Real Life Zaps Blogger and Other Detritus

November 7, 2007 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Internet WolfPajamadeen has had a strange week. Just as Halloween weirdness ended and gray November clouds skidded in, she began to have delicious thoughts of curling up all winter and blogging. November 1st proved her wrong. As she blogged, intending to participate in this year’s National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and share in the sense of community, her lifeline to the world, Comcast, went poof! around 2:00 p.m. No Internet access. At all.


Nashville, Tennessee Skyline It is like having one’s tongue plucked out. No voice. Ever resourceful, Pajamadeen had acquired a secret and highly prized telephone number to the office of a Comcast maintenance supervisor in a nearby town; this saved calls to Comcast call centers in Winnipeg, Manitoba (?) and St. John’s, Newfoundland (?), hoops which usually had to be jumped through to have Comcast worker bees appear to check the streetside lines for a mysterious crack in the wire somewhere along the local route outdoors which has resulted in brief dropped connections all spring and summer. Pajamadeen and the worker bees are now on a first-name basis. The call to the treasured phone number revealed the awful truth: a main Comcast line which feeds into A T & T near Nashville had been severed, probably during construction. Apparently, every Comcast Internet customer in a wide swath from just north of Nashville and north about 130 miles to the Elizabethtown, Kentucky area was sans Internet. No timeline for repair of the severed line was given.


Bright Lights, Big City:  Neon Lights Along Honky Tonk Row in Nashville, TennesseeNow, we like Nashville just fine. We just don’t like the hassles of life in the big city, and hence our Tiny Town location. Nashville is a strange place. To this mecca of country music drift the tone-deaf hopefuls, full of dreams of fame akin to those of a Hollywood starlet: fame, success and lots and lots of money. Kind of like winning a musical lottery, where even the most unlikely candidate can be a “winner.” Every waiter and waitress in town is an aspiring musician or songwriter. The many bars are crowded with the walking wounded, who have come from all across the country and now nurse their broken alcoholic dreams of glory in dimly lit honky-tonks. But, suddenly, there was an unwelcome interrelatedness or interdependence.

Pajamadeen schlepped around the house. What’s a girl to do? She could clean off her desk…The seldom-used printer had a fine sheen of dust on it and the landline couldn’t be reached due to its location behind a stack of unfiled paperwork. The Windex and fly swatter belonged in the pantry. She envisioned her desk as a gleaming black expanse, decorated only with her salt lamp. However, it would all require energy, an attribute lacking at the moment in the sullen Pajamadeen.

Vintage ModemsShe wandered about forlornly, looking for a source of amusement. She toyed with the idea of calling the local dial-up company, where she could pay $18.00 for a dial-up connection until cable returned. Too radical. Besides, what would she actually be able to see on the Internet with a dial-up connection? She took a trip down memory lane, recalling the thrill she used to get when a modem connected…Beeeeee…kachung-kachung, whirrrrr…beep…chirp…zz…beeeeeeep…pinnng…chirp…zzzzzttt…beeeeeep…beeeep and ahhhhh…connected! She wondered whatever happened to people who assembled modems for a living, and vaguely recalled the exciting (or so they seemed!) days of BBS’ing. There are trade-offs involved in living in Tiny Town, and one of them is a lack of entertainment. You’re on your own in that department. A fertile imagination obviously helps, and Pajamadeen is also dependent upon Netflix and a high-speed cable connection. She laid on the sofa and stared at the ceiling, envisioning construction workers toiling deep into the night in a brightly lit big hole somewhere, in an attempt to return life-as-we-knew it to thousands of aggravated Comcast customers. By morning, all would be well. Or so Pajamadeen thought.

By the time she awoke at 4:30 a.m. and rushed into the office like a kid on Christmas morning rushing to unwrap presents, cable was back. Yesssss. NaBloPoMo was out, requiring as it does an at least once-daily blog post, but the rest of life was back. Yes, she could cheat and change the dates of her blog posts, but she thought it unsportsmanlike, given the fact that NaBloPoMo is a contest, with prizes.

Tornadic CloudsAs the day progressed, previously sunny skies became darker and darker. This was especially surprising considering this summer’s drought and the approximately two occasions on which it rained. What this summer’s thunderstorms had lacked in drama, they were about to make up for with a vengeance. The neurotic Penelope Puppy, always afraid of any unusual noise (the sound of car keys rattling, the sound of tin foil fluttering), loud noise, unexpected noise or unanticipated movment, paced nervously about, awaiting assistance. This ritualistic “assistance” consists of Pajamadeen sitting on the sofa next to the quivering dog, who only stops shaking once she’s completely covered — every inch of her — with at least two thick comforters. Suddenly, intense lightning struck and its accompanying deafening thunderclap caused Pajamadeen to actually scream. By now, both dogs were in a frenzy, due to Pajamadeen’s scream. First, the lightning took out the transformer in front of our house. An instant later, it took out the transformer behind our house. In a twinkling, all power was out. No Internet, TV or electricity. Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said. The entire neighborhood grew darker and blacker, as the sun began to set.

Tractor, Toys for BoysPajamadeen sat on the sofa, peering about the room by candlelight. Soon, “tractor boy” would come home from work. Tractor Boy, approximately age 38, is the neighborhood l’enfant terrible, to put it mildly. He drives off proudly every day in his macho, gas-guzzling Dodge Ram, while his wife (barely) negotiates area roads in a c. 1990 Lincoln Continental boatmobile that seems to go on forever in length. For amusement, they ride an ATV across the lawn of their neightor when the neighbor isn’t home. Tractor Boy and his wife have a largish German Shepherd attack dog. It has attacked many neighborhood dogs; Pajamadeen can’t help but notice that her two dogs in a fenced yard are the only two which have survived.

For amusement, Tractor Boy likes to drive his large tractor up and down the road every single evening, accompanied by his wife, children and German Shepherd. You’d think the family would protest this cheap form of entertainment, but apparently not. Tractor Boy doesn’t actually use or need a tractor; he works in the “city,” about one mile away, at probably the only place in town which will employ him — his father’s cement plant. When the power’s out, Tractor Boy sprints for his macho welding shop (formerly known as his garage) and revs up his huge generator. Then he stands in his front yard, grinning and gloating, every light in his house ablaze, while the rest of us sit in darkness. Pajamadeen has also learned that generators make lots of never-ending noise. As you might imagine, no one in the neighborhood will speak to Tractor Boy.

Log Cabin on a  Snowy Eve, Fenton Fairy LightPajamadeen envisioned a candle-lit and boring evening, with perhaps a peanut butter sandwich for sustenance. Power was probably down throughout the area; this little hamlet of perhaps 250 people wasn’t going to be high on the list of places to go. It would be at least a day before she had juice again, she thought grimly. It wasn’t easy to assess the situation, as our hand-cranked “green” radio from Africa, which relies on elbow strength to get it cranking, was only carrying a selection of country music stations. But lo! There is a God in heaven! Just as Tractor Boy came barreling down the road, repair crews appeared. It was a miracle! People do notice your existence in Tiny Town. Within minutes, power was restored, Tractor Boy stood dejectedly in his front yard, and everyone lived happily ever after. Until the next time.

Read more Tiny Town news.

Photo credits: Coding Horror, The Nashville Calendar, and Robert Meganck

Copyright ©2007


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