Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Enemy… Returns


Today, beware the return of an old enemy. 
“Horoscopes are so dramatic and silly,” I said sipping my morning coffee as Jackson drank from his water bowl. 
Pushing the newspaper aside I opened my computer to this message: ‘You are not connected to the internet.’
“What’s going on?”
The cat shrugged and licked his butt.
Beware the return of an old enemy.  Darn that horoscope!

Indeed.  Double-checking my computer confirmed I wasn’t connected to the internet, which meant I was shut out of my Facebook feed, I was blocked from tweeting this news to my twitter followers and I was prohibited from watching the latest dancing cat videos on youtube.  My life had screeched to a halt.

I needed to fix this.  And I had to discover who my horoscope’s “returning enemy” was because the lack of an internet connection must be tied to this old enemy.  They happened on the same day, therefore they must be connected.  Hello—it was only logical.

“Hi, neighbor,” Harold said in the dark morning, poking his 86-year-old head over our shared fence.  His eyes peered into our kitchen through the open door.
“You’re an early riser, Harold.”  I looked at him closely, my eyes shrinking to a squint.  He was old but was he the enemy?
“I understand your internet is out—”
“How did you know?” I said suspicion rising in my voice.  Ah-ha!  Harold was the enemy!  I flicked on the porch lamp, which flooded his face with a jolt of light.  He blinked from the brightness.   “Harold, what did you do to the wires? ”
“Nothing.  I—I didn’t do nothing.”  He shook his head. 
“Then how did you know my internet was out?”
“Because, ‘cause mine is, too,” he stammered.
“Likely story,” I shook my head.  “I’m calling our service provider.”
“I already did.  They can’t come out until next week—”  
“Forget it.  I’ll handle this.”  I said reaching for my phone.  With the door closed, I considered the facts: Harold had thwarted me in the past but if he too lacked an internet connection, he couldn’t be the cause of my internet outage nor could he be “my returned enemy”.

I dialed Time-Warner and spent the next 40 minutes punching the keypad in response to the menu voice-prompts.  There is a special circle of hell reserved for voice-prompts and it’s located between Hoarders and Thieves because they hog up my time as they steal my patience.  Maybe voice-prompt menus were my returning enemy…  Although it didn’t explain how a voice prompt could disconnect my internet.  Horoscopes were mental puzzles!

When I finally got a live human, “Bob” told me, “there isn’t an outage problem in your area.”
“Then tell me why my neighbor and I don’t have an internet connection.”
“Coincidence?” Bob asked.  “Whatever?  We’ll have someone there in 6 days to check it out?”  Since Bob was asking me questions with his Valley Girl rising tone, I said “No”, which convinced him to send a technician to my house that day.
Ahhh, the benefits of dealing with people who ask questions?  Over those who make statements.

A smiling Rafael of Time-Warner arrived in his bucket truck and after climbing the pole determined that Harold and I were right.  We lacked an internet connection in our homes.  Perhaps Rafael was my returning enemy?  Impossible, I’d never met him before and besides, with his big, white smile, he couldn’t know the meaning of “enemy”. 

Instead Rafael found something—a part of the black Time-Warner cable had a hole in it.
“A squirrel chewed through it,” he said pointing to the now exposed, plastic white wire.



My old enemy had returned!  It was the squirrel, the one I had stopped from eating our apricots!  I considered the rodent’s cunningness.  He’d come back, weeks later, with a vendetta.
“Squirrels chewing though cables, that never happens,” I said.
“Oh, it happens all the time,” Rafael said replacing the cable.
“But this chew-through, it’s particularly bad,” I said peering around my yard for the varmint. 
“Nope, it’s just standard,” he smiled as I slumped.  He continued, “actually the unique thing about this chew-through is how small it is.  It knocked out connectivity to just two houses: yours and the neighbor’s.”
“It’s like the squirrel was getting revenge on me,” I said my eyes expanding, my breath coming fast.  “Like he wanted to get me back after I deprived him of my apricots!  But I showed him!  Yes, I did!”
“Uh, sure,” Rafael said leaping into his truck and racing off.

For having a brain the size of a walnut, this squirrel was a worthy foe.  It knew revenge was a dish best served cold.  Well, Ha! squirrel!  You couldn’t eat my apricots and you couldn’t keep me disconnected from watching cat videos.  I wiiin!

Squirrel 1; New House Girl 2

Even though the horoscope had been right about my day, I still thought horoscopes were overly dramatic and super silly.  Like, right?