Friday, July 10, 2015

The Constant Moon

Yesterday afternoon, after my girlfriend got to her mother’s house to help her for a few days, I got a call from her asking what could be wrong with her television or her remote.  Her mother is somewhat house-ridden because she has C.O.P.D, and the television is her primary means of entertainment.  So, having long ago anticipated that something like this might happen, given how my own similar HD cable set up does that wackiest things now and then, I had on my phone photos I had taken of both of her remote control devices for the television and the cable, and I used them to start to trouble shoot with her. 

It doesn’t take an elderly person to hit a couple wrong buttons in sequence to find themselves neck deep in a menagerie of error line input messages and a black screen.  I’ve done it myself too many times.  So speaking with my girlfriend, I walked her through a few of the options of what might be wrong and how to correct the possible problem(s).  In the past, this has worked, but as the evening went on, I couldn’t seem to untangle whatever the problem was over the phone. 

So I told my girlfriend to call their cable company’s tech support, which happened to still be open.  This was about 9:00pm in the evening.  I thought that there was possibly some system problem that the cable company might know about, and which I didn’t.  But after about forty-five minutes, I texted my girlfriend and asked her if she had solved the problem.  She called back.  “Nope!”  The lady on the tech line had tried to have her use the television remote (as opposed to the cable remote) and had told her to make sure the line in was on HDMI 1.  But nothing had happened.  She also reported back to me that the first time that someone from the cable company could go out there would be Monday. 


I sat in my home, one hundred twenty-two miles away, and thought about how tired my girlfriend was, for she had experienced a full day herself, and how her mother would have nothing to do through the weekend if her television situation couldn’t be fixed.  I also thought about coming out the next day to help her myself, but that next day happened to be a Friday, which is not a great day to drive there and back because of the summer traffic. 

So with a little more thought, I decided to just run out there this very evening.  Once I made the decision, I didn’t linger.  It was 11:00pm, and I got myself out in about ten minutes and onto the freeways.  It’s a long drive, but it’s made much easier with XM Radio keeping me company, and with Flying J stops along the way for quick bathroom breaks and eats when needed.  I have done the drive literally thousands of times in the last nineteen years that I have known my girlfriend and her family, and once one gets past the limits of the Los Angeles area, it’s a smooth ride.  The only things one has to keep an eye out for are tired, distracted, wrong-way, and intoxicated drivers, which I always do.  I always have my radar up for those clowns (you're free to read that as, "felons") on the road who shouldn’t be. 

It was an easy night to drive because it was very clear out and not too much in the way of traffic at all.  By midnight, I was passing Gorman, and by 1:30am, I was at my girlfriend’s mother’s house with just one stop along the way in Frazier Park to hit the head and get a Coke.  My girlfriend’s mother was asleep when I arrived, and so my girlfriend and I went to the television, and I fiddled with just about everything.  I tried several of the HDMI lines aside from “1,” and I checked the HDMI cable in the back of the cable box, and I turned off the power to the cable box to let the hard drive rest for a minute and then restarted it.  Really exiting stuff, I know. 

When the cable box re-awoke, I tried the various HDMI lines again and found that the signal for their cable and television pair was set to come into HDMI 2.  It had worked, and with a short hug and a kiss from my girlfriend, I started on my way back to the Los Angeles area.  From her mother’s house to Highway 99, there is about an eight-mile drive through farm fields on very straight roads.  As I was moving through these rural fields, I noticed a giant, yellow moon rising up from the east-northeast.  The time now was about 1:50am. 

Then onto Highway 99 I went towards Los Angeles.  If you look at a map, you will see that most of the state of California is at a diagonal along the Pacific Ocean.  This means that most of the routes along the north south axis of the state are really northwest to southeast routes in reality.  So as I was driving south to Los Angeles (really, southeast), that big yellow moon that I first saw along the rural road sat about on top of my left shoulder during most of my drive back home.  And once one gets into the Grapevine pass, through the small towns of Grapevine, Lebec, Frazier Park, and Gorman, the road is constantly winding long sweeping lefts and rights, which made this moon's position swim around the black background. 

That moon sat with me constantly the entire ride home.  And he slowly rose up higher during my drive.  I totally got it intellectually, but from an associative standpoint, that moon should have been back on the rural farm road and should have stayed back there over the southern Central Valley (San Joaquin Valley) and should have been long gone by the time I was up in the Grapevine pass.  But it was comforting because I felt like I was being kept an eye on during my very late drive home.  It was, "Cosmo's Moon."

Well, to finish the anecdote, I got back to Burbank at exactly 4:00am.  It doesn’t seem sane or reasonable, does it?  But it was reasonable for me because I knew that I wouldn’t have had to get through the traffic the next day, and that, most importantly, my girlfriend’s mother would wake up with the television and cable working and she’d be able to enjoy her Friday and her weekend. 

As and end to the whole trek, I stopped by a McDonald’s and got two Egg McMuffins with Cheese.  They are now serving them twenty-four hours per day, and it’s exactly what I wanted after such a drive.  My dog, Susie, was happy to see me as I took her out for a quick pee at 4:20am.  Then, it was to bed with me.