Skip to main content

steve bickley, we hardly new ye

i got a letter yesterday that shocked me, not because of the content, but because of the person who sent it.

i've come to recognise the rounded variety on century gothic that bell canada uses in their love letters to me and, since i hadn't blogged about them  in a while, i was greatly looking forward to another "please come back" missive from my mysterious suitor, mr. steve bickley. so imagine my surprise when the letter turned out to be from a woman by the name of heather tulk, who seems to have taken over mr. bickley's position as senior vice president of residential services.

i've no idea what's become of steve. did my consistent rejections, on the basis that bell had treated my like an inmate in their telecommunications prison, who tried to bill me for months of service when they forgot to disconnect my toronto line and accused me of lying when i insisted that i had ordered a disconnection (and even claimed that i should pay if they had been at fault, which they were), drive him into some sort of frenzy? while i don't think i'm ugly, i'm not generally the kind of girl who makes men crazy, even if they have been sending me letters for almost three years to tell me how much they miss me.

heather's letter is interesting. she's obviously after me to return to bell, but she avoids any mention of my whole history with steve. she makes no mention of him, or of the fact that i was once a bell customer. her case is ruthlessly practical: i should go back to bell for purely fiduciary reasons. i will save, over the course of two years, almost $1400 from what i'm currently paying videotron (how do they know?) for my services. i respect that practicality, that forwardness, that desire to start from a clean slate. there's something in it that touches a chord in my chilled heart.


when i googled ms. tulk, i found out why. turns out, she, like me, hails from eastern canada. she has that awareness of the importance of dollars and cents that is bred in the blood of an area of the country that generally has very little of either. while she comes originally from newfoundland, she has spent, as far as i can tell, the last several years in a position of high authority with aliant, bell's arm in the maritime provinces. it was on reading that little tidbit that her message went from striking a chord to striking a nerve.

you see, dom and i bought my mother a portable phone for christmas. we wanted her to have this because we knew that, in the spring, she was due to have hip replacement surgery and neither of us wanted her to be phone-less in case of an accident or to have to exert herself to answer the daily calls i'm going to be giving her until i'm sure she's all right. because my mother has digital internet service through alliant (as well as her cable and phone service), she needed to get a noise reduction box to keep her phone and internet service from interfering with each other. ok, i understand. we have one of those too.

however, when she called aliant, they told her that, if she were to install the device to allow her internet and phone to work together, her cable would stop working. excusez-moi? no matter what this poor woman does, having a portable phone is going to deprive her of one of the services that she pays for from bell aliant? end of story?

sadly, yes, that seems to be just as far as aliant is willing to help her. now my mother is freshly returned from the hospital and every time she gets a phone call, she has to make her way painfully to a phone anchored to the wall because apparently, in the digital age, no one at aliant hasa ever considered the possibility that phones might be made portable.

heather, i appreciate your easterner's pluck and your attempt to court me simply by pointing out your advantages, but i can hardly return to bell's loving arms when they've treated first me and now my mother so poorly. and yes, i'm still bitter about that internet cap thing you tried to push on all of us. i'd suggest that you move on to winning back the hearts of some of the other people who ran from your clammy clutches over the years. but if you see steve bickley, do give him my regards.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…