Friday, August 26, 2011

Goodnight, Irene. NOT


NOT "finer" in Carolina

It's Friday.The last time we chatted, I took you down to our beach cottage via Memory Lane.  It's on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Specifically, Corolla.  The memory, however, was all about Charlie-the-hurricane and how we weathered it.  Of course, hats off to the storm-savvy-harpist friend who was visiting - along with ten children, a grandfather and a Brittany spaniel.  So, as to Charlie, we had the 'right stuff' and a happy ending even.  In fact, without realizing/planning it, a la Mr. Frost, I bid you sweet dreams with a famous poem.  It referred to a famous double play - Tinker to Evers to Chance - called "Baseball's Sad Lexicon" by Franklin Pierce Adams.
      Did I mention today is Friday?  Right.  And it's been a most erratic/uncharacteristic day for your devoted teller of tales.  You see, rather than writing in the comfort of my cozy imagination, I've been alternately #1 mesmerized by input from the TV or, #2 cooking.  The driving force for #1 is ongoing reportage of an approaching devastation in the form of Hurricane Irene and the reason for #2 is an anticipation of the imminent loss of electricity and its attendant amenities like the ability to see, to have at hand edible sustenance as well as drinkable potables ALL perks that accompany #1.
      (Ironically, there was an excellent chance of my not being abreast of this potential crisis because just yesterday, my husband announced - in that 'glum-chum', defeatist tone that men acquire along with their wedding rings - "The TV isn't working.  No reception.  Wants a 'valid something-or-other card'."  Call me silly, but I'm from the school of 'if-it-breaks-fix-it'.  But in the wife department, after forty-three years and NOT, thank goodness, inherited the "dumb ass" gene in this arena, I knew better than to suggest calling a repair man.  That would cost money - scarce enough already these days.  No invoices, thank you.  No voices period, actually.  Silence is good at times like this.  That way the bearer of the negative news doesn't know what you're thinking. 
      Now my thoughts were actually quite mundane, desultory.  Nothing clever - like a solution was popping up.  BUT.  Although it's not my fave appliance, I'm not averse to talking on the phone in a situation like this.  I called the cable provider service department, in THIS case actually grateful to be interacting with a speaking robot.  Robot inquired as to the purpose of my call - even providing choices - and, once we were on the same blank, e-reader page, provided two alternatives.  I could push the red, lighted button adjacent to the 'valid something-or-other card'-holder - if my control box has one - OR turn the power completely off, count to thirty, turn the power back on and check for signs of life in the TV.  I elected the latter option and, as instructed by robot who announced she was still there and holding, duly noted that the search was on for the satellite accompanied by a horizontal progress bar which paraded across the screen, left to right, indicating progress in rising percentages.  Robot cheerfully reminded me to tell her when the process was complete.  I finally said yes and hung up.  Sounds abrupt, I know but does etiquette require an expression of gratitude to a telephone robot? The salient point of this exercise, the thing that elevates it to a class of things lovely is the TV was functioning flawlessly.  Repair person indeed.)
      So it was, then, that I had the ability to monitor the uninvited Irene's progress with visuals all day today. Unless I was cooking, and I would increase the volume during these interruptions.  It is five thirty, PM and I just heard a broadcaster say, "Nature always bats last" via, "You know what they say."  Well I don't.  Do you?  I mean who is this "they" to whom he blithely alludes?  And what of this cryptic "bats"? Is that some new age 'code' for something sinister to which I, for one, am not privy? Hmmmm?  At least MY baseball analogy was upbeat, artful, had "IT" even.
      The entire East Coast is currently a bit on edge, pal, as to the safety, fortunes, even well being of the population - young, old, loved, infirm ALL stripes.  I BETCHA they'd prefer you keep your little seriously unsettling old saws to yourself.  Hubby and I, while escorting Bridie on her constitutional through the neighborhood, couldn't help but notice the damage-mitigating precautions folks have effected - securing garden fixtures, removing deck furniture, storing cars in their garages.  The same ole same ole waving/smiling rituals were maintained, we picked up after our perambulating pets, but there was an eerie broken silence during such activity.  Our home - today - sits on a point of land jutting into the Lynkhorn Bay, contiguous with the Chesapeake whose shores may very well be re-sculpted by Sunday morn.  And still, we stare at the developing events and strain to hear the now reporting-in-the-rain talking, gelled and wind-blown heads.
      (Of course, looking at the bright side, as a family, an avid sports-fan-family, we would have been denied hours of good news and exciting 'plays' were it not for the TV.  And we owe
it all to the man my son - pictured left with his son - is fond of referring to as "TV Guy".  TV Guy was part of a wonderful Christmas present from the children, which, once installed, would allow us to see both cable and local Steelers' games.  Now you have to be special to know TV Guy and he had been here once with my son under some ruse and during much company and confusion.  I just recall asking him to help our daughter Julie - or ANYbody - to rotate and straighten the Christmas tree - glares all around - except for TV Guy. 
      I will also always recall the day he was to come to the house and install the present.  Son Philip called to say TV guy was running late.  Eileen was having trouble reaching the only nurse - surprised? - who knew the date and time of her next appointment.  I realized I'd fed the dog twice.  Perhaps as a reward, Bridie soon loudly announced the arrival of TV Guy, a dear friend/helper of Philip's in-laws.  He made a rather 'man-on-a-mission' entrance, armed with several boxes and four hours of chit-chat.  He installed, set, tested 'tv' things and instructed me about 'things TV' such that we got reception of local channels and cable beautifully.
      The side-dish to this main course, unfortunately, was that I then knew more about TV Guy's personal, psychological, social and professional life than anyone in the world.  Added to this bank of data was the same HIIPA-forbidden information about his former wife, "multi-personalitied" daughter and her seven year-old son.  TV Guy had raised this guitar-progeny lad since he was a fretfully young four months.  I guess it could have been worse.  I mean, the entire cast of dysfunctional characters could have been waiting for him in his van and, for any number of reasons, come in!)
      Rather, it was not, he finally went out and we can endure the tension and concern and "bat" baggage that are unique to folks who live quietly, in a lazily lovely community in a small home overlooking usually calming, brackish water and among similarly-uncomplicated people.  Of course, in the interest of levity, Phil and I talked as we walked about a few people who - as our offspring are wont to say - don't "roll the way" we do.  I guess my favorite of our musings was that a certain twosome, having the true misfortune of a wife recently afflicted with escalating Alzheimer's married to a husband who tended toward physical abuse even when she was not only sanguine but exceptionally gifted in the visual Arts, would not fare well.  Perhaps he would enthusiastically, even coyly, suggest to her impressionable/accommodating mind, that it would be fun - and good luck - if they went out to their secluded, manicured ornate atrium behind their home so that he could bind her with silk scarves to the seated statue of Buddha.  She'd be thrilled, poor dear.
      Mind's a tricky space, oft crowded with mischief-minded imps.  For now, I want to assure you that: Kathy D is safe - she was considering "riding it out" in Rockaway with a few cans of Spam and some wine; to our knowledge, the fam AND the community are following instructions and, for now, are dry and, to all of you who may chance upon these words, we ARE our brother's keeper and, til we meet again, I wish you "Bacon and tears in the morning, champagne and laughter at night."  Later, Lorane. . . .
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