Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I Hear You Knockin ...

A great kindness was done to me recently. I don't want to get into specifics not because I have anything to hide but I don't want my more cynical readers to think I'm trying to play people. Let's just say that I expressed a desire in a maybe I might... sort of way, and much to my surprise a kind and generous reader took it upon himself to provide the means to an end. I thanked him (? I'm pretty sure it's him) immediately. Trouble was, I needed to avail myself of his generosity at the time to simply keep a roof over my head. The discussion as to how I can hold down a full time job and always hear the wolves howling in the yard will take place another day. Super secret heroin habits can take a huge chunk of your funding. Nuff said. I did what I needed to at the time. Trouble was, that decision came with a heaping helping of guilt. I really felt since this person took it upon himself to do something nice for me, I was obligated to do this nice thing by proxy. Then I reasoned that in reality, because I hadn't asked in the first place, that I technically could use things as I saw fit. So I did.

Flash forward a couple weeks to my plans to get myself a working cell phone. I had spent about $50 (plus shipping) to order up a fresh cell battery and a new sym card. After two weeks of waiting I finally had everything I needed. I put the new sym card and battery into the old cell phone, hit the power button and, as they say in French fromage!, I had a working cell sans phone plan. Since Nextel was the exclusive dealer for this phone I even went to the Nextel web site and picked out the plan and features I figured I wanted so as to prevent having to haggle with unscrupulous wireless dealers (say it isn't so!).

That afternoon I scampered around the corner to 23rd/3rd to Abdullah's House of Wireless Phones, Plans and Lampshades and Pens and Souvenir Lighters. I show him my shiny, beepy phone and explain that I just replaced it's innards and wanted to select a phone plan. After much confusion about how such a thing is possible he makes a couple of phone calls, the first was to some Al Qaeda cell, the second being to a Nextel phone OK person. After relaying all my personal 411 he hands the phone to me and I give her even more info, then back to him. He gets a few instructions and then says OK and hangs up. At which point he looks me in the eye and informs me that they will be only too happy to provide me phone service, provided I provide them a 500.00 cash deposit.


Are they out of their minds? Why, I ask with all the wireless sellers and all the wireless companies would anyone be stupid enough to plunk down 500 hard earned dollars for cell phone service? Obviously, I left. Of course, I immediately attempted to accomplish on-line what I couldn't accomplish live. I ordered Nextel's cheapest phone with the plan I wanted. My intent was to then swap the working sim card on the cheap phone with my expensive phone and fromage! I've got service. Evil? I think fiendishly clever. It appeared to work, as they gave me an order number and a "thank you" e-mail. Unfortunately that was followed a few hours later by a "call us immediately scam boy" e-mail. The $500 hate tax was back on. Which I don't really understand because I know my credit isn't great but I do have credit. I have lived at the same address for 16 years. I've had phone service in my name at the same number for over a decade. When did I turn out to be such a telephone outlaw?

Of course, initially I redoubled my efforts to get a teeny little talking device that only works right half the time so I too can have barely audible conversations with people I don't really want to talk to while buying hemorrhoid cream at the Duane Reade. The best way to get me to want something is to tell me I can't have it. Finally, after coming at the same problem from as many angels as I could, it became pretty clear that the path of least resistance was to forget all about salvaging my cute Nextel phone and settle for one of the pre paid (and not nearly as attractive) models AT&T carries. So I take the half hour or so it takes to fill out all the information on the order form, I put in my credit card info (after verifying the available balance, more than enough) and get a puzzling message that says simply, use a different card. Huh? I try again, same result. That's when it hit me. I'm being blocked at every turn. The Universe doesn't want me to get this phone. I'm not sure why, I'm just sure this is true. You see, it's not enough to be the type of person who realizes the Universe talks to you. You also have to be smart enough to hear what she's saying. And then do it. And with that, I gave up my quest to attain the Holy Cell.

The point? Once I decided to listen to the Universe for a bit it wouldn't shut up. I began to think I had some unfinished business to attend to regarding my benefactor and his generosity. I had just spent two weeks and an entire day off scrambling around to secure cell phone service that I wanted (basically, so Neo could always reach me, and maybe The Hellcat) but truly didn't need. And here I cavalierly ignore it when someone provides me with the means to get something I kinda sorta do need. It would, at the very least increase my comfort level and certainly make me feel like a grown up. So after deciding that ignoring the Universe should come with a small price and taking a good hard look at the available credit I was going to use to help secure said Holy Cell, I decided to max that motherfuckin card and get myself the gift that was intended for me. So I did. And tonight, when I curl up on what will surely be the most comfortable place I've ever owned, I'll think of you. And how I always need to remember there are some extraordinarily kind and generous people out in the world. And that sometimes the Universe speaks to you. Sometimes it tells you "no". And if you're really lucky, sometimes the Universe takes you by the shoulders and turns you around and says, "look there".