Saturday, October 29, 2016

defeating Rogers, maybe, and brava to Madeleine Thien

Now, this is the definition of a friend: someone who is willing to spend TWO SOLID HOURS  on the phone with Rogers to help sort out a dizzy friend's cable, cell phone, home phone and internet needs. Yes - last night, friend Lynn - another Lynn, now known as Lin Lin, came here for dinner. She is an extremely efficient and capable person, and when she heard my tale of woe - I'd just spent another frustrating hour on the phone with Rogers and with Bell, trying to sort things out - she said, Let's fix it now, whipped out her phone, and we were off to the races.

It was a learning experience to watch Lin Lin patiently get the representatives to explain the incredibly confusing bundles - if you get this, you don't get this, if you save on this, you might have to pay that, on and on and on. I would have given up after ten minutes; in fact, the reason I was in that mess is because I DID give up after ten minutes, every time. It's so boring and convoluted - and of course, designed to be just that. Lin Lin pointed out to the customer service reps that I was paying for far more cell phone than I needed, that a much cheaper home phone option existed that no one had told me about, that I was paying an exorbitant fee for channels I never watch. We had very good service - a man called Ceta or Seta and then in the fabulous Retention department, Kelly in Ottawa. The best.

And now, if all goes well - and I fully expect it NOT to - I will pay $100 less a month for a service tailored to my specific needs. And if that's not a friend, I don't know what is. In return, I gave her dinner, a bottle of my homemade salad dressing, and a bunch of my just-dug-up garlic with dirt clinging to the roots. I owe her a great deal more.

It's 18 degrees! Fantastic out there - a last gasp of mildness before doom and winter. And the @#$# U.S. election. I do not want to hear the words "Hillary's email" ever again, please God, give us a break and save the planet, let this pass quickly by. Listening to Trump crow makes me want to jump off a bridge.

Meant to say before: congratulations to Madeleine Thien for winning the Governor General's award for her novel "Do not say we have nothing." I met Maddy at a UBC Creative Writing department event where alumnae, including Maddie and I, were invited to speak about the writing life; I liked and admired her instantly. She radiates an intense and enviable calm and focus. Watching her, I was reminded of another acquaintance - the actor Ian Charleson, later one of the stars of "Chariots of Fire" and other movies and plays, whom I met at theatre school in 1971. We could all tell he was the real deal - a superstar, an enormous innate talent. Nothing show-offy about him, just the blazing glow of brilliance. Maddy, in a similarly quiet way, has that too.

While the rest of us are just trying to get our cable TV's to work. Luckily, to cheer us up, there's this:

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