A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.
Ignorance is an awful thing. Arrogance is even worse. But a combination of the two, with a jigger of prejudice against the aged and a dash of an impenetrable foreign accent makes a nasty cocktail from which I had to sip frequently during my six weeks of forced banishment from the Internet.
Some techs felt obliged to instruct me as to where the “Start” button was, as if I didn’t know or couldn’t find it on my own. Fortunately the annoyance about that has become laughter. I was frequently ahead of them but then if I wanted them to be patient with me I had to be patient with them.
I sometimes had to tell a techie that I was 70 years old, not stupid, just slow. One time I was on the floor with a flashlight in one had and my phone in the other trying to read numbers off the back of the computer. The tech was so frustrated at how long it took me he just hung up. Another one was abusively condescending to me. I had to stop him in his forward motion and ask him to knock it off. He hung up.
I will have more to say about the technicians I spoke with, some of whom were intelligent, patient and eager to help me. But somewhere in the first week of November I realized the problem was not going to be solved soon. I saw I was going to have to face not being able to write and send journal entries, emails or complete and edit any of my stories for a long time. That was a big problem for me at first. I spent a lot of time staring into space, dreaming up scenarios I couldn’t write except with pen and paper. Then I recalled an event that happened to me many years ago and that left me with a great lesson which I frequently forget.
I was traveling from New York City to Boston for a long engagement. I put all my necessaries in a large duffle bag, bought a bus ticket to Boston and got in line at Gate 9 of the Port Authority. There was a frequent announcement: “Passengers going to New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, Worcester, Framingham and Boston board at Gate 9.”
A few minutes later a Red Cap came by and I gave him a dollar to stow my duffle in the luggage compartment of the bus.
Then the same announcement came over the speaker about boarding at Gate 9. But it was followed by one that said “Passengers for Boston may board at Gate 11.” I looked over at Gate 11 and saw a bus driver standing there. I excused myself from the line for a moment and went over to him. He told me the first bus was overbooked so they put on an extra one. I told him I had luggage on the other bus but he said that bus would get to Boston only about ten minutes later than he did. So I gave him my ticket and got on. At that point I was the only passenger. I sat down to read my book but something was bothering me.
I thought to myself: Well, in the long run it doesn’t matter where this bus is going or where that bus is going, what matters is that my luggage and I are on the same bus. So I got off and went around behind to the first bus. The driver was busy taking tickets and letting people on board. I looked into the luggage bin and saw a large duffle. I reached in, pulled it out and saw that it wasn’t mine. I shoved it back and saw another large duffle. I pulled that one out and it was mine. No one stopped to question me as I hauled it back around to my bus, put it in the luggage bin, got back on, sat down and said, “Who’s in charge here? I am.”
After a few days of staring at the floor, feeling sorry for myself and the loss of my Internet connections I decided well, if I can’t write I can still paint, plan and find other things to do. Bits of the body here and there may not function right but the brain still works. So I got busy. I didn’t know it but I had a big surprise in store for me.
The present is over with in a flash. Life isn’t in the past, it’s in the future. Who’s in charge of your life? You are.