Homesick

Earlier today, I read this article about trees in Louisville. It made me homesick for the city: golden leaves in fall, immense-trunked ancient trees, older than most of the buildings in the town I live in now, sweeping down broad lawns of summer green.

I was only in Louisville for a few months, from August or September of one year through April or May or June of the next, but I fell in love with Ear X-stacy and Zteca and a coffeshop that offered the best cardamom team I’d ever drunk. I clomped amazedly through crisp and shattering snow on my way out for coffee and the paper on weekend mornings, ran down big green hills in the park in spring. Sometimes at night the drifting blue of the Union Pacific’s infinite train whistle kept me up, and I would lay peacefully awake, shoveled in amongst blankets, between the chill of the never-quite-shut-tight historic single-pane windows and the barrelling warmth of after-add central heating in my carriage-house apartment.

It wasn’t really Louisville, after all that – my place was across the river in New Albany, Indiana. But I went to the hemp store on Bardstown Road when I started to miss sewing and California-ness (I bought the softest, silkiest hemp fabric I could find and made a bathrobe), and when I went out for drinks with the crew after work the places we drank, when not raised high above the river on stilts, were all in Louisville. It was the nearest big city, the center of gravity, and at that time I still generally gravitated toward cities. Louisville was a graceful one, and lovely.

I miss it sometimes.

It’s the little things

Back in mid-August, I called Comcast to see about reducing our bill. It had been slowly creeping up, and at just over $190 per month, finally seemed too high to keep paying without objecting.

So I called. The person I spoke to was helpful; he figured out a new option, credited back some serviced I’d never wanted, and got the monthly bill reduced by about $50. Success! I felt smug: $50/month is pretty great ROI for a forty-five minute phone call.

Then I got the next month’s bill.

And it was higher than before.

The new bill was now up over $200 for the month. (We also got a giant box of new equipment I hadn’t been expecting, and didn’t particularly want.)

Sigh. The next week was busy at work; I didn’t call. The next week I was due for jury duty, and after a false start where I had to call back the next day, discovered I didn’t need to go in. I decided to use this time to deal with the plethora of small annoying things that accrue in life – like calling Comcast.

So I called.

It turned out that for some reason, several monthly fees had been doubled on the new account, and for reasons unknown, the system had assigned me a new modem that I didn’t request, didn’t want, and didn’t need. The helpful person I spoke to figured things out quickly, credited all the pointless charges back, and told me how to return the unnecessary and unrequested equipment.

All along the way, everyone was friendly, helpful, and reasonably good at problem-solving. But the question remains: why do problems like this need solving in the first place? Why is Comcast’s system built so that it’s possible to charge someone a “regional sports fee” doubled-up? Why did the system not keep track of the fact that I own my own modem, and don’t need to rent one? And going back further than that, if there was a cheaper way for me to get the exact same thing while paying less, why the heck did that not happen automatically (I mean, I know why – because more money – but come on, that’s not a good answer!)?

And most of all: why can’t I feasibly bill Comcast for my time spent fixing their problems?!

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