out there.” “Hmmm… I didn’t count on this. An extra 20 feet does make things more difficult.” Did I mention I was lazy too? You’re finding out all my secrets.
So, I quiet the internal struggle and go to get the charger from my car… barefoot, so it’s just to the car and back. The kids like to get the mail after school anyway. And for what exactly am I rushing to the mailbox? The Prize Patrol will deliver my Publisher’s Clearing House millions in person anyway, not the mailman! Once my cell phone is plugged in and charging I proceed to call Arnie. Since I don’t know the number for the cable company off-hand and my all-knowing oracle is down, I implore Arnie to call and see what they say. Surely they have a little switch at the cable company that they can flick and get me up and running. Uh… nope, and the next available appointment is the next day. Really? On the way to take the kids to school that morning I saw a Time Warner van sitting in an empty lot and it looked like the driver was asleep. On second thought, I hope he wasn’t sick or injured. Who has time to stop and find out these things?
Fine. Next day it will have to be. I will interject here that I did kind of have a hissy fit. It might have gone something like this…”WHAT?! TOMORROW? THAT’S JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. WE CAN’T EVEN CALL 911 IF WE NEED TO. ISN’T THAT A VIOLATION OF SOME KIND?!”. Yes! Says my very smart and justice minded EE husband. Yes! A FCC violation! (I’m now secretly squeeing because I’ve managed to get him fired up which means he’s going to call Time Warner back.) “I’m calling back and seeing if they can’t get someone out today.”. SQUEE! “Thanks baby, I love you!”. Now, if I were Time Warner and had a man on the other end of the phone with an authoritative (albeit sexy) sounding voice spewing words like “FCC violation” at me I think I’d send someone over to their house immediately. Apparently though they have lots of men with authoritative (although I doubt they’re all sexy) sounding voices spewing words like “FCC violation” lots of times during the day. They give him the 1-800 number for the FCC and put us on a waiting list for that day. Ouch. Oh well, such is life.
Now my day just got exponentially harder. Not only will I have to do something productive with my time now that I can’t facebook, I’ll have to be on the lookout for TWO vans. Prize Patrol AND Time Warner. I’m surprised I didn’t wear a path in the carpet going from the couch to the window. Did I say productive? Oh no, I meant destructive. Daytime reality programs are entertaining but they’ll rot your brain. Well, needless to say there was no Time Warner van and no Prize Patrol. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Especially when I remember that Ed McMahon passed away this summer so I’m wondering who exactly will be delivering me my millions?? And now I’m pissed because I can’t even look it up! My Rolodex/dictionary/encyclopedia/newspaper/bootlegged-concert-video-player/e-mail machine is down. Ugh.
The sun rises the next morning. It’s a brand new day. I take the kids to school and I’m relieved to see the Time Warner cable van is gone from the empty lot. That must mean the driver wasn’t injured and might be on his way to my house right now. The kids barely get out of the van before the automatic door starts sliding closed and I peel out of the carpool line. Must go! The cable guy waits for no one! Of course, when I pull up to my house I see no van. (Either one.) I sit and wait inside. And because I’m also obsessive (more “Eileen’s personality flaws finally revealed”) I have checked the phone and laptop every few minutes just on the off-chance that the cable gods have smiled upon me and shown their mercy. This time my cries of “Please, please, please, please, please” have worked. I have a dial tone! And the little animated computer in the lower right corner of my laptop taskbar is blinking back at me which means it’s alive. IT’S ALIVE!!
Ding dong! I freeze. I’ve practiced my excited/surprised/”Who are you people and why are you on my front porch?” face for weeks. Okay, months. Is this my time? I catch a glimpse of the Time Warner logo out of the window on my way to the door. I try to hide my disappointment when I open said door. Standing there is the cable guy who is a good 4 inches shorter than I am, has thin blond hair and I swear to God, slightly pointed ears. Now I’m trying to hide amusement as I think about a forest of “cable elves” and wonder if at night, he parks his van beside a tree in which he and the other cable elves live and repair DVRs. I smile and blink, several times I think. He smiles through a closed mouth and invisible lips (do elves have lips?) and blinks back at me. Suddenly we are at an impasse. Who should be the first person to speak in this scenario? It’s not something you usually have to think about is it? Conversations happen all the time between two people- even strangers. Someone just has to start it. Maybe I was being stubborn. He was after all the one who rang MY doorbell. Of course, we called his cable tree first. I concede and say, “Hi… want to come in?”. His response? A terse “Yep.”. I’m detecting a bit of an attitude. It could just be me though. I’m still disappointed he’s not the Ed McMahon replacement so maybe I’m just projecting.
He’s now inside, standing in my foyer. More blinking ensues. Does he think he’s here for tea? Should I offer him a seat? Or just insist that he go ahead and do his f’ing job? You know, the one he came here to do?? Being the bigger person (*snort*), I take a stab at what he’s thinking… “So, you uh, want to see the modem?”. “Yep.”. Well, what he lacks in height he certainly makes up for in personality! Hmmmm… I thought elves were more sociable. That’s what the commercials have led us to believe. False advertising I claim! I bet this one can’t even bake. We go upstairs and I lead him to the desk. Did I mention that since the time the cable elf first walked in our door, our dog has been sniffing his crotch? I’m not sure what he’s so interested in there but I know for damn sure that I don’t want to know. I leave him to his work, pleased to see that he had no problem fitting under the desk to check the wires, and go downstairs to let the dog out in the backyard. I’m not one to hover over workers in my house. The only thing worth stealing upstairs is our 52 inch big screen TV and I think I might be able to catch him sneaking that one down the stairs.
I get myself something to drink and notice him rush out the front door. Maybe he did sneak the TV past me after all. Bastard! No, he’s just going around to the side of the house. I get comfy in my big chair and surf the internet. It seems really ironic that the guy is here to fix something that isn’t broken anymore and that I’m currently enjoying it right under his nose. He comes back a few minutes later. “All done.” he announces like a 2-year-old finishing his Cheerios. “Really? Wow.” I say and wait for further explanation. More blinking. Clearly you have to be direct with this elf. “So, what was the problem?”. I know it’s an ODD question, but I just had to ask. “Loose connection at the house.” he “explains”. Sounds to me like #3 on the “Things Cable Elves Could Find on a Service Call” checklist. Meh, what do I know. I decide to push him further anyway. I’ve never seen an elf get angry before. “And you’re sure that’s it?”. “Yep.” Obviously I won’t be seeing one get angry today either. Maybe he’s an elf animatron. “Okay” I say and reach for the doorknob. As he’s leaving I say, “Well, I’m sure my friends and family will appreciate being able to have a full phone conversation with me.”. I don’t know why I said that. I guess I’m just like my mother… I hate dead air. I need to fill it up with incessant talking. (Secret #4 about me if you’re counting.) Cable elf turns around on my porch and says “Yep.”. More blinking back and forth. And we’re back to where we started. At least we’ve come full circle. I feel a sense of closure. Not sure what he’s feeling though. He’s still staring, smiling with his mouth closed, hands in his pockets. Is he slightly nodding his head? At what? Why is he still standing there? Does he want a hug? Should I offer him some water for a job well done? Can you even give elves water or do they multiply like gremlins? This has just become extremely uncomfortable. I do the only thing I can think of… close the door, really slowly. Just before it shuts all the way I peek out of the thin crack and say “Thanks.”. He’s still standing there. “Yep”. Yeeeaaahhhh…. note to self: check the connection to the house before calling the cable tree again.
Copyright 2010 by Me