Sunday, June 17, 2012

And now a word from our sponsor…

I last left my readers on the edge of a tantalizing summer day in Istanbul and last night, was all set to fill in the details with my “Turkish Delights” entry. But the wireless in my hotel would have none of it. What’s that William Carlos Williams poem? “So much depends upon a red wheel barrow, glazed with rain water, besides the white chickens.”

Williams, was speaking of course metaphorically, but my modern day version is all too-painfully real. “So much depends on a little green Skype blob next to the four-line black fan on my white computer with a blue screen.” And that green blob and black fan just kep disappearing over and over again last night at their whim, along with the blue line that would get stuck as it started its journey from left to right. I fought it, cursing and screaming for some thirty minutes, with increasing despair as my usual Restart strategies failed and finally gave up.

Next morning, dressed for battle again, tried my room, the rooftop and the lobby, only to be thrown to the ground. But now I was getting desparate to hear an answer from my host in Estonia, my next stop. So ten minutes before teaching my one-day course, I went to Internet Explorer in someone’s office, signed on to AOL and was on my way to satisfaction when AOL informed me my password was wrong. WHAT?!! Over and over and over again. So I clicked “Forgot your password?” and something came up that said the equivalent of “Sorry. We can’t help you.” And that’s how I began teaching today.

Luckily, hours of slapping my body and holding hands and dancing and beating xylophone bars with mallets washed it all away, but I knew it awaited me again at the end. Back to the office—same old “you’re out of luck, bud.” To my host’s house on her laptop. The equivalent of “Don’t you get it? It ain’t happenin’!” Last chance—my computer back at the hotel.

Can you feel my anxiety and frustration mounting? Do you care? Actually, I hope not—this is perhaps the most boring travel story ever written! But since writing is catharsis, I need to do it. Anyway, I’m pretty resourceful and usually can imagine Plans B, C, D, E and so on to the middle of the alphabet, but I just had to admit that I was running out of options and simply didn’t know what to do. Besides the necessary Estonia information, all the other worry synapses in the brain were lighting up—identity theft? Two days of lost e-mails? All of my e-mails gone? My blog readers turning away from me in disappointment? My secret love affair with Hanna Montana brought to light? (Hey, I’m trying to keep your interest here.)

So it was with fear and trembling that I entered my room. I ritually washed my hands, played a game of Soiltaire to see which way the luck flag was flying (I won—good sign), laid my hands on the computer and chanted the Dharania to Remove Disaster. I think I can safely say Buddha didn’t have this situation in mind when he inspired this chant, but as you perhaps have guess—it workd! All four black lines on the fan and the welcome sight of the green Skype blog!! Never has that stupid AOL voice sounds so musical to my ears—Welcome! You’ve got mail!” And not only did I make the Estonia connection, but one daughter had written a sweet Father’s Day note and the other called on Skype as I finished reading the first one’s e-mail. Life was good again.

So though I’ll probably finish writing about Turkey in Estonia and it will already feel like yesterday’s news, just wanted to get this off my chest. There. And now (well, soon), back to our regularly scheduled program.

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