Southern winters generally run mild, but this year Mother Nature did not receive the memo. For the fifth time this winter, I’m popping Ativan like Tic-Tacs and wishing for vodka as I watch the snow accumulate on my moonshine stills and dog pens, here in Deliveranceville. That stupid groundhog’s blind. I demand a new beast for winter prediction. The groundhog’s gotta go. I could use a new hat.
A couple of days ago I left home for a morning appointment. At the time of my departure, my internet, phone, and cable connections were all in working order. When I returned, a couple of hours later, everything had crapped the bed. How would I communicate with the outside world? Who would come by? It wasn’t even trash day. I felt desperation’s cold grip tighten around my chest, but I had to keep it together. I had to wait. Surely this would be a minor inconvenience at worst.
By mid-afternoon, nothing had changed and I was breathing into a paper bag. I asked my husband, who had been home that morning, if he had any idea of what went down with the cable service. Clueless, he offered nothing. It wasn’t until our son came bounding through the backyard after school that the problem was discovered.
“Hey, Mom, our cable line’s lying on the ground back there,” he announced. No way. I trekked out to the back forty to investigate. Sure enough, an orange cord lie coiled at the base of the light pole, to which it was formerly connected, some fifteen feet or so up. Unbelievable. A simple connector kept me from interacting with the rest of civilization. I glanced around for any lonely-looking volleyballs I could talk to. Finding none, I sought out my husband and brought him up to speed.
"You won't believe this, but the cable line is disconnected. It's just lying on the ground."
"You're kidding. That's weird. I don't know how that could happen," he said.
"Well," I said, hands planted on my hips, "I have an idea. Since the Bubba who hooked up the line never secured it to the pole after connecting it, it's been flying commando for months. It probably just worked itself loose."
"Nah, I doubt that. They tighten up those connectors pretty good. That couldn't have happened. Did you call the cable company? Did they say the bill was late? I just paid it last week. Someone must have gotten up there and disconnected it. Maybe the dog chewed it."
"Sure. You were here when it happened, yet you saw nothing. I know what it was. A crafty little squirrel got up there and unscrewed it for the dog. It's a conspiracy between the dog and a squirrel." Right.
I called the cable company and explained the situation.
"Huh," said the lady on the other end of the line. Why do I live here? Huh? That was it? I could have gotten that from my teenager. I tried a plea for sympathy.
"Look, we are expecting a huge snowstorm. My kids will eat me alive if they can't get online or watch television. I know it's pathetic, but I'm begging you to put a rush on this. I'm out of vodka, and I should be drunk every day, as it is."
I waited until late in the afternoon of the following day for a worker to arrive. He walked out to inspect the situation, after I had already clearly laid it out for him at the front door. Whatever.
"Huh," he said, looking up the pole in wonder. "That's weird. Did somebody disconnect it?" Where was that volleyball? I needed intelligent conversation, and fast. He walked back to his truck for a ladder.
Five minutes later I was back on the grid and loving life. I have my theory as to what happened to that line, but the cable company's results remain inconclusive. That afternoon I made a trip to Wal-Mart for a volleyball. Just in case.