The phone repairman came to visit last night. It took close to two hours but he did eventually get everything up and running again, which means I now have a dial tone and Internet service - yippee! (So, George Clooney, if you were trying to call me on Monday or Tuesday night, now is the time to call me back!)
First, the guy from Bell Technical Services had to check the phone line inside my apartment. He disconnected my phone at the main jack (which I now know is located in the kitchen, conveniently situated at eye level, as compared to the rest of the jacks which are either on the baseboard or only a foot or so above ground level). Nope, no dial tone when he hooked up his own equipment, which meant it was definitely an outside problem and one that I would not have to pay for (phew!).
I was wryly amused to see that one of the choices in the 3 digit configurations was "tit". I kid you not. Apparently it's true what one of my male friends told me, all guys are basically stuck at the age of 12 mentally, no matter how old they get!
I left him there and went back upstairs. About an hour or so later, he arrived back at my door, having found the problem to be a damaged wire somewhere down the street in a box. How this wire got damaged and why it was only my phone line that was affected, he couldn't say for sure. "It happens," was the only explanation he could provide.