telephone line

telephone line

Ah, the joys of living on the frontier!

Yesterday afternoon Estrella Vista took a direct lightning strike and the Internet and dial tone on my phone were knocked out. Luckily I still had electric power after the strike because my electrical system is a completely separate system from the phone, connected only via wireless. If we had been hard-wired, who knows what else would have been fried?

I managed to get a call into the local phone company before the end of the day, and the customer service they offer is second-to-none. Plus, the phone repair man is a good friend of mine, so service was restored today faster than you might expect in the big cities.

Anyway. this is why I am posting so late. A minor bump in the road. It would have taken a bigger catastrophe than this to have upset my apple cart. I can’t always make such a claim. But yesterday I had no less than three media successes.

The first was receiving a Facebook “friend” request from a People magazine writer who I had told, in my last interaction with her, that we could not accommodate her request for an interview with one of our kids. Yet she apparently still wants to remain in touch. The second was receiving an email from a MSNBC writer, after I had questioned her treatment of another one of our kids. I thought my questioning of her had blown my friendship and any future opportunity of coverage. I had been quite depressed by the direction our relationship had taken, but the depression was dispelled by the email. The third was receiving a call from the parent of one of our kids, saying that he was interested in a film project proposed by a British filmmaker. Previously, I had predicted that the chances of the project moving forward were minimal to nil, so this news (as in the other two instances) represented a reversal of my negative expectations.

I am a big boy, and I have dealt with the media for years. The cause of parricides is a difficult one to put over. We are dependent on the media to maintain a high public profile, and traffic to this blogsite surges after every media exposure. I am accustomed to ups and downs with the media, but lately everything has seemed to turn to dust. Needless to say, it has been discouraging. Plus August, with its personal anniversaries, is always the worst month of the year for me. So yesterday’s advances were much-needed to keep my spirits up.

If I did not live in such a beautiful, peaceful place—if I did not have such wonderful, caring neighbors—I doubt that I could do this work. It’s that hard.

Yesterday I received a letter from the mother of one of our kids. Not that I am the best person to give advice, but I was the only person she could think of who could empathize with what she is experiencing—“since I have no one to talk to who can relate.” Since her son’s act, she said, “I had to move, I lost my job, my friends and family, I changed my name—and now I am alone with no friends—his sentence is my sentence.”

The act of juvenile parricide affects so many people besides just the child and the victim. It disrupts countless relationships. If invited, someone must attempt to be a positive influence within this often chaotic mix. Someone must accept the role of looking for the pony when all you can see is manure.

I guess that’s me.

Most times, the adults who participated in the family dysfunction that led to murder want nothing to do with me. Some, in fact, are quite hostile. But occasionally strong bonds are created between me and the adults involved, and I cherish these friendships.

I do the best I can. But sometimes, like yesterday when the phone was down, I can’t do what I want. Last night I forgot and picked up the phone to dial up the kid’s mother and there was no dial tone. It will have to keep until tonight.


Groove of the Day

Listen to the Electric Light Orchestra performing “Telephone Line”


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