This day of intrigue and treachery – this day when Judas is reputed to have visited the Sanhedrin to finalize the details of Jesus’ betrayal – dawned with a mystery at our house.
The roots of the mystery lie in the events of Tuesday evening, when it was discovered that our phone system had decided to stop working. While there is surely never a good time for the phone to stop working, “during the middle of a pandemic” would seem to be one of the least ideal times for a phone outage. We could call each other’s extensions within the house, but we could not place outside calls. Our efforts to do so were met only with a busy signal. Meanwhile, any calls made to our number were immediately forwarded to our emergency “rollover” number. It was as if someone had left a phone – or maybe two – off the hook somewhere in the house. But a turn around the house reveled that all phones were properly cradled. What, then, could be the cause of the non-functioning phones?
Having ascertained that there was no obvious mechanical reason (ie – a phone or two left off the hook) for our phones to have stopped receiving calls from and making calls to the outside world, I moved on to the esoteric world of trouble-shooting the software and other little digital thingamabobs that ultimately control phone systems these days. In other words, I did the only thing I know how to do when the phones or internet go down. I made my way to the basement room that contains all of our phone, cable, and internet equipment. Once there, I started unplugging things in an effort to reboot recalcitrant components.
It should be noted that this room contains not just our phone, etc equipment but also a very noisy compressor that helps to regulate temperature in the “new” wing of the house. (Yes, we still refer to the 57-year-old addition to our house as the “new” wing. It’s all relative, right? The “old” wing – aka the original building – is 101 years old. Hence, the wing that was added to the house in 1963- a mere 57 years ago – easily qualifies as the “new” wing.)
The very noisy compressor in our phone equipment room inevitably kicks in whenever I need to enter this room for the purpose of rebooting things. True to form, the compressor kicked in last night with a vengeance just as I was in the process of unplugging a mystery cord that looked like the sort of heavy-duty thing I probably shouldn’t unplug. I jumped almost to the ceiling, but nothing else happened. The most significant nothing that happened was the failure of our phone system to successfully resolve its own problem.
And so I settled in for a long Skype conversation with our phone company.
The conversation ended somewhat inconclusively. The phone company’s customer service representative predicted rather ominously that the problem lay with our phone system, rather than our phone line. If this were the case, I was warned, a visit from the phone company’s technician would cost us a good deal of money. Moreover, I realized that a fruitless visit from the phone company’s technician would cause us to commit a needless violation of the social distancing practices to which we have assiduously adhered for the past 22 days. It seemed risky to schedule a service call. I suggested that the problem could perhaps – as had been my experience in the past – be fixed remotely? “Probably not,” was the answer. Probably not.
So I left the matter dangling inconclusively for the night in that space occupied by the land of digital phone signals.
And lo and behold – by morning, the problem had sorted itself out.
For mysteries inexplicably solved, we are grateful.
For continued good health among the community, for peaceful days, and for the turning of the liturgical calendar once again towards the joyous New Life of Easter, we are likewise grateful.