Cloister Commentary, Day 167: Not All Bad

Continued from Day 166, the saga of Phil and
Jane and the SSA. I was determined to find an uncomplicated way to change Mom’s direct deposit info without an excruciating phone call leading to futility, so I a) decided to just drive down and visit her, partially because I suspected we’d need to be in the same room, on the same phone, b) thought I’d test the waters first, call Mom’s local SSA office, and, um, assertively ask about the best process to accomplish our lofty goal. The unfortunate agent who answered the phone had to listen to me tersely, then with rising volume, describe the whole story (I’m bad about set-ups), while she tried in vain to interrupt me. It was fun! However, when I finally stopped to take a breath, she interjected, “Sir, just let me call your mom directly and I’ll do this for her in a couple minutes. Call her and have her get the checkbooks together, and tell her I’ll ring her in 30 minutes!” Wait what? And she did just what she said. To paraphrase the title of a section of the news magazine The Week, it’s not all bad. What’s the lesson learned, Phil? My cousin Rob has told me twice but I imperfectly listened: always call your local SSA office first.

Still, I decided to drive down and see Mom. We had Mexican food and margaritas, and watched basketball and tennis. And we FaceTimed with Nicole. Tomorrow I will again contact the insurance company that, despite three calls from me, still haven’t sent me the accidental death paperwork they owe me from Dad’s policy (these calls have spanned over two months, so I’ve been patient), and possibly reference a lawyer. Also, as I thumb this out on my phone, I’m watching the morning news: the flood of human-issued sludge oozes unabated.

But…it’s not ALL bad. I hope I get a similarly smart, sweet, and efficient customer service agent today.

Streaming for Strivers:

A humble request. You have to listen to the title song to understand.

Cloister Commentary, Day 17: “Everybody Disco!” (April 5, 2020)

Work: Nicole made delicious buttermilk biscuits out of Southern Living as well as some spicy hummus. I put together an order for us from Powell’s Books (is that work?) and drifted into a project I had not planned: moving these over to one of my blogs to improve their readability.

Play: When I came up from the man cave after finishing said project, Nicole was playing disco songs from her computer. Without really discussing it, we switched the sound over to the stereo, turned it up, and danced until we got tired–about 15 minutes, probably, but it seemed longer, and that’s a positive statement.

We didn’t even shut the blinds, so any neighbor watching got to see me mincing like ’70s Jagger (scolding, pointing, wrists on hips) and helplessly gyrating. Partial playlist: three Hot Chocolates (“Emma,” “Every 1’s a Winner,” “You Sexy Thing”), Chic’s “Real People” (the greatest song of all-time), Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”–I forgot how great that one is!–two “Last Dance”s (George Clinton’s answer to Bowie, and Donna Summer’s), James Brown’s “Super Bad, Parts 1, 2, and 3,” Sylvester’s “Mighty Real,” Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back to Where We Started From,” and Trammps’ “Disco Inferno.” Those are the ones I remember, as cognac Old Fashioneds were involved. But it was the definite highlight of the day. You should try it!

Disco did not and does not suck, even though I was once kicked out of high school for an afternoon for hypocritically wearing a t-shirt that said as much. At the time, I was regularly crossing state lines to dance under the glitter ball in Columbus, Kansas, and that shirt was tight and black, with the offensive message decorated in glitter and colored pink and green.

We made contact with Planet Earth again with “Call the Midwife”, which we never miss. You shouldn’t, either.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

Not quite a full album, but 17 minutes might be just enough!