Invisible Mikey: Remembrance of Television Past

And the son of a @#%$ remembers it so well:


Technical Difficulties
by Invisible Mikey

The world’s most famous television test pattern was introduced by RCA in 1939 and was still in use until the 1970s. American TV stations used to broadcast it not only when scheduled programming ceased for the day, but any time unexpected technical difficulties caused a delay.  It’s been ten days since I’ve made my last confession.  I’ve been fully intending to do so, but I’ve had obstacles interrupting the broadcast for which I am heartily sorry, and I hope you’ll forgive me.

I could not get proper cell phone coverage at home or work with our previous provider.  I got a new provider and I now have coverage.  I also have this new phone with new functions and a 50-page manual that I haven’t had time to do more than speed-read through in desperation.  Our wonderful new house (which I named Casa DeLuxe in previous posts) would appear to have undergone an explosion to the casual observer.  It’s full of boxes that are partially unpacked, with belongings everywhere.  I would love to show you as well as write about it, but I can’t figure out how to get the dozens of pictures out of my new complicated phone and into the computer.  I guess I’ll be adding a “photos/captions only” post in a few days when I have solved this problem.

We got a new land-line and ISP at home, but that took hours worth of phone calls it shouldn’t have because it was a hard concept for the home phone/internet provider to understand that it would require scheduling the two different types of (subcontracted) technicians the same day in order to guarantee the service would work.  They kept saying they could schedule them days apart and it would all link up.  I’ve been through that many times before.  It often doesn’t work, and then untangling whose fault it is takes days or weeks to figure out and correct.  I don’t know what was so hard about “same day, same time” for them, but I had to go through levels of the beehive and beg the queen’s direct under-drones.  I got the two techs.  It worked, sort of.

The phone rang, however it kept intercepting all our home phone calls to re-route them to an included voicemail service we had not asked for, and that we couldn’t access.  Our callers heard a recording saying, “This voicemail box has not yet been set up.”  Technical support replied that the voicemail service “came free” because we had bundled home phone and internet service, but that we had to go through the initiation process of Harry Potter’s sorting hat, perform twelve “labors” and answer a survey before it would work.  “It burns!  It burns!  Get it off!” I cried.  The voicemail service is no more.  We get to hear our own phone calls instead of the recording secretary hearing them first.

We’ve been without a TV service for six weeks.  Despite not suffering any real ill effects, we actually want a TV service, and we’ll, like, PAY for it and everything.  First I had to endure wave after wave of sales people pushing a programming service I did not want with channels I did not want at a price I did not want with outdated technology I DEFINITELY did not want.  That’s because they’ve made “a deal” with the phone provider to sell that service bundled to home phone/internet customers.  Now every time I talk to anyone from the phone company they make another pitch for DIRECT TV.  I’ve been around the block.  If “everybody says” it’s the best, except for customers, it isn’t the best even if it IS the biggest.  Plus, I am determined to stop paying for things I won’t use.  It’s called VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY.  The lack of voluntary simplicity is a chief reason my past life was so full of clutter.  I finally found a guy who works out of his house.  He will set me up with a satellite and (mostly) just the channels I want.  His name’s Dan.  I met his wife.  THAT’S how I like to do business.  Screw you, oh super-fabulous DIRECT TV.

I passed my final test to become a nurse delegate/medication aide.  Later this week I begin training on the many-drawered med cart, the pharmacy on wheels that makes life more manageable for 30 people with nine kinds of dementia.  Without enough medication, dementia produces memorable quotes.

“How does this thing work?” (The thing being his hand.)

“Which side do I reach over to get to the ocean?” (Which side of the chair.)

“No one can help me now.” (Said under severe pain.)

“This is SUPER…super…superfluous.” (She liked the pudding.)

“I don’t want anything at all.  Just you.”

Dementia has begun to seem like old-time black & white TV static to me.  It’s an interruption to the brain’s regularly scheduled programming.  Is there a test-pattern running in their heads?

I’m more involved than ever at the Dementia Care facility.  My co-workers are heroes.  They work double shifts for low pay, nursing their own injuries and enormous stress.  This is the struggle against suffering, undertaken at an essential, visceral level.  Several residents have had falls or near-falls as their conditions worsen.  We keep them as safe as we can, but you can’t predict when a person who used to be able to walk will suddenly drop to the carpet or the grass, never to walk again without assistance.  Two of our residents have died in the ten weeks I’ve worked at the care home.  I knew both intimately.  We’re in the trenches.