Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brain teaser

Time flies (there's that theme again...) when you're working hard. In addition to keeping the flugelbindery running, I've been setting up my New York apartment. I'm not trying anything fancy, just looking for something to sit on, somewhere to sleep, something to make coffee with, and of course somewhere for my clothes. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Every time I move I'm amazed by how you very quickly get yourself tied into some kind of catch-22, Gordian, Escheresque knot. So here's a brain teaser for your perfect Saturday morning.

I was working on the flugel frontier the whole week, but flew back Thursday evening because the cable company was going to come by to set up my internet and phone connection, which I need if I want to work remotely from New York. I took an appointment between 6 and 9 pm on Friday, certain that I could be there (and safe in the knowledge that you can still head out for dinner at 9.30 in New York). I was (and am) going to fly back to work on Saturday.

My friends Montse and Jerry came by. We opened a bottle of wine. Ate some wheat thins. The clock ticked, and tension mounted... Soon enough it was 9 pm and there was no cable man. No. cable man. No. Cable. Man. I called the company on my cell phone.

The automated system asked for my accout number. I entered my cell phone number, but the automated message said, "You have enterred a cellular number. Please enter a valid phone number." Now by way of background, for those of you who don't live in the US, the cable companies here have heavily pushed their telephone service, along with cable television and internet. In other words, many people, like me, are trying to set up a phone number but are being asked for a phone number to do so. Recalling this paradox, I realized that I had given my Boston land line. After getting through the menu, I reach an operator and was told...

"I do apologize for the inconvenience. Our technician came by at 7 but you didn't answer." And I: "BUT I WAS HERE!" "Our records show that he called you at 7 pm, but there is no reply. We've rescheduled you for Wednesday next week between 2 and 6 pm." So here it is.

The cable company wants to set up my phone service, indeed boasts this as a great service, but in order for me to do this, I need to have a phone they can call to confirm I'm at home. Does not compute.

* * *

But I've got a plan. My friend Vinny lives three doors down. I am going to run a long phone line along the street. Or perhaps she can just stick her head out the window and shout to me. Or perhaps I can give a home phone number in London, Venice, or Australia and one of you can e-mail me when the cable guy knocks at your door.



Anonymous said...

Hilarious!! If it wasn't so frustrating, I know.
This whole little story confirms a theory I have, I'll save it for private communication. ;)
Good luck...

Anonymous said...

why not bring back tying notes to pigeons? :)
oh i hate when they lie... they say they've called...when they didn't. grr. hope this gets resolved soon!

Bombay Beauty said...

Mia -- I agree -- it really has all the features of the best tragicomedies! Waiting to hear this theory that explains institutional incompetence!

Nancy -- Indeed, why not a pigeon? But (fingers crossed!) looks like it will happen this Friday...


Planethalder said...

I love it that you returned to NYC and have a friend called Vinny!

Bombay Beauty said...

PH- normally I change the names to protect the innocent, but in this case my friend does in fact go by Vinny! BB

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