The tub guy. I show him upstairs; he apologizes for whatever, and heads up to fix the problem. He’s my guy in the Essex road, to use a Pragerism. Call back Guy #2, say I have to do the interview later; he asks “What was your name again?” I tell him, and he’s delighted: he listens to me on the radio! This is marvelous and grand and life has a bright spot, even though the snow is now starting to accumulate on the ground -
But. It will melt. That’s the thing about the universe. Either things melt or they freeze solid, and the local general trend is -> melty. I call back interview subject #1, and we’re talking, and I hear water running as the guy upstairs is banging away, and I realize that the water is coming down the wall behind the stove in the kitchen, WHERE THERE ARE NO PIPES EVER, in a Niagara torrent - run downstairs to follow the sound, WATER POURING OUT OF A FARGIN’ DOOR FRAME IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM COMING OUT OF THE WATER FIXTURE
STOP STOP STOP STOP
He. Is. Mortified: he didn’t know what he did, except that he was poking the drain and something must have sundered - I’m paraphrasing. He is so sorry. Well, so am I, partly because this is a two-man operation, young entrepreneurs, and this is Nightmare Time. He instantly calls his insurance people and right then and there absolves me of the entire bill for the tub refinishing.
I call back the interview subject and we pick it up. With some difficulty on my part. I note that my cell is almost dead; I plug it in, because I want to get the vet’s call.
As soon as I do, the vet calls.
I beg off the interview subject again; she understands. Pick up phone: it’s not charging, incidentally, because the cascade of water shorted out the box.
The wind has picked up and the snow is coming slantwise.
The vet says that the swelling is within parameters, for the moment. A warm compress might help. Fine; thanks. I call my wife: Remember a few Christmases ago I gave you that lavender-scented microwavable bag? From Patina? Before they burned down? Where is it. Ah: of course. Oh, the dog’s the same. Right. Later. I microwave the bag, and note grimly how the microwave always knocks out the wireless. Doesn’t matter now. No fargin’ internet.
I put the bag under the dog’s head and he seems to like it, but then the lavender smell asserts itself. He staggers to his feet and walks to the other end of the room and drops down.
So . . . what was I doing . . . INTERVIEW. I call back the subject. Tub guy goes downstairs to mop and apologize and mop, and I finish the interview. (Note: periodic Twitter updates are happening through all of this, because it is 2013.) When the interview is done and the tub guy goes and I assure him that I know, without a doubt, that he had no intention of doing this and it’s his worst nightmare and this is life and these things happen. Close the door. Sigh.
Annnnd now to write up the interview. Which I do. Sending it into the office mainframe is difficult, because reasons. And those reasons are, or is, the BUSTED MODEM, so I have to slip in the piece during the brief window where the internet works. This I do. Everything is, for the moment, acceptable, except for the snow.
Now. Daughter is not home; that’s another story. But it is Friday, and that means Pizza. But it is also naptime, really. I turn on the oven, wait until it’s 425, get out the slab of frozen Geno’s East Deep Dish, and spit in the face of the fates of Friday by putting the pizza in the oven and going to sleep.
The alarm was supposed to wake me after 40 minutes. A plane does this after 30. A big plane going overhead. Dinner time is takeoff time. One after the other. So it has always been, so it will always be. For some reason tonight they are basso profundo, shaking the house. No matter; the coffee maker has made the evening pot, the oven is heavy with Za, and so we begin! Friday!
I have a radio thing to do at 8, and I have to get a modem. And Frosty Paws.
We’re out of Jasper’s treats.
I have one hour and 13 minutes.
In the car, off to Target. Back to electronics. They don’t have a VDSL+2 modem. Possibly because they have no modems at all. Out of the store and in the car at 7:03, drive to Best Buy’s flagship store. 7:11. Ask the clerk: need a modem. He asks who’s my provider, I say “Century Link.” He ambles over and points at a box that says CENTURY LINK.
Is it VDSL? I ask. He is flummoxed. I note it’s also a router. There’s another modem in a box on the shelf that’s half the price.
“Why would I buy the one that’s twice as much?” I say.
“It’s Century Link,” he says, because I am a middle-aged dude who doesn’t like know whatever stuff and it’s not his job to like care or give a crap? Anyway CenturyLink because reasons. I thank him and investigate all the modem options. No VSDL, let alone VSDL+2.
This means I have to drive to MicroCenter, where all possible permutations of computational equipment are sold. In the car at 7:17. Up 35W, east on 62, north, juke left, parking lot: it’s an old grocery store strip mall, a sixties relic that now houses a Burlington Coat Factory and the MicroCenter. Feels like a Soylent distribution center, always has. I run inside. Clock ticking. Back to aisle 36 where the modems are, and . . .
. . . and a fella is telling the sprout of a clerk what it was like back in the days of double-sided floppies, because this is the curse of MicroCenter: it’s where old geeks go to assert waning Alpha Male Geek Status. It’s like the VFW for guys who served in the Platform Wars.
I hold up a finger and say “I’m sorry, but I’m in a rush - VSDL plus two?”
The young clerk brightens then clouds: he says they don’t have any. He says it’s sad that they don’t but they don’t, and sometimes people ask for them, but they don’t. Mind you, this is a place that has cords that attach 1996 computers to legacy IBM big iron that stored information on reel-to-reel. So I’m not particularly confident I’ll find a modem. Tonight.
Back in the bar. 7:31. Drive south drive east drive north up Lyndale to the grocery store to get Jasper’s Frosty Paws. The clerk has a question:
“I wanted to ask - what would be the best way to get someone’s attention with a petition?”
Because I am a Columnist and Media Guy. The clerk is a smart fellow, half my age probably, and I’m flattered. I tell him that if I was a politician I’d be more impressed by a sheaf of paper with lots of signatures than an internet petition. Anyone can click and like. Going door to door and getting ink, that’s different. I apologize for not having more time on the matter, but, beer:
Because we’re out. It’s 7:51. I make it to the package store, hoist a 12 of Redhook, drive home, and I’m in the door at 7:59 and on the phone at 8:01 for the interview.
It was done 43 minutes later at 8:44.
And then I said: bourbon.
And so it was.
NOTE: I wrote this late Friday night, and the sheer girth of the post pushes Black and White World to Tuesday, and Product! to Tuesday. Unnerving, yes, but we will all adjust. I am posting on Sunday afternoon while I still have internet.
The eye swelled up much worse on Saturday - but it looked better on Sunday. Fingers crossed.