Some years back — 2000-ish or so — I had an assignment to interview two brothers from Fort Wayne who were both living in Israel during one of the intifadas. Because of the time difference and their schedules, it was easier for me to call them from my home phone before 8 a.m. than from the office. I figured I’d expense the bill, until it arrived. About 60 minutes total talk time was something like $180. And while it would have felt good to stuff that one down the paper’s maw, I figured it was worth another phone call.
Good news! If I signed up for international calling, the $5 extra fee would be waived for this month, and I could cancel it after the following month’s bill. And as a welcome-to-the-world gift, the two calls to Jerusalem would be knocked down to reflect the international-plan rate, and cost more like $15. Sign me up, then! I canceled the plan after the interval and saved the paper $160.
That’s when I knew land lines, and long distance, were over. Skype hadn’t come along yet, but broadband was spreading like wildfire, and there were all sorts of ways to talk as long as you wanted to anyone with a computer, free or close to it. The days of “phone’s for you! Hurry, it’s long distance!” were past sundown.
So a few months ago we canceled our land line, and in the process, the cable company accidentally shut off our HBO, too. I called to get it back on, and the guy in the call center apologized profusely and said he’d throw in the premium channel of my choice free for the next three months, just so no hard feelings. We opted for Showtime.
We knew it would be going away sooner or later, and Friday night, the first of the month, alas, Showtime was but a disappointing screen telling us to contact the cable company to get this exciting channel. Oh, well; we’ll miss “Masters of Sex” — love that Lizzy Caplan. Switched over to HBO. No HBO. Got on the phone. The operator was apologetic, and by way of keeping us very, very happy, turned on HBO AND Showtime, threw in a bunch of sports stuff and knocked $10 off our bill, for a year.
I expect, at the end of the year, we’ll get another blandishment to get us to stay a little longer.
Cable is over. But you knew that.
You know what else is over? The bicycling season. We’ll have some warm days here and there, but for all intents and purposes, Halloween is the last day for this latitude. At the beginning of the season, I said I would ride 1,000 miles this summer. After a month or two it became obvious I wasn’t going to make it, but I thought I’d keep trying. And what do you know? I logged 870 miles, and that’s with a cold spring, eye surgery, a vacation and other distractions. Started April 5, last rode a significant distance Oct. 15. Not too terrible.
Riding season is over for another reason — SAD FACE . Today I took a bad step off the stairs and hyperextended my knee badly enough that, a few hours later, I’m fearing the worst. I still can’t put any weight on it, and I’m fortunate to have some old crutches around, because without them, I’d be immobile. I’ll see the doc tomorrow if it doesn’t improve overnight. For now, ice, elevation and 800 mgs of vitamin I. Fingers crossed.
It couldn’t have happened on a worse day, as I was just about to go outside and help Alan with one of our infamous home-improvement projects, on the last day of his vacation. This is a patio we’re building, and there were six yards of topsoil that had to be wheelbarrowed out of the driveway.
He’s out there doing it now, in full darkness. My body serves me well most days, but it has terrible timing for its mishaps. Fucking stairs.
Here’s to a good week with good medical news.