Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Monkey On The Nod

My cable went out. Dead as a door nail. And there we were, forced to actually talk to each other. It was a little scary and it made me think that my marriage might be glued fragilely together by Law and Order or West Wing reruns. The house felt so quiet and my nervousness grew as I realized I had no internet access.

The next day we watched the clock waiting for the cable guy to show up during our scheduled 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. appointment. Round 12:30 I called Comcast and the lady said he’d be there between 1 p.m. and 4:30. I told her that we had been scheduled for the morning, she told me I must have made a mistake.

“Your person told me between 8 and 12.”

“You must have heard it wrong,” she said.

What was I to do? Crawl through the phone and smack her? I was at her mercy. I wanted to scream.

“For God’s sake! Don’t you understand? I am missing CNN!”

I had no choice but to take it. If I went off on her I might never see the repair guy. They can do that you know. They can punish you by not showing up, so you have to keep your cool, getting angry will only put you in the dog house.

Finally at 4, Vincent arrived. He was puzzled by the fact that we had no signal whatsoever all the way from the box to our house.

My husband said “See…it’s the stuff you write, they’re after us now. You shoulda kept your big mouth shut.”

Vincent was a pleasant young man. He crawled into the bushes and connected an orange line to the box and then rolled it down our hundred foot driveway all the way to the back of our house and suddenly, just like that, Everybody Loves Raymond was blaring into my living room.

That was three weeks ago and the orange line is still snaking up my driveway. I try to be careful when I drive over it, I don’t want to mess up that line and risk the chance of another night of having to come up with fresh new things to say to my husband in an effort to keep him entertained.

TV is a drug and I am hooked, I might as well have track marks running up and down my arms. And it’s not like I sit around watching it all day, I just have to know that when I hit that remote I can count on getting a picture and some sound. Without that reassurance I feel queasy. This is all my husband’s fault, before I married him I didn’t even have cable I had rabbit ears. But nooooooo…he just had to have the History Channel and now we are stuck in expanded basic hell.

That’s how it works. First you get basic, then they tempt you with expanded, then they lead you into premium and then digital and the next thing you know you’re renting a DVR. All the while you don’t realize that your pocket book is as empty as a Moose Lodge on Sunday morning. People were screaming when gas prices sky rocketed but what are you supposed to do when they raise your rates 20% in less than three years like they’re doing in San Francisco? At least with gasoline you might have a choice of taking public transportation or walking or consolidating trips to conserve but with cable you’re either in or you’re out, there’s no halfway. Try to find a tv that works good with an antenna anymore, the cable industry took care of that when they got the tv manufacturers to standardize “cable ready” sets.

It’s a sick dependent relationship and they know that, they count on it. It’s why they can be such schmucks when it comes to franchising because they know we’re all a bunch of Nancys when it comes to having our cable.

I gotta a good mind to walk out my front door right now and tear up that orange line snaking down my driveway. I think if Vincent doesn’t get here in the next couple of days to bury that line I just might do it. Maybe I’ll even call up Comcast and let them know that I’m setting a deadline. If I don’t see Vincent sometime between now and the New Year, that’s it for them! Right after the ball falls in Times Square all bets are off. Or maybe the next day immediately following the Rose Parade, I’m through! Okay so I could make it as far as the Super Bowl but that will be that! I’m not kidding, this is serious this time. I really, really mean it. As soon as those Winter Olympics are done, I’m done! No really...I mean it...

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