The customer service rep at NYSEG shrieked, "Don't do a damn thing! You'll get electrocuted. We're responsible for all power lines, whether they're your own or ours. I'm putting up a ticket here so they'll come by your house."
They never did.
I phoned again in March. This time, the new customer service rep was aghast. "WHAT? They're supposed to cut your branches."
"Well, I got a worse problem. Because I was instructed not to touch the tree branches, they stretched the lines and some places they're only 7 feet up."
"OMG!" he shrieked, "I'll get someone right over there."
He didn't. Instead, I got some woman in Albany who said, "These are your lines and your responsibility."
"What about your customer reps and what they told me?"
"If you give me their names, I'll make sure they'll get reprogrammed." I swear, she said that!
"Wait a sec," I remembered something. "What you just told me isn't true. In 2008, your supervisor removed grape vines that grew entangled on my private electrical wires."
What happened was I called NYSEG and asked them if I turned off the power from the main switchboard, would I be electrocuted when I remove the grape vines from the lines? The woman at the other end screamed, "Holy SHIT!" and immediately transferred me to a supervisor.
"What are you, a nut?" he yelled.
"No, but these grape vines mean a lot to me. My mother planted them when I was a baby and they grew with fruit until I was eight. That's when we caught kids in the neighborhood pulling the vines out of the ground. Since then, it's been nearly 50 years since fruit has grown. And no way do I want to stop that."
He audibly sighed. "That's got to be the craziest story I ever heard. Don't touch a thing, otherwise you'll fry. I'll take care of it for you."
One week later, I arrived home to see the grape vines neatly arranged on my lawn. I phoned the supervisor and profusely thanked him.
"Do me a favor," he said, "Just don't touch the damn lines."
After recounting the story, the woman at Albany scoffed and stated, "That was against Corporate policy. Do you have his name so I can report him?"
I tried once again in May and got once again a wonderful Customer Service Rep, again aghast at my situation. "Ms Stone, we'll have someone phone you immediately!"
It's July. I forgot to pay my NYSEG bill and they phoned me. "Do you see on my account notations of all my phone calls?" I asked.
"Oh yes, about tree limbs on your wires and that they're stretched out."
"No one called me back," I said. Suddenly, a switch flicked in my brain. "Fuck it. I'm done with being dicked around by your team. I'll blog it and see what ensues."
# # #
This is a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.