Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Winter of My Disconnect

About a week before Christmas the hard drive of my computer decided to go bye-bye, taking all my files with it. And it seems my back up system, with out informing me, had stopped backing over a year ago. I got a loaner computer from Super Hero Ed (my computer guy).

Two days after Christmas I woke up to no television, no online access and no phone (except my cell phone). It took five days before I could actually get through to a human being at Time-Warner (my server) to discover somewhere in the city someone demolishing a building cut the cable and brought down a large chunk of the west side of Manhattan. So here I sat, somewhat stranded, no TV, no Internet, no regular phone, and a loaner computer.

And then the snows came. And came. And came. I did make it out Christmas day to dinner with Zachary Stains and an inadvertent "All About Eve" holiday party at Charles Busch’s Abington Square apartment where he and Michael Riedel faced off in the middle of the room and...(but you have all seen the film)

The day after Christmas, Leicester Landon took me to see Brian Bedford, a long time acquaintance, in an historic performance as Lady Bracknell (photo above) in The Importance of Being Earnest. He and it were wonderful, a must see. Paxton Whitehead, my director and roommate from 1960s, is also in the production as the Rev. Chasuble and at the top of his form. All he is missing is the biretta.

So on New Year’s Eve here I sat on Ninth Avenue my thumb in my mouth as the mob hooted and tooted beneath my window on their way to Times Square. I decided to call people I knew and loved to wish them a happy New Year! What a great idea. Except I no longer have an address book. It was on that hard drive. (Along with the TOSOS mailing list)

An half hour before 12 I decided to play a CD on one of my single last connections to civilization, my CD player. My sound system swallowed the CD and suddenly stopped working. You would have been amazed how calm I remained (after I kicked my foot through the wall). I unplugged the player and upended it, shook it, and the CD slipped out. (The machine now whimpers whenever I walk past it) One minute after midnight I went to bed with a book. And I can not tell you how happy it made me that it was a book and not some electronic substitute!

The next day my apartment had no heat nor hot water. The day after for no reason and with no warning the power in my building went off for five hours. And I was right back where I started. No television, no online access, no phone, and this time no CD player, DVDs, or even the ability to read a book in bed.

But by Saturday with heat and power I was online again. And it was snowing again! But Leicester Landon and his semi-spectacular BF were back in town and invited me out to dinner (Zuni!). I was just finishing my shower when suddenly the full force of the cold water gushed from the shower head - the faucet was broken and it would not turn off. So freezing and sopping wet I stumbled around my apartment searching for my pliers - my mother’s voice echoing in my ear "If you would just put things back where they belong..."

I live in an old railroad apartment. Back in the 1960s the tenant (an actor) threw out the old bathtub in the kitchen and installed (on cinder blocks) an ancient fiberglass shower stall. I was sure replacement parts no longer exited. That the plumber would smile patiently at me and suggest I become friendly with my next door neighbor. So I opened my door to the reality that I would never ever have a shower again. Before me stood a young man from Guatemala with a tool box and very little English. He took one look at my fiberglass monstrosity, and tears filled his eyes and he said "home! I am home!" He had it fixed in five minutes.

So as of yesterday I have my old computer back and today I am reinstalling (etc).

Just to be safe I am in the market for one or two virgins to sacrifice to the Gods of Technology! (And I have promised never to use the name of Bill Gates in vain. Or Thomas Edison, for that matter!)