Author’s Note: The following article was one of 45 entries in the inaugural Laguna Art-Inspired Writing Contest. Mine did not win. But hearty congratulations go out to the winners. Theresa Keegan’s “Karma” won for prose and Ellen Girardeau Kempler’s “Sunlight Path” won for poetry. For the 43 other writers, I’ve got good news. We all tied for second. And of course, a special thanks to Suzanne Redfearn for organizing this wonderful event.
I was gliding past my 1,000-inch screen TV when I lost reception. I was dressed in my favorite orange chiffon dress when I felt a shiver of kismet. I was destined to meet the cable guy. It was the perfect hook-up opportunity. I hadn’t seen Jimmy since high school. He was hot. While I had degrees from Harvard, Yale and Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, I didn’t have a clue how to hang Jimmy on my wall. Here was my chance.
“Hello, Cable Company I’ve lost reception. Please send me the cable guy.” The representative answered, “Before we do that, what does the screen say?” I answer, “Call Extension 2487.” “Sorry, I’m Extension 2486. Would you like to add more services?” I wince at being asked for more services when I was just in need of basic. I clear my throat. “My package is fine. Send over the cable guy.” The cable representative counters, “Before we do that, please check your connections.” I sigh. “I checked already. Everything is screwed down tight.”
“Please hold.” The elevator music starts. The song is familiar, but I can’t place it. Wait. It’s a song from high school. Oh my. It is Jimmy’s and my song. I remember. We were at the homecoming dance and I swayed to this music, while he danced with Julie, the homecoming queen. The music stops. The canned message says, “Now number two on the Movie Channel, ‘Fear of the Walking Dead Parts 25, 26 and 27.’ And at number one, the romantic comedy, ‘How to Get Your Man.’ Call extension…”
The elevator music starts before I can get the extension number for “How to Get Your Man.” It’s so unfair. I feel overwhelmed. The music continues. Down and down I go with our song in my ears. There’s no way up from here. The song is in my head and heart. It’s taking me over. It’s too much. I’m breathing too fast. I need to get off. Where’s the panic button?
“Sorry to keep you waiting. We were just having a going away office party for Jimmy, our favorite cable guy. I had to get a piece of cake. Yummy. Where were we?” The news throws me for a loop. I’m sucked into the white snow of the screen. It’s a complete whiteout. I can’t see. I don’t know which way to go. I’m lost. The cable representative voice interrupts the whiteout, “Oh yes, I remember. You were going to add services. What would you like?”
I answer, “Cut the cord. I’ve decided to live a monastery life. I’ve had enough of the real world. And besides, I’m already dressed for it.”