Sunday, August 26, 2012

What’s This Button Do?

Of course I called C. the moment I walked in the door on Wednesday afternoon. We had dinner that evening at La Santaneca and it was great to see him, though also kind of weird. We’d not met since two Fridays before, which meant we were practically strangers again, since we’d been seeing each other practically every day.

On Thursday I was planning to do some budget-related stuff, post here, do my journal and so forth, but I found out that day that my boss for the four-month position starting tomorrow has no intention of providing a phone for work, which meant either using my landline, which does not permit attaching a headset, or using my cell phone, which I pay for by the minute at a fairly hefty rate, so instead I had to shop for a new cell phone with a monthly plan.

My new boss also prefers not to provide a cube, though he was willing to if I really wanted one. Departing from my normal work persona, I decided not to give him any hassles, and said I’d be happy to work from home, which may actually be a good transition between not working at all and working somewhere else. However, by the end of this position, it will have been eleven and a half months since I haven’t had any particular place to go, so if the job extends beyond the end of the year, I’m going to ask to have a cube assigned. Not having anywhere to go means much less bike riding, which I miss, and I don’t want to completely lose the ability to tolerate the company of other human beings.

The construction of a one-story house behind our apartment building is continuing apace, many months into the project, now featuring a fellow who likes to whistle hour after hour at the maximum volume his lungs will permit. It’s tremendously irritating, but I haven’t yet made up my mind to complain. It seems churlish to object to someone literally whistling while he works. Plus, my life is 99 percent wonderfully luxurious and fabulous compared to most everyone on this planet. There is so little to grumble about that it might demonstrate good character to overlook the one or two little things that aren’t exactly perfect. Of course, if you don’t have good character, there’s no point straining yourself trying to demonstrate it. I’ll probably end up complaining.

Friday was an agreeable day of drifting from this task to that at home. C. and I went to La Santaneca for dinner and sat by the front window. It was a particularly pleasant evening.

I’ve discovered yet another reason the Employment Development Department is so efficient: they don’t bother with the part about mailing checks. They do faithfully send a claim form to fill out every two weeks, and I in turn complete it and mail it by the specified date, but seven weeks into this process, not a single check has arrived. Good thing I didn’t urgently need the money. I sent them an email about it but didn’t hear back. I suppose one of these days I’ll have to schlep over to their office, or just let it go.

By yesterday morning, the new cell phone was already in hand, and testing with my mother and sister in Michigan ensued: the cell phone I already had versus the new one, with and without headphones, speakerphone or not.

Remarks my mother made during the operation:

“Who is this?”

“Maybe try not to move your head when you talk?”

“I think it’s OK because I can hear you. It doesn’t have to be perfect. [Your sister] says ‘no,’ but she was talking about something else.”

“My eyes have rolled back in my head. I don’t know if I can get them down this time.”

In one test, Mom suggested that turning up the phone’s volume might help me hear better. I emphatically, even snidely, averred that the control was only for the ringer, but then discovered it also changed the speaker volume, and that turning it up did actually help.

Mom: “If you weren’t 2500 miles away, you’d get a hard slap.”

In the end, it turned out that the phone I already had, a Samsung with T-Mobile service, was better than an LG phone with Verizon service, so then I had to call Verizon to cancel the new phone. Despite it being Saturday at 11:30 a.m., they advised that they were “experiencing high call volumes,” though the wait didn’t turn out to be that long.

The Verizon person said, “Have you done any troubleshooting?” I said no. She said, “Let me call you on that phone,” and so did.

I answered: “Hel—”

“Sounds fine to me! I’m not noticing any problem,” she said before I could gasp out the rest of the word.

I spent the rest of yesterday puttering about and, in the evening, skimmed through a stack of periodicals, or perhaps “the” stack of periodicals, since it’s always there, the reason I hardly ever have time to read a book.
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