Friday, May 12, 2006

From the "what a small world" department

Today I called Telekom Slovenije to let them know that the wires hooking me up to phone (and ADSL internet) service are in imminent danger of being blown down. Some near neighbors of mine recently put a new roof on their house, and in the process inadvertently ripped out the telephone line to mine. A guy from Telekom (same jolly fellow who installed a new phone and ADSL for me a year and a half ago) came out promptly to diagnose and fix the problem when I reported the loss of service last week, but apparently the solution was only temporary, because my near neighbor has been warning me for a couple of days now that the next strong wind will take down the wire.

So this morning I called 116 to report the problem. I was talking on my cell phone outside so I could get the house number (so the repairmen will know where to go) as well as take a closer look at the wire--it is indeed hanging precariously and flapping about. I had both dogs with me: Olivia the beast was leashed, while Lyra the wonder dog was free to roam. However, she roamed into somebody else's garden, and so I called her back (obedient soul that she is, of course she responded immediately. Well, sort of immediately.). Anyway, the woman at the other end of the line heard me talking to Lyra--in English--which led to an explanation/apology on my part that I had dogs with me, which led her to ask "which breed?", which led to a discussion of border collies and agility and her cousin from Občina/Opicina (in Italy just across the border from Slovenia) who has a border collie and competes most weekends in agility. From her description it sounded like the dog was a blue merle. I think I know who she means. I'll ask next time we meet--maybe tomorrow.

I'm something of a recluse by nature, and really cherish my solitude, but even so I like having friendly human social interactions with people who provide the services of modern life that we often take for granted. A few years ago I got the "ABC" thingie for the avtocesta (an electronic device that allows you to sail through toll booths--assuming you have enough credits--instead of paying manually each time you exit the motorway). I almost always get on and off in Senožeče, where one person staffs the booth for both directions (in contrast to the multiple lanes in Sežana). While the ABC lanes are very convenient (especially when you exit in Ljubljana), I found that I missed the contact with the guys who worked in Senožeče. There are probably only three or four who work there, in shifts, and I used to know most of them by sight, since I would make eye contact and exchange greetings with them whenever I passed through, to take my turnpike ticket before getting on, and pay it when I got off. Now I just look at the numbers on an electronic board that tell me how much toll money I have left, and bypass the humans. It feels rude.

But I still make a point of topping up in Senožeče, not Ljubljana.


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