Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reason 1

On Friday my phone stopped working, it seemed like it had been cut, so I called 114 to find out what had happened. The customer service girl told me the Commercial Office made a decision to disconnect it. As I hadn’t been late with any payment or had any other kind of problem, I went to the Etesca office at 19 and C in Vedado, my Commercial Office.

All I did was go in and explain the problem to a girl typing on her computer who snarled: “I’m not the one for problems, that’s ‘Reason 1!’ Go in there and see Fulanita.” Fulanita, after trying to communicate with something called MLC and not managing to talk to anyone, typed something, something in her computer as well, and with a smile told me, “Now it’s connected.”

I went home calmly, wondering what could be the problem with this “Reason 1,” how could there be a problem, and who works in the MLC, but I didn’t want to be paranoid. Two hours later I was again at 19 and C, at exactly three in the afternoon (the office closes at four) because they’d cut my line a second time.

From the doorway the girl who doesn’t want problems showed me the way I already knew, the other wrote something on paper and told me the commercial office was exactly there, and they didn’t know anything about anything. I asked her to be honest with me, if they hadn’t disconnected me there, then where, and who had done it: The Higher Powers, she replied. She got up and took the papers to “The Boss” sitting in a little office at the end of the hall, who told me they’d call to see what happened.

The boss was on the phone for like ten minutes and was quite upset. From where I was I couldn’t hear her words but I could read her lips twice: she was saying into the headset that they had to inform her because now she was the one who had to give an explanation; later she said that I was waiting, that she couldn’t put me on the phone again because they would disconnect me again for the one hour maximum.

I was losing patience, I asked to speak to “The Boss” and went into her office, where it was quite hot because the air conditioning wasn’t working. I couldn’t get anything clear, it was a bit cynical. Ultimately I didn’t blame her, I suppose if she told me the truth she’d get into trouble. She told me there was no human way to know what was happening with my telephone, later they would do an investigation of the case to “figure out” what it was, at one point she gave me some analogy between televisions and telephones which I didn’t understand very well. We were both smiling the whole time, it was pure theater, several time I even snickered, especially when she confessed being discouraged by having so many technical things completely outside her control, it would seem that Esteca works through miracles or perhaps the Holy Spirit (or State Security of course).

I will be the whole week without a telephone; on Monday I have to go back even though it became clear that the “answer” was in the hands of “The Higher Powers,” and no one knows who or where they are. As Orlando Luis says, at this stage one could well declare Etesca, Cubalse (or whatever they’re called now), the Ministry of Education, Health, Culture, the cinemas, the theaters, the schools and everything else branches of the Ministry of the Interior. Anyway, we know that “The Highest Power” is precisely the Central Committee.

1 comment:

JV said...


I will be in Havana at the end of the month - Can I buy you dinner?

you can contact me