Perhaps it’s permanent, whatever effect emanates from this conjunction of mind-boggling events. Which really amount to very little. Some weather. Little problem with the phone. Honestly, it’s not life in Dhaka, is it? No, it’s life in a leafy California high-tech executive suburb. And one shouldn’t complain. But one does. And yet one doesn’t. That is the strange thing. First, we have the swooning effects of heat on the quadriplegic. Then we have the AT&T U-verse. They are inseparable, these two. And they are more or less equally draining, exhausting, and impossible to combat.
Yes, something happened in the heat. And what exactly occurred, well, it’s one of those chicken-egg problems. It’s not only the neurological temperature regulator that’s off in my particular body. It’s the awareness that goes with it. The usual bodily signs, such as sweating, barely apply in my case. My perspiration neurology is totally messed up. I barely sweat. Which means that I get hot that much faster. There is a general sense of discomfort, and my respiration does increase. And by the time I am aware of this degree of overheating, well, it’s too late. That’s because the regulator’s timer is off. Usher me into a heavily air-conditioned building, and it will still take an hour or more before the cool registers. I will still be panting from overheating a good 90 minutes into the process, refrigerated air or not. Which sums up the cumulative effect, as well as the short term one, during a heat spell.
And in this regard I may be much like anyone else. In hot weather, things adjust. The pace slows, expectations sag. One barely notices. Summertime and the livin’…. And the breathin’. And the writin’. They are all easy, that is to say, easy not to think about. Having been meteorological and neurologically set adrift, long hours spent reading that drifter Carl Hiaasen, the normal worries and strivings…the lack of progress on writing any book…the specifics of who visits us when at our holiday rental in Wales…whether or not we serve this or that thing at the wedding reception…well, something has to give. Will there be time to have sufficient driver training before our wedding date? Hard to say. Harder to care. That is the surprising thing. Easier to let go and, for example, take delivery of the new van in late August.
Where was I? This unfamiliar question now being all too routine. Ah, yes, the languor of midsummer days, and so on. Try pulling the plug on the Internet, and you get into similar territory. Nothing to do, it seems. No communiqués from the so-called outside world. No arrangements to complete, no details to get handle. Because, what is more, one’s landline is also out, isn’t it? How is this possible? How can telecommunications lightning strike twice, more or less, in the same place? This enduring mystery endures much longer than one would like, into the wee hours actually, and so you find yourself at 10:45 PM into the second hour of a long chat with Nithwan who is doing his damnedest to help you from the subcontinent. Actually, I would like to visit the subcontinent. ‘Passage to India’ being among my all-time faves. But we don’t have all time, all the time in the world, even though that is what is happening now, as Nithwan rattles off this noisome script that he is so terribly sorry that my attempted bump up in Internet speed, a.k.a., AT&T U-verse, has actually resulted in a total cessation of telecom everything. The phone is dead. The Internet is history. And here we are, chatting on my mobile phone. Turn the modem off, he tells me. I do. Unplug the modem, he tells me. I do. We enter this number, we enter that member. Why isn’t this working? Weird, he observes.
This remarkably human utterance from the normally robotic online support world endears me greatly to M. Nithwan. I even manage to tolerate him for a few more minutes. Yes, I do hate him. There is that. But even he has found my computing conditions odd. I give him another 20 minutes to write up a ticket requesting that someone come to my home. It is after 11 PM when I give up and hang up and decide that tomorrow is another day. Which may, or may not, be true. More important, this day, I have had to abandon almost everything. Because almost everything I do, such as this blog, involves the Internet. Strange to say, but this makes me a modern guy. And for several hours I was less than modern, rather content, and even spent part of the day reading about my architectural future.
And this is an interesting thing. A thing that was readily apparent to anyone observing last week’s meeting with our architectural team. Jane and I go about this sort of thing in very different ways. We have been given several books, and actually have one of our own, detailing the various components of a wheelchair-friendly and disabled-access home design. I notice that Jane is already talking about doing this and doing that. I am not talking at all. I am dreaming, more or less, for this seems to be me. Dream a Little Dream of Me. Or is it, Dream a Little Dream for Me? Either way, I like to muse. Or nowadays I do. Having spent most of my life frantic and distracted, now that I have been battered by heat and Internet outages, damned if I’m not sitting in our apartment carport’s shade and musing. Aimlessly turning the pages of this book of beautiful wheelchair-accessible houses and – God knows what. Taking stuff in. Absorbing, ingesting, confident that this is going somewhere – and the details? Stay tuned.