["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published Sept. 20, 2012] © 2012
never been wild about night time in remote areas and all these vampire movies
of course, it’s not an issue because I live in the nice safe crime-ridden
city. If this hesitation about rural
living sounds unreasonable, I would like to point out that with a few
exceptions like King Kong (who was a reluctant city dweller), four out of five
monsters, UFO’s, vampires, amorphous masses, psychos and parapsychological
phenomena on your movie screen prefer isolated country settings.
such creatures exist in fact is immaterial.
In the middle of the night in a woodsy setting they are alive and well
in my imagination.
recently spent a long weekend in the state of Washington at a stunning but
seriously remote address I will call One Forest Primeval. Walking around in the surrounding woods, I
half expected to see a coven of Twilight
Saga Volturi materialize from the edge
of the forest and size me up for lunch.
do have to say that the Twilight series
movies don’t move me the way the old school monster flicks did. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but Godzilla
will always be my guy. And maybe it’s
because the Twilight series is far
less about vampires and werewolves than about lust. For the record, I am not against lust. In fact, some of the best moments of my life
have involved lust. But I’m generally
only attracted to creatures of my own species.
come dusk, I would look out onto the grassy clearing outside our window and
realize that it was the perfect UFO movie landing strip. If you’ve watched any sci-fi flicks at all, you
know that UFOs have a penchant for landing in just such places and scaring the
poor locals excretionless.
2 a.m., with the wind brushing tree branches ominously against the windows, I’d
develop this sudden conviction that I was in the place that The Blob (Giant
Ants, Mighty Behemoth, Boston Strangler, little green men with ray guns,
Andromeda Strain, Ghost of Christmas Past, Edward Cullen) had singled out to
first do its thing.
guess what bothers me most about being one of the first victims is that in
horror movies, it’s always a bit part.
Chomp, slosh, swallow, and you’re forgotten. It would seriously annoy me to be relegated
to a list of “also-eatens”.
course, I’m aware that the demise of the first few victims is just a little
dramatic intro designed to hold the audience until the plot thickens The Next
Day. That’s when the unwitting neighbor
shows up to borrow a cup of sugar and wonders vaguely why the front door is (a)
radioactive (b) splintered, or (c) full of giant teeth marks; investigates
further (what are neighbors for?); comes upon the Scene of Horror (which even
if the acting is really bad can usually be identified by the G-flat tremolo
chord); and drops her cup, which shatters but miraculously never severs her
anterior tibial vein, unless it’s one of those reality medical shows.
if you will, but I have a friend who didn’t take a shower for seven years after
seeing “Psycho,” and I know at least
a dozen “Jaws” viewers who never swam
in the ocean again. As for the Twilight Saga trilogy, I can’t imagine
this is doing anything for Washington state tourism, except for teenage girls
hoping to run into Robert Pattinson at the Forks Mini-Mart.
husband, meanwhile, maintains that he loves the stillness, the lack of so much
as a cricket chirping, the trees whispering in the breeze. He doesn’t know they always get the
unsuspecting ones first.
["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published Sept. 6, 2012
I can’t tell you the depths of depression I felt
when Olof announced that he wished to add additional service to our Time Warner
Cable Internet and TV accounts.
“Olof,” I pleaded. “Do not feed the lions.”
I have say in fairness to TW that our internet
service has performed almost flawlessly (except, of course, when their cable TV
technicians disconnect it while trying to fix our endless TV problems). They even repaired the cable for free when
Winston the Wonder Dog chewed through it during one of his early visits.
One of our fundamental problems is that the TV cable
installation (done separately from the internet installation) was totally
botched to begin with, requiring some dozen follow-up service calls, endless
replacement boxes, and still has sound that cuts out and a picture that breaks
up. We rent an On Demand movie, pay for
it, then get a message saying, “That movie is not available at this time.” (Do they only have one copy?)
Time Warner Cable (their motto: “We can’t fix anything”) has consistently
earned its national bottom ten customer satisfaction ranking year after year. Every
time I have to deal with them, I think nostalgically of the ever-reliable rotating
antenna I used to have on my roof which actually produced a picture and sound.
So I told Olof that if he wanted additional service,
he was ordering it and taking the day off to wait for the TW Cable guy. I even
gave him the whole script: They probably
won’t show up when they’re supposed to. They
will not achieve what they are there for.
But when they leave, you discover they’ve broken something else. They have this down to a science.
Olof, an innocent, says, “It’s a really
straight-forward installation. I don’t
see how they can mess this up.”
I was intentionally out during the appointment
time. When I came home, Olof was looking
very unhappy. He’d told them when he
made the appointment that all our TW Cable wiring had been run under the house
because of our fragile plaster walls. But the guy who shows up says he doesn’t
go under the houses. Plaster walls or
nothing. He leaves.
Olof, a TW Cable virgin, has forgotten to make sure
that everything else works before letting the cable guy escape. Sure enough, our TV service is out.
I call and get Clint. Clint promises 100% absolutely
that someone will come back by 7 p.m. to do the new installation and restore
our cable TV service. It is currently 11
We call throughout the day. Not to worry, they say. We’re on the schedule.
At 7:00 p.m. I get Brandy but ask for a
supervisor. Brandy promises that if I
will hang up, a supervisor will call me back “in ten minutes.” Like I was born yesterday? “No, thanks,” I say, “I’ll hold.” Twenty-five minutes later Brandy is back on
the line. Sorry, she says, all the
dispatchers, technicians and supervisors have gone home. They’ll need to reschedule installation and
repair. First available is Sunday, three
The next morning I am on the phone at 7 a.m. and get
Jason, an alleged supervisor. Jason
promises me that a technician will be out between 5-7 that day to restore the
TV service. The new installation will
have to wait until Sunday. I ask why no
one called us when they weren’t going to come.
He says their records show that the scheduled technician (hereafter
known as “The Lying Bag of Sheep Dung”) cryptically noted that he was “unable
to access area under house” and hence cancelled the call without ever coming
At 6:55 p.m., just as we are about to give up, a TW
Cable guy named Avery shows up. He
agrees our TV cable service is out but is puzzled as to how that could be since
the first guy never went under the house.
We are sure he is going to shrug his shoulders – it is, after all,
Friday night - and leave in TW’s inimitable way but he is determined to fix
this for us. We are so dazzled we are
speechless. Is this really a TW Cable
guy? He finally dons his hazmat suit and
crawls under the house in the now-pitch blackness and discovers that when the
first guy had been tugging on the cable from the outside of the house, he had
pulled it out from the splitter underneath the house. Avery fixes this and voila.
Avery fesses up, however, to tripping over one of
our above-ground sprinkler heads in the dark thus disabling our sprinkler
system. He offers to pay for it. We
decline. He’s honest to boot! If only we
could just get Avery on retainer.
Meanwhile, Olof decides against the new
installation. He is no longer a virgin. In fact, he’s feeling like he’s been violated
by a horde of surly ninjas. Even though
we’ve kept TW Cable because they’re the evil that we know, we conclude it’s
time for the evil that we don’t know.
Neither of us feels inclined to spend yet more time
on hold with TW Cable to cancel the new installation call that was rescheduled
for Sunday. When they come, we’ll tell
them we’ve changed our minds. Take THAT,
Time Warner Cable!
They never show up.