Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has no desire to be THROWN OFF THE GRID. She writes:

If you have ever had the highly unpleasant experience of having your car towed — when 300 yards down the block there was a tiny paper sign in 6 pt. type informing people that cars would be towed after 4:00 p.m. — you know that for just a minute your upset brain thinks, “Ah, that is inconvenient. Now I must drive my car to get the car…oh, wait…” And it sinks in that the VERY THING you need to solve the problem of having no car, IS your car! Which is gone.

Likewise, I woke up a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday morning, got myself fully caffeinated, made the bed, and went whistling to my home office to fire up the computer and check to see if I had email from my beloved in Israel.

When I hit the little Email icon, an annoying box covered some of the screen and told me that I needed to confirm my User Name and Password. No worries. By a Christmas miracle, I remembered both and typed them in. Confidently, I hit “Send, Receive” again. And the box reappeared with the same snotty demand. Oh, boy. Not at all good. Swearing at it was shockingly ineffective.

It is remotely possible that somewhere in a Memory Care Unit in Uzbekistan there is an ancient woman with fewer computer skills than I have. Though, I’m sure her great granddaughter is a whiz. Add to this the fact that I have the patience of a wet cat and you have a person whose systolic blood pressure is soon far higher than her IQ. Possibly for many more days until “Max Cossack, the famous novelist” gets home.

Naturally, I needed to Email Max to tell him that my Email wasn’t working, but that couldn’t be done. He is also a very peripatetic traveler who wanders about at will without previous reservations, so I had no idea where he was except “Israel,” which may not be a yuge place, but big enough. Why not call him, you ask?

Well, because he had told me that his cellphone, some sort of inferior model from Big Bob’s Bargain Phone Emporium and Fill Dirt, was not holding a charge and he didn’t want to use it unless it was plugged in to a charger. So, I couldn’t really call him to have him help me out. Plus the 9 hour time change difference was also a complication.

Upwards of 200 times I tried to just hit “Send, Receive” FAST enough, before the box appeared, thinking I could eventually wear out its desire to thwart me. Surprisingly, this was even less effective than the swearing, and now my DIASTOLIC Blood Pressure was in three digits, which is never a good number of digits for that.

So Thursday was a dead loss for solving my problem. Calling Customer Service was likewise frustrating, as the disembodied voice kept telling me that they had never heard of me, my zip code or any of my phone numbers. I tried it in Spanish just for a change of pace. Nada. Plus, they were hanging up on me as you would on an annoying teenage prank caller. Being a mature adult, I did some meditation to calm down. Then I ate an Edwards Key Lime Pie and finished off half a bottle of coconut rum with a quart of Eggnog. Then I napped til Friday.

Friday dawned cold and clear and the problem remained, of course, but I saw that “Max Cossack,” who, by the way, has a great novel available on Amazon, had commented on my column! Wahoo! Thank God I at least had Internet. Now, I had a way to communicate with him. I told him and all the world that I had no Email and received such helpful suggestions as “I am sorry I can’t come help you” from an IT whiz in Boston and “Have you tried the Paranoid Texan?” from the PT’s best friend’s wife near Fort Worth.

Max tried gamely to do some things from his hotel somewhere in Israel, possibly Haifa or Tsfat, (also spelled Safed, because, why not?) and thought he had made some progress. But the box reappeared and I resigned myself to having no Email for weeks. Max was exhausted from a day of exciting tourist adventures and retired for the night. The last thing he told me was to go get the Paranoid Texan. Neighbors summon the PT like you would, say, Reacher.

I was fresh out of Biscuits and Gravy so, like the proverbial Little Drummer Boy, I started making my excellent Meat Loaf, so I would have something to offer him in exchange for his expertise, not that he wouldn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart.

Max had told me to write down some stuff which I showed to the PT. He opened some windows and fiddled with things, which I would never dare do for fear of crashing the entire Internet. Or worse, deleting Max’s new novel or my next three books of columns. The PT may be paranoid, but he is a definite Alpha Dog when it comes to computers. Not even remotely intimidated, he went into secret areas of the computer and clicked on a thing called “Repair.” I hid in the kitchen, my Safe Space. He said, “Come back and try Email.” I did. No box!

I hit “Send, Receive” and 282 emails popped up, all but 10 completely worthless unless I wanted to order grapefruit from Florida, look at swimsuits, or find out the specials at Elden’s Grocery Store in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Periodically, people entertain fantasies about living “off the grid.” Back in the day, it was popular for hippies to claim they were going to “live off the land.” They quickly learned that farming and ranching were way too hard for the likes of spoiled, lazy, blissfully-ignorant Utopians who would have starved within weeks. The Paranoid Texan tapes and enjoys many shows about living off the grid for real in Alaska. It may have its charms, but it is a perilous and difficult life, not for sissies.

Other than shooting, I have not a single survival skill, unless you count whining, which is just as likely to get you killed as helped, and not without reason. Even before shoulder trouble and encroaching decrepitude, killing, skinning and butchering an 1800 lb. moose into steaks, chops, and roasts would not have been in my wheelhouse. I understand from these programs that one has to work really fast to keep other lazy-ass predators from just taking your prized late moose away from you, like a “Fundamental Transformation Democrat.” I would probably give up a moose to a grizzly pretty fast. But if Amazon snowmobiled on by with Harry and David Truffles, or Rosati’s delivered a 4-Cheese Thin Crust Pizza, Gentle Ben the Redistribution Bear would have quite the fight on his hands. Best advice, Ben: play dead and you may live to filch a moose another day.

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