Today was to be the day. After attending a meeting of The Hubbard Hall Writers’ Group on Sunday and receiving a fair dose of inspiration as well as a project and a deadline for it, I had planned a long afternoon of writing. Well, first I was going to have some me time -- a long anticipated conversation with a friend to get some healthy eating tips, a little bit of camera time with the pugs for an upcoming photography assignment, and an hour of reading for a review I’m writing for the blog. All this first, followed by several unadulterated hours of writing. Or so I thought.
It’s a wonderful age in which we live. I know it is easy to find fault with being plugged-in and connected all the time, but the Internet brings myriad opportunities – access to information, ways to connect with like-minded people, the world at our fingertips. Its all pretty nifty until it isn’t. Today it wasn’t.
I decided to check my e-mail before beginning my glorious day creativity and found out that while I could receive incoming email I couldn’t send anything. I picked up my office phone to check my messages and discovered it was dead. I then reached for the home phone, on a completely different system and that also was dead. My father to the rescue. I quickly picked up my cell and gave him a call and within an hour he was on the phone with Comcast trying to clear up the office phone (Vonage) and Internet problems. First, however, he cut a new cable for the home phone and fixed that. Seemed not only was it an unrelated system, it was an unrelated problem. Just one of those strange coincidences when everything would go wrong all at once.
The call to Comcast began at 1:00 p.m. and involved a series of calls back and forth as the phone got disconnected and we were passed up a chain of command. All the phone representatives were very well trained in the niceties of customer service, apologizing for our frustration and being passed around so many times that you wanted to MUTE them, but none were well trained in the actual service part. We were told that this must not be a Comcast problem but a Thunderbird problem even though one of the computers in the house was using Thunderbird and one Outlook and all had to go through Comcast for Broadband. By 4:00 p.m., three hours later and one deleted Comcast account from my computer (which took all my stored folders and email) and one monthly $14.95 charge for an upgrade to Comcast Signature Service, and we finally reached a technician who could walk us through the problem. Seemed Comcast had made a change to their outgoing port and had sent an email several months ago alerting us to the change. I have no knowledge of ever seeing said email, but in any case with a few clicks, another hour later, all the computers were sending mail again. Funny, how no one could tell us about the port problem 5 hours earlier when we made the first call.
Feeling wiped out and frustrated from the day’s events, Dad and I decided to go out to dinner at the local pizza hangout – Bethel’s Cockadoodle Pizza Café, run by one of our local vet techs and her husband. I love the atmosphere, the roosters and chickens that make up the décor and the strange juxtaposition of this unique mascot with the Italian pizzeria motif. Add to this that the restaurant is held in a historic building that houses an old fashioned soda fountain and you’ve got a special charm found no place else. After heaping helpings of spaghetti and Greek salad our moods improved and we realized the day wasn’t a total loss. My Dad and I actually worked together to solve a problem and the pugs were happy to have me confined to the kitchen all day. I didn’t get any writing done, but somehow I felt a sense of achievement – we had waged a war and we had won!
We all have visions of the Creative Life as an enriching, fulfilling experience and it can be. As my friend and mentor Jon Katz says it can also be work. Mostly, like life in general it is a balancing act with many balls in the air all at once. I need the Internet, I-pad, computer and phone to do my job. I also need quiet space and creative time in which to work. Today I planned on the second, but had to deal with the first. The reward, I think, comes in taking victories when you can find them and using the trials for inspiration. At least now all my gear is ready for me to get to work tomorrow.
A Facebook friend who has been sick with the horrible bug that’s going around said, you never appreciate your health until you lose it. The same might be said for a good Internet connection. Having been sick myself since Christmas I’ll be happy when both are restored, but in the meantime I’m not waiting for a Creative Life to happen. I’m seizing the reins and working with where I find myself at the moment. That’s the true meaning of vocation isn’t it? Working with where we’re at, with what we have? To this day then, I was called.