Jim Siergey: There & Back

June 22nd, 2018

My, how quickly things can go from good to bad and back to good again. All in one morning, even.

On this particular morning I awoke, showered, breakfasted and then tended to a chore that turned out to be much easier to accomplish than expected.

That doesn’t happen very often so when it does, I take note and extend my full appreciation to whatever cosmic entity or good vibrations that caused it to turn out that way.

With that taken care of, I decided to take my first walk in Munster.

Most of my activity in my new surroundings so far has been unpacking boxes, flattening boxes, going up and down stairs, looking for things, arranging and rearranging things and, of course, mowing the lawns.

That and driving back and forth from Chicago where I repeated the same operations, had been the extent of my physical activity.

I put on some clean clothes, tied my shoes, settled a chapeau upon my head and walked out the door.

Several blocks away was a convenience store called “The Little Store”, which I had passed several times in my car. In front of the store was a mail box. That postal orifice was my goal as I had something to mail.

While there I intended to buy a Sun-Times so I could do the Friday crossword puzzle.

While living in Chicago we had both papers delivered and I enjoyed doing the Friday and Saturday Sun-Times puzzles, as they were the most difficult ones of the week. But here in Northwest Indiana we no longer received a newspaper and I missed the weekend challenges that those collection of black and white squares posed.


I’m Mr. Happy!


It was a lovely day for a stroll and it took less time to reach the place than I expected, about five minutes. So, there and back I went.

In my book, it had been a very nice little morning. So far.

Before turning to my puzzle, I turned on the internet and discovered that no matter what I clicked on I received a window telling me that it was important to contact AT&T, my internet provider.

We all know the hell of listening to robotic voices and climbing the branches of phone trees and being on hold. My call to AT&T was no different.

Ultimately I learned that my service had been suspended for non-payment of my bill. I knew that I paid the bill late but it was paid and the payment had been sent in weeks earlier.

The next hour consisted of me making calls back and forth to my bank and AT&T. This, of course, included me shouting and cursing and calling the robotic voices all kinds of horrendous names which, of course, had no effect on those cold, numb machines.

However, it did have an effect on me. I changed from a happy fellow whistling a happy tune as I happily looked forward to sitting in the back yard with a cup of coffee in one hand and a sharpened #2 Ticonderoga in the other as I happily battled wits with Will Shortz to a foul-mouthed, raspy-voiced, haggard semi-being nearing the end of his rope surrounded with bill statements covered with impatient doodles as Hold Music played, interrupted now and then by an automated voice telling me that everyone was too busy to answer my very important call.

Jean-Paul Sartre said that “Hell is other people.” I’d like to update that to automated people.

I finally connected with someone who actually cared enough to go to some lengths to find the snafu. Jerry was his name. Thanks, pal.

I had paid the bill via online banking but I paid it into my Chicago account and not the new Munster one. Jerry tracked it down and fixed it. It still took me three phone transfers before I got to the correct party who re-installed my internet access.

I am a creature of careening mood swings. As quickly as I had gone from happy fellow to mad man I turned back into Mr. Happy as I picked up the Times and the Ticonderoga and set out to fulfill my much-delayed plan for the morning (which had now neared noon).

All’s well that ends well but I think I may switch from online back to stamps.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Mr. Suburbia



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