[A photo of the morning after]
You know, if you tracked me down when I was 16, 18, or even 21 and asked me what I thought I might be doing when I was in my thirties, I doubt I would have said, "Standing shin deep in wet snow, at night, on a forested mountain top, in the middle of nowhere, trying to make a call on my cell phone." As I stared up into the hellish orange-pink glow of street and city lights on the snow clouds and tried to ignore the melted snow in my boots, I wonder what had I done that was so wrong that I'd ended up here.
And, why would I be doing this? One of the great perks to living in rural Arkansas is that a lot of the amenities really are not that great if they even exist at all. Over the last year or so, our phone line craps out after we have a lot of rain. Apparently, back to back snow storms with a thaw in between also has this effect. What is even worse is that I can hear everyone, but no one can hear me. It makes for a very frustrating and confusing conversation until I figure what is wrong.
I called the Century Tel, our phone company, on my cell phone a couple of days ago to complain about it. They said they'd send someone out to check on it. The next day the phone seems to work so I assume they've fixed it. Then, it snows again and the line craps out again. I try calling them from home this time.
Me: "I'm calling because I'm having trouble with my phone line."
Century Tel: "I'm sorry, I can barely hear you."
Me: "I KNOW YOU CAN'T HEAR ME, THAT IS WHY I AM CALLING. I CALLED A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO FOR THE SAME REASON. WHY IS IT NOT FIXED?" In case the all-caps didn't tip you off I was standing in the middle of my kitchen screaming. This was the only way the Century Tel girl could here me, though I suspect I sounded a little irate. Okay, more than a little probably.
Century Tel: "Oh. Oh. We'll have someone out tomorrow morning."
Really, it's unfair to be grumpy with the poor Century Tel girl on the phone. Actually, on the whole, everyone at Century Tel I've dealt with have been very polite and responsive. The problem is that our phone just doesn't work all that well.
According to the technicians who came in the morning, the problem is not with the Devil Queen's phone lines, the line from the Devil Queen to our service box, or even the line from the service box to the "pedestal" ("the green box in my front yard" is not the correct, technical term I'm told). It's the branch line from our "pedestal" to wherever in the seven hells the thing goes. This problem is being caused by moisture leaking into the line somewhere. The problem is that by the time the crew made it out, the phone line had started working of its own accord. And, to pin-point the problem area, they need the line to be crapped-up. So, my phone works for now, but the problem is still unresolved.
"Give us a call as soon as it starts acting up and we'll try to isolate the problem," the technician said.
So, poor Century Tel girl, when some deranged man calls up and starts screaming at you through a bad connection, remember that it's not you, it's the phone line. And, I'm sorry anyhow. If it's not snowing, I'll walk or drive out an try to call you on my cell phone.