It took me two days to clean my new place and make it habitable; it took me three days to move into it. It took me two minutes to know I would have to shove, cram and stack my three rooms of stuff into my new two-room place. It took me three minutes to realize I had absolutely no “included-in-the-rent” TV or Internet service.
That my landlord is also my boss at the one remaining job I have made this realization a potentially delicate situation:
“I won’t pay rent until you fix it!”
“I won’t pay you at all if you keep complaining about it and don’t pay the rent!”
Thus, I thought it best to allow him to think I was an idiot girl, despite being his bar manager, who didn’t know anything about hooking up TVs or connecting my computer to the Internet, and that he knew it all and could fix everything. This worked for three days until what I already knew became clear–he knew less than I did about everything.
Until I lost all measure of sanity and control and left him a voicemail–because he never answers my calls–that I was at the end of a very short rope and ready to write a zero-interest promotional check on my credit card to cover the cost of getting the hell out of the Keys and live in my car and use wireless from any number of Starbucks that actually existed beyond the one in Key Largo that was currently a 45-minute drive from his kitchenless, spaceless,TV-less, wireless-less, way-too-expensive-for-the-privilege-to-live-here-except-you-didn’t-demand-first-last-and-security shangri-la.
I am not sure whether my landlord/boss values me more as an employee or a tenant, or if he values me at all, but a miracle occurred in a matter of hours of that voicemail being delivered: A nice Direct TV man named Ed in Colorado called to ask if it was convenient for a tech to come by this afternoon, say, at 3 p.m. Not between noon and five. Not between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. next Wednesday. Today, at 3 p.m.
“Why certainly, Ed,” I told him in my most pleasant, happy voice, because Ed was not my enemy. Because 3 p.m. today was perfect. Because if it took the tech hours to figure out the problem, I’d be late for work on a night that promised to be slow as hell with a perfect excuse that my boss/landlord could not dispute.
Ed and I chatted and laughed for a few moments about how the weather is sometimes warmer in Denver in January than it is in the Keys in January–especially last January–and how my daughter went to school in Colorado Springs so I know about weird Colorado weather, but how now she’s living in D.C. and I miss her all the time, as well as how I miss my son in Cincinnati, and how I wonder if I could ever live in D.C. again, or maybe even Cinci. But, you know, the weather. And, well, I have this job that pays pretty well. And my boss is my landlord, which makes this situations tricky, and my great guy just moved to Fort Lauderdale, so I have to deal with all this on my own, which is fine because I am fine being on my own. You know? And so, yeah, 3 p.m. is fine. Perfect.
God love Direct TV angel number one. He assured me that a local Direct TV angel number two would be at my home-that-is-by-no-means-a-home-but-I’ll-deal-with-that-another-day by 3 p.m., and then he agreed with me about the weather in Cinci and D.C.
Direct TV angel number two has survived death three times. I mean real death–drowning, a ladder fall, and a lightening strike. He says he saw the light during the near drowning. He had to learn to walk and talk again after the lightening strike. As he told me these stories, all the while fishing wires out of walls and an attic crawl-space I didn’t know I had, I had to ask myself: And my so-called life feels like it’s at stake because I can’t watch TV, never mind that I need TV to fall asleep and sometimes–many times–I just can’t sleep and the drone of Headline News or a billionth re-run of “Andy Griffith” soothes me, calms me.
“Okay, it’s all online now,” my Direct TV angel number two smiled when he completed his job order within an hour. “Do you need me to show you how to use the remote?”
Which he did. He then helped me move plastic bins that I re-use over and over again in hopes of moving to his home that is really a home. And then he was gone, driving far away to his own home that is hours away off these peculiar rocks into which the most peculiar people fall and call home.
“Hi, RG. This is Ed from Direct TV,” came the call moments after Direct TV angel number two drove away. “Is your TV working properly now?”
Yes, yes it is, Direct TV angel number one. Direct TV angel number two was wonderful. He did a great job. Please let his manager know.
“I will. And you enjoy those Keys!”
Yeah, sure. I mean, of course.
Now, hours later, when I have no interest in watching the TVs my Direct TV angels made workable, I marvel at how angels appear and work their magic–even if it is only making a TV work–when you least know you need their particular brand of magic, and always when you least know them for who they are and the message they send.