Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living Low-Tech

I'm not exactly a technofile, but I have become accustomed to accessing information and communication at the click of a mouse. Before we moved into this new house, my husband contacted our cable provider online to arrange transfer of service. Good news! the email reply said. You're still in our service area! A service rep will contact you to arrange transfer of service.
On moving day, we half-expected someone to show up from the cable company, but no one did. But when we set up our modem, routers, etc, lo and behold, we had Internet and digital cable access! How easy was that? we thought.
Too easy. After three weeks in our new home, I returned home one day to find the cable dead.
I called the technical help line and went through the annoying numerical menu, plugged and unplugged the modem, and finally hacked my way through the electronic thicket to find a real person.
"Our cable seems to be out," I said, with the confidence of the righteously wounded. I knew that they would rush right out to fix it. But when I gave my information, it became clear that we were still listed at the old address.
"How can that be?" I said. "We sent a request, and we've been online for three weeks at our new address."
Apparently they did some kind of audit and discovered unauthorized cable service at our new address. They disconnected it at the street.
"I need Internet," I said, in the manner of someone whose oxygen has been cut off. "Turn it back on."
"The soonest we can come is Wednesday," Cable Guy said.
"I'll be in Columbus Wednesday," I said. "Can't you come tomorrow?"
"We're booked up tomorrow," he said. "Are you sure you can't be there on Wednesday?"
Sure. Okay. I just made up that Columbus story.
"No.I.will.be.in.Columbus.Wednesday," I said.
"Well, we can try to force it in," he said.
"Are you home now?"
"I can try to force an appointment for tonight," he said. "No guarantees."
"Are you saying somebody might be here tonight to turn on my cable?" Hope kindled.
"No guarantees."
"When will you know?"
"Well, uh..." he said evasively.
"I can't watch TV or get online, so I thought I'd get into the tub," I said.
I know. TMI. But it soon became clear that nobody was forcing anything either tonight or tomorrow.
"So," he said brightly, "were you satisfied with this service call?"
"Well, I'm not satisfied that I don't have Internet access or TV, but I think you did your best to help me," I said generously.
"Well, in that case, had you thought about switching to digital phone service, too?"
Many possible responses crowded into my mind., but I chose the high road. "Um, no," I said.
"Don't you want to save money?" Cable Guy asked.
"No," I said testily. "I'm actually looking for ways to squander it."
It's all about timing, Cable Guy. It's all about timing.


Gilly said...

No, I'm actually looking for ways to squander it!

AHAHAHAHA! Brilliant.

I feel bad for cable/satellite telephone operators. I do. But did you ever notice that they are not very humorous people?

Me: The lights on my modem - you know, the ones that flicker? They are not on.
Cable Guy: None of them?
Me: No.
Cable Guy: There's not even one lit up that's not flickering?
Me: That's what none means.
Cable Guy: Try unplugging the modem.
Me: I think it needs to be replaced.
Cable Guy: Try unplugging it.
Me: I already did. Nothing happened.
Cable Guy: I really need you to unplug it while I'm on the phone and wait about 30 seconds before you plug it back in.
Me: How would you even know? I could just tell you I unplugged it, but never do it.
Cable Guy: Ma'am, you need to unplug the modem or I can't help you.
Me: Sigh. I'm just kidding. I did it.
Cable Guy: Wait 30 seconds, then plug it back in.
Me: Okay, nothing happened again.
Cable Guy: The lights aren't back on?
Me: None of them.
Cable Guy: Not even the static one?
Me: That's still what none means.
Cable Guy: Let's try rebooting . . .

Erika Jones - Writer said...

I know your guys' pain. When we try to get our internet working again, we're on the phone with the phone company AT&T for almost 8 hours straight. They don't seem to get that if something doesn't work and they've tried all the steps they are required to tell us to go through, that we need a new flippin box. They aren't humerous becuase they take all my stepfather's jokes seriously and no one laughs. They get confused by my stepfather's way of talking and fall for every word puzzle he can think of putting them through, and sometimes you have to talk to them like they're five year olds and really slow like. It's hilarious, I have to hold my laughs in every time we have to call. Sometimes they're just stupid to the core and rare to get a living person through the machine shit. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Funny. I've spent many hours on the phone when we've had problems with the Internet. Once they had to come for 8 hours to fix it. We finally totally upgraded our service because it drives me nuts to be unconnected.