PHISH

My final offer for lower credit card interest rates came via a phone call just the other day. That’s not the last time I will receive it because despite the sincerity of the young woman’s tone and message and her assurance that they have been trying to contact me several times and this is my last chance, she’s lying. (And I really do not care about lowering my credit card interest rates because I have paid off my credit cards each month since my sons graduated from college.) My other credit card sent me a letter lowering our credit line because we’ve failed to use our card. The New Yorker keeps making their final offer—today it was $5 subscriptions—but then they will back in a couple of weeks offering me a tote bag to subscribe. The New York Times too. A few years ago I did not want information about aluminum siding because I have cedar shingle siding. I do not want a lot of things that telemarketers persist in offering—not replacement windows or senior housing or life insurance. Limited time offer. For a few weeks in March and April, we received no sales calls at all, and Gary and I looked at one another and said: Well, there’s something coming from the coronavirus.

And then the telemarketing started right up again. Perhaps they are working from home, which would always have been the more sensible plan.

Despite owning a Subaru, I do not want to extend my limited warranty. Those insistent, even aggressive calls and emails began as soon as we bought the car. I told them when we signed the sales agreement for the car that I did not ever want to hear from them except in response to a direct query from me. The seller promised. (He lied.) My email software learned to recognize that I do not want the Subaru emails (or the ones from Mini Cooper) and puts them directly into a junk folder, from whence they may be humanely destroyed. The Subaru phone calls have gone on for years and only ended after my fourth (fifth?) email to the people who sold me the car, this time directly to the manager, who said “sorry” (incomplete sentence) before disclaiming any responsibility for the phone calls. I was not pleasant; he was not pleasant. Oddly, the calls seem to have stopped.

I do not mind the regular nags from my favorite yarn stores. One online store recently stopped shipping completely . . . for two weeks, and then reopened. I assume someone knew someone who tested positive, but they did not need to tell me their reason. They took the necessary precautions. They did what they were supposed to do, not just what they might have gotten away with. (Enforcement or fear of getting caught should not be the reason we follow the rules. It’s not mindless obedience to do the right thing, and we are not exempt merely because we are us. We’re supposed to do the right thing just because it is the right thing, even when it’s inconvenient.)

A substitute teacher used to pigeon-hole me at parties to complain about not getting called to work at my school. It’s true that when I was teaching I could have requested him. I never did. One reason was that while subbing for another teacher who had a class in my room, the students managed to stuff so many paperclips, staples, and other bits of wire into outlets and my computer’s surge suppressor that they shorted out half the building. He never even noticed the lights went out. The other reason was more complicated: he refused to grade papers, he sometimes read the newspaper or slept while he was supposed to be working with students, and another incident that resulted in his being banned from subbing in that school. (I was a sub in my district for eleven years while my children were little, working a couple days a week. I was requested, did the work, and learned a lot.) Every time he nagged me about not being called, I was tempted to tell him why. Wouldn’t it have been better if he had done a better job?

These are a few of the things that I find amusing these days. But if you really want humor, watch the first seven and a half minutes of the pilot for The Mentalist. It’s on Prime, I think, but I found that scene, a grody version and missing the first two minutes linked below. I watched the entire series while weaving before I moved on to Monk. The complete scene from the beginning of The Mentalist begins with Patrick Jane arriving at an affluent suburban home where a murder suspect—the neighbor boy who found the body—is being led away, the bereft father of the dead teenage girl Mercy makes a brief statement to the press, and Jane watches everything, walks into the house, finds the kitchen, fills and heats the teakettle and makes himself a sandwich, pokes around looking at the photos on the fridge. Then the mother of the murdered girl comes into her kitchen and finds Jane standing at her stove. He offers her a cup of tea. She takes the tea she does not want and Jane begins talking—telling what he knows. You will either laugh at the end, or give me up as a lost soul. Depending.

It started with Harold and Maude, which I first saw at the Crest Theater. Mom had gone to see Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (which might be as bad as it sounds) because it starred Zohra Lampert, whole we both admired. Harold and Maude was the second feature. We sat through that second feature twice in the days you were allowed to do that. And double features existed. With a cartoon instead of advertising to start. (Another reason I do not miss movie theaters—they really are not fun anymore even when the seating is plush.)

The “excitement” of big-budget films usually fails to impress me, and right now we’re favoring “quirky” over best-sellers. I’ve seen Harold and Maude too many time to rewatch, but Gary and I have recently enjoyed Schitt’s CreekRussian Doll, and Dead Like Me. But for a quick pick-me-up, do try that first seven and a half minutes of The Mentalist.

For touching and funny, we recommend Midnight Diner which is coming to Netflix this weekend and Detectorists, which is Gary’s all-time favorite show.

We needed a dose of something last evening. It was Thursday, the day we collect mail and hit the nearest grocery store. Gary found only a dozen eggs and beer and my blood pressure spiked as we saw hundreds of tourists, pretty much everywhere, only a dozen masked, and most with dogs. At least one in four cars was from out of state, mostly from Washington, but also Idaho, Texas, Georgia. They parked outside every spot where they might get to the shore, and the sheriff was handing out tickets to people parked outside state parks. It was like the Fourth of July. On a Thursday. During a time when people are supposed to be masked, distanced, and primarily at home.

“Who needs a drink?”

“Honestly, it’s not as bad as it looks.” Best ever hook.

Any way you look at it, it’s not as bad a a root canal, as I have reason to know.

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2 thoughts on “PHISH

  1. Thanks you made me smile alot! And I used to love The Mentalist – forgot all about it. And what was that show where the Mom was clairvoyant. The Medium!

    Liked by 1 person

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