I feel like I spend more time apologizing here than actually writing anything of interest. Last week was about as bananas as weeks get for me, at least one that didn’t involve some sort of tragedy or truly bad luck. No, it was all plain old work, just work, plus an extracurricular event on Friday night that I was involved with executing. Everything went well, but it was just one of Those Weeks — never ahead, always juggling 10 different things, dropping lots of balls but scooping them back up and trying to get them aloft again.
At one point Friday, I realized I had two text conversations going, a Google hangout, an urgent email dangling in reply, and, AND, a third separate text conversation with the cable company, which left me vowing that this time, no kidding, I am fucking DROPPING cable internet because Xfinity sucks so bad.
Long story short: I carried a bag of trash out to the cans and found the cable line drooping to about the level of my chin. Some utility crews have been in the neighborhood trimming trees away from power lines, doing their usual job, which is to say, not quite the work of a trained arborist. A limb must have knocked it loose. We still had cable, but probably not for much longer.
Xfinity makes such a mockery of customer service. I can feel my chest tightening just thinking about Friday. It used to be, you called a number, made your way through a decision tree, and ended up speaking to a heavily accented woman in a call center far away across the Pacific. I would ask where they were, and they would always deflect, but from their accents I deduced: The Philippines. But those days, those crazy days of yore, are gone forever. Now you must communicate with these individuals via text message. And because they aren’t using Apple’s iMessage, this means thumb-typing, not my strong suit. Fortunately, there’s a workaround, I forget what they call it in the OS, where you can type on your screen, cntrl-C, and then paste it manually on your phone. Laborious, but effective.
Are the people you are texting with in the Philippines? No idea. They could be on the moon for all I know. Based on their replies, which ranged from perfect answers to a standard question — no doubt copied and pasted from a script — to broken English on non-standard ones, they’re almost certainly not in the U.S.:
Comcast Care Chat: Rest assured that once the technician goes there, all your frustrations will stop so you will finally have your peace of mind.
Long story short, the line was fixed, but the guy restrung it differently, so it’s probably going to come down again when we have the giant dying oak tree removed from the back yard tomorrow. Speaking of things that tighten my chest. There’s losing a tree that’s probably close to a century old, for starters, and then what it will cost: The price of a decent vacation.
So at the start of a month, when the stock market is tanking and public hysteria is rising and Rush Limbaugh, that ignorant pile of crap, is telling people that it’s the common cold and anyway, that doctor talking about this disease like she knows something? She’s Rod Rosenstein’s sister, you know:
Rush Limbaugh and right-wing fringe sites are attacking Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official handling the coronavirus response, because she is Rod Rosenstein's sister. They're spreading the lie that she's part of the deep state and trying to tank the markets to weaken Trump.
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) February 26, 2020
No wonder I’m in such a foul mood.
But by this time Wednesday things should have slowed down considerably, so look for more then.
In the meantime, here is a very strange story that I kept expecting to go in a different direction than it did. The headline is Miranda’s Rebellion, but it’s really about the agonies of a southern homemaker who can’t stop the bells clanging in her head:
It is white women in the Deep South who have remained [Republican] loyalists, the research showed, giving Trump 64 percent of their vote in 2016, a figure that did not include Miranda Murphey, who had first started reevaluating her politics after the election of Barack Obama, even though she had voted Republican.
“It was all the comments I kept hearing, like, ‘Change the channel, I don’t want to see that black face,’” she said. “It was always that he was black, not that he was liberal, not that there was a problem with some policy. I always thought being a Republican meant supporting the military and lower taxes, not being racist and ignorant.”
Then came Trump, who Miranda found so morally repugnant that for the first time in her voting life she wrote in the name of the Libertarian Party candidate and went to bed expecting that good and decent conservatives would do the same. She woke up realizing she was wrong. Church members had voted for Trump. Her parents had gone for Trump. Phillip [her husband]: Trump.
Miranda made a new friend at the start of the administration, and I kept waiting for her to leave Phillip for Liz, but that didn’t happen. But it’s a very good story, and I recommend it.
Also: Mayor Pete is out. So there’s that.
As for me, here’s to an easier week for me, you and everybody else. Wash your hands.