Friday, January 6, 2017

Call Me Maybe

Good thing I have a friend who loves me enough to try to call and wish me a happy new year or I'd still be unreachable.

After a couple of days trying, only to hear the phone ring endlessly and the answering machine never pick up, she alerted me by email. Sure enough, when I tried to make a call: dead zone. No dial tone.

Being the technological whiz that I am, I immediately went out and bought a new battery for my 8-year old cordless land line. Hardly surprisingly, it made no difference whatsoever, so the next morning I borrowed a sympathetic cell phone to alert Verizon to my plight.

When the service rep asked how long I'd been without service, I hadn't a clue.

Certainly no calls this week and last week I was on the west coast, so I wouldn't know about then, either. When I mentioned my dilemma to others this week, several told me they'd try to call me before Christmas to no avail.

Okay, so as it turns out, I haven't had phone service since December 22 and it took me until today to get it restored. What's sixteen days for a person who almost never gets called?

And the price I paid for that wasn't the missed calls (granted, the callers may feel differently about that), it was the sacrifices required to have it fixed.

About all Verizon could tell me was that the serviceman would be here between 8 a.m. and noon, but the hitch was that he wouldn't be able to call me when he got to the locked front door downstairs because, well, I'm phone-less, so I said he'd have to email me when he arrived.

"Not to worry," the rep tells me, he'll email you. I doubt this and I am worried and she reassures me not to worry. Again I express doubt and again I am placated.

After getting out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7:45 this morning, I only have to wait 15 minutes for the email proof that my worry was completely justified. The email is nothing but a form letter telling me the repair will be done between 8 and 12, not notification that he's arrived downstairs.

So I wait. I wait some more, then I make breakfast.

It's when I go downstairs to get my Washington Post that I open the front door to see if perhaps Verizon has left a note saying they came and couldn't get in. Instead, I see a guy peering around from the front porch downstairs and he comes tearing toward me.

It is only sheer coincidence that I opened the door at the moment he was coming off that porch or we'd never have connected because he couldn't have gotten in the locked door and I couldn't have heard him knocking and, despite all those smarmy reassurances not to worry, he did not have my email address.

Not acceptable, Verizon.

And if that got my morning off to a less-than-stellar start, consider that it took from 8:40 until 3:35 to restore my phone service, which, it turns out, Verizon - in their infinite wisdom - had erroneously disconnected and assigned to another apartment.

That's seven hours in which I couldn't leave my apartment because of phone testing, so a walk was out of the question.

I consider myself a pretty easygoing person (despite someone recently characterizing me as being pure confidence, intensity and purpose), but if you want to see my uptight side, get me out of bed before I've had 9 hours of sleep (see: last night) and deny me the 5 or 6 miles my body craves to walk (see: this morning).

All I can tell you is, it won't be pretty.

Happily, I got plenty of writing accomplished and post 3:35, I was even able to make some necessary calls to deal with the business of life. But you can be sure I made plans to get out tonight.

Mac was my willing accomplice to walk nearly a mile to dinner, as it turned out, in a lightly falling snow shower and the kind of snow that sticks to your coat and scarf without melting, which made it look like the fake stuff in the movies.

As we chowed down in an empty dining room, the bartender did his best to talk us into using alcohol to treat the frigid temperatures outside. Let's just say that hot toddies were discussed.

Next up was Gallery 5 for Nick Candela's "Toma! Toma! Toma!" show of huge canvases combining countless cultural elements - a trio of bathing beauties, Corvairs, a steak, horses racing, signs - layered with drips and pencil drawings almost confusingly, although with obvious intent.

His stated philosophy demonstrated that he was one millennial who wasn't trying to clarify anything: Assumptions are encouraged; euphemisms preferred.

Of course they are.

Next up we motored to Northside to check out Iridian Gallery's opening of Paige Critcher's "Hinterland," a show of photographs taken near Sweet Briar College over the course of four years while the artist sorted out a major life implosion after losing her job, home and partner. Been there, done that.

Needless to say, sorting through a collision of life events like that over several years resulted in photographs of isolation, longing and curiosity that showed up in roads leading into fog, dead vines and eroding buildings.

During her artist's talk, Paige talked about one of the benefits of shooting out in the sticks is, once strangers understand that you're a photographer, you can get away with craziness. "I take advantage of that all the time," she laughed.

Since it's almost the exact same sentiment photographer Susan Worsham expressed last night at her artist's talk, I think we can surmise that some art forms can be considered a license to let go.

Driving home, Mac wanted to know if I was finished for the evening, sounding surprised when I said I was.

Since I got back late, late Sunday, it's been a week of close encounters of the first, second and third kinds and I honestly need a little time to process it all away from the fray. Hello, Friday night downtime.

And while it's now technically possible that my phone could ring, I know chances are slim to none that it will. And, as my Washington grandmother liked to euphemistically say, Slim just left town.

Meanwhile, I'll keep my fingers crossed for a walk in the snow tomorrow, the better to encourage a few choice assumptions.

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