Saturday, August 6, 2011

Please try connecting to the internet...

This post was written about a month ago, but I never posted it...mainly because I never finished it.  There isn't much of a point to it...but I'll post it anyway, at the very least as a break from my regularly scheduled seriousness.  'Cause I definitely need a break from seriousness, and this is the closest thing I've got.
              I called the Internet People (company shall remain nameless) to set up my internet about 2 weeks ago.  I could pay $10 for a self-install kit, or $35 for them to come out and do it for me.  Being the do-it-myself sort of person that I am, I opted for the self-install kit.  It was set to arrive in 2 days, and as such, they would start billing me for service in 2 days. 
                5 days later, I still didn’t have the kit, but it arrived on day 6, and I set it up.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to work.  It was all set up, plugged into the correct places, it just wouldn’t connect.  So I called the Internet People.  After waiting on hold for about half an hour, someone answered:
                “Internet People, how can I help you today?” 

                 I explained my predicament.

                “Well, Ma’am, just give me one minute, Ma’am, and let me…can you hold just one minute, Ma’am?”
               “Absolutely.”  Heeeeeeeere we go, I thought.  I held. 

He came back, “Ma’am?  Well, see, there’s a problem here, Ma’am.  The problem is that the internet hasn’t been hooked up since November, Ma’am, and that’s a problem, see?”
                “Yes sir,” I replied.  “I just moved in, and the previous tenets moved out in November.”
                “Yes, Ma’am,” he said, “and that’s why the internet hasn’t been hooked up since November.”
                Fantastic, my dear Watson!  What a sleuth you are!  “That’s correct,” I said. 
“Yes Ma’am, that is correct, and that’s why you can’t connect, see?”
“Yes, that makes sense.”
“Yes, Ma’am, that does make sense.  So I figured that part out now, Ma’am.”  Oh dear lord, how much positive reinforcement do you need?
Feeling like I was losing where exactly we were going, I said, “Yes…yes, that’s great!  Nice work.  Okay, well what do I need to do to hook things up again?”
                “Well Ma’am, the problem is, you see Ma’am, the problem isn’t with what you did.  The problem is that the internet isn’t connected to the po’.”
                “I’m sorry?”
                “The po’, Ma’am.  It isn’t even registering on my screen because you’re not connected to the po’.”
                “The…I’m sorry, I’m not understanding.
                “The po’, Ma’am.  You’re not connected to the po’.”
                “Oh I see,” I said, although I clearly didn’t.
“Yes Ma’am, you need to be connected.”
“Connected…right.  I’m not connected.  So how do…”
He cut me off.  “Yes Ma’am.  Connected to the po’.  You’re still not connected to the po’.” 
“Something isn’t connected to the pole?”
“Yes Ma’am.  You’re not connected to the po’.”
“I see.  The pole.  Mmmkay, well…how do I fix that?”
                “Well Ma’am, I could send somebody out if you would like, and he could connect it to the po’.”
                “Why yes, that would be fantastic,” I said.  I managed to hide the sarcasm in my voice (for the most part).  We set up a time (a week later) that I could be reconnected to the po’, and we hung up.
                Fast-forward a week.  The Internet People truck pulls into my driveway, and a cute, young guy gets out and comes to the door.  He pulls a treat out of his pocket for Marshall who is barking like the big, ferocious dog he…isn’t, and instantly becomes Marshall’s new best friend. 

                “SO,” he says, walking into the living room.  “Wazzup?”

                Wazzup?  For real?  I am slightly thrown off, but say, “well, I’m having internet issues.  It’s all set up, but I can’t connect.  When I called Internet People the other day, they told me it’s because I’m not connected to the pole or something?”  I’m more than a little embarrassed, but figure he has to know what I’m talking about.
                He snorted.  “The pole?  Not connected to the pole?”  Come on now, Buddy.  Snorting?  Really?  I hardly think that was necessary.  Minus 5 cute points for you.

                “That’s what they said.  Internet people.  That’s what they said on the phone.”

                He snorted again.  I took him into the other room and showed him the computer.  He did a couple things, went outside, went down in the basement, and came back in. 
                “Why do you have a dish for DirectTV?” he asked.
“That’s from a previous renter.  It’s not mine.  I don’t have TV.”
“Well they must have messed with it when they came out.  When was DirectTV out here last?”
“I’m not sure.  The dish isn’t mine.  It was here when I moved in.”  Patience, Laura.  Patience is a virtue.
“Yes, but when did they come out?  The TV guys.  The cable guys.  From DirectTV.  When…did…they…come…to…your…house.”  You’re losing cute points steadily, bud, I thought.
“I have no idea.  I just moved in.”  I return to my mantra: I have arrived.  I am home.  In the here.  In the now.
“Who is your cable through?  Did you get cable through us, too?”  I think you’re down to negative five cute points now, friend. 
“I don’t have cable.  At all.  The TV is just for movies.  No cable.  I don’t get any channels.”  I am calm.  I am free.  In the ultimate I dwell.
“Yeah…but…okay.”  He started talking with his hands, as if I must be slow and incredibly dense.  “Okay…when DirectTV came out and hooked up your cable…what did they do?”
I talk with my hands, too, and mimic his slow way of speaking.  “I have neeeeeever seen anybody from DirectTV.  My TV?  It isn’t even plugged in.”  I hold up the cable from the back of the TV.    “I don’t have it hooked up.  I get 0 channels.”  A slow, dawning recognition crept across his face.  I have arrived…
“You don’t have TV?”  He is completely dumbfounded.  Awestruck.  He has no comprehension.
“Weird,” he says, going back to my desk.  I went and watered my plants, washed some dishes, and heard him mumbling in my office.  I walked back in.
                “Your modem is super slow,” he said, “I don’t know why your modem is so slow.  This is effing ridiculous.  I’ve never seen anything like this.”
                “Hmmm…that sounds like a problem,” I said. 
                “You bought this, didn’t you,” he said, accusing.
                “No sir,” I said, “I am renting it from Internet People.  It came in the self-install box.”
                “Well I think you got a bad one.  You’re slowing down my computer, which is lightning fast.”
                “Okay, well the modem technically belongs to you guys.”
“You must have just got a bad one.  I’ve never seen one so slow.  You’re slowing down MY computer.  I don’t get it.  This thing is always lightning fast.  LIGHTNING FAST, I tell you.”
“Well,” I asked, trying not to seem dense, “given that your computer is always lightning fast and the only thing that could be the problem seems to be the modem…do you have another one we can try?  A replacement?”

He looks at me like I sprouted an ear in the middle of my forehead.  Really?  Is that look necessary?   He says nothing.  “In other words,” I continue, “what do I need to do so it doesn’t slow down my computer, too?”
                “Well,” he says, slowly and carefully, as though he was talking to a 4 year old, “You can pick up the phone,” he holds up his hand like a phone.  “Call Internet People,” he imitates dialing the phone, “and have them send you a new one!”  He put on a big, fake smile, like he’s congratulating said toddler for not putting peas up her nose.

               “Ah,” I said.  Asshole.  “I just figured you probably carry such things on your truck, or you would be able to help me with something like that, given that you are already here.”
                “Why would I be able to help you with that?” he asked.
                 “I’m not exactly sure,” I say.  I went back to my kitchen.  I.AM.CALM.  I.AM.FREE…

                Two minutes later, he emerged.

                “You’re set,” he said.  “Sign here.”

                “Oh really?” I asked, “you got it to work?”  Sorry Bud, try again!

                “Oh it works,” he said.  “Believe me it works.  Of course it works.”  We walk back into the office, he hits the Internet Explorer button, and the internet pops up with the “Cannot display webpage, please try connecting to the internet” page.  He looked at me.  I look at him, back to the screen, and then back at him.  He continues staring at me, not saying anything.
                “That looks like a problem to me,” I stated.  It wasn’t accusatory, or hostile, or even sarcastic.  It was simply stating the obvious.  Told you.

                “Oh it works,” he said again. 

                I stayed silent, and just gave him a look.  It’s in moments like that that I’m frightened by how much I look like my mother, because I’m sure I had the exact same look my mother gave me when she said things like: “If you tell a jackass that, he’ll kick you in the head.”  I, however, held my tongue.
                “Well the PROBLEM,” he said again, as though I was someone who was extremely slow on the uptake, “is that you have a bad IP address.”

                “Aha.”  Iamcalm, Iamfree, IntheultimateIdwell.  I am so freakin' calm….  “Well…” I pause.  “Well,” I say again.  “I’m not sure exactly how to fix that,” I finally manage.  He started clicking and clicking and clicking, and finally said, “Oh, that’s why it’s not working.”  He clicked some more, and said, without pulling up the internet, “now it’s fine.” 

                “It works now?” I say, just wanting us all to be sure.
                “Of course it works,” he says.  He clicks on internet explorer and, after a minute, Google appears.  “See?  It works.”  He went to another site, then another, and they all worked.  “It works.”

                “Okay, that’s great,” I said.  “Is the issue with the modem resolved now, or should I call Internet People and get a new one?”

                “Oh it works,” he says.  “You just have a slow one.  It might be defective.  But it works.  It all works.”

                “Okay,” I say, definitely done with this interaction.  “I just have one more question: my service technically started about a week and a half ago, but I haven’t been able to connect to the internet, obviously, so I want to make sure I don’t get billed for the past week and a half when I didn’t have service.”
                “What you do,” he says in the slow and patient voice, “is call this number right here—that’s the number for Internet People,” he nods, big slow nods with his eyes wide and his mouth gaping slightly.  “You call them, and you tell them…” he slowed even more, to make sure I really understood what he was saying.  “You tell them: ‘don’t…charge me…for when…I didn’t…have…service.’  Think you can do that?”
                “Mmmkay.  I just thought maybe that was something I had to mention to you.”

                “Why would I be able to help you with that?” he asked.
                “I’m not sure,” I said, starting to wonder why I thought he would be able to help me at all.

                “Do you have any more questions?” he asked. 

                “Nope, that’s it,” I said.  I’m pretty sure I added the asshole on the end silently. 

                “I’m going to ask one more time,” he said.  “Do…you have…any more…questions?  I don’t want to get a call from you saying I didn’t answer your questions and have to come back out here.”

                “Oh no,” I said again, sarcasm and hostility seeping into my voice.  “I’m very done.”  I’m pretty sure I added the “get the (four letter word) out of my house” on to the end silently.  I signed his paper and he left. 
                Two seconds after he is out the door, I start getting angry.  Four seconds after he is out the door, my mother calls.  I answer, and tell her the story, becoming angrier as I recount it.  She’s silent.

                “Well Laur’,” she says, “I think you need to realize that this is not a reflection on you.  There’s no use getting angry about this because this is obviously just a reflection of how much he hates his job and hates having to work Saturday mornings.  Cut the guy a little slack.”
                “I didn’t think it was a reflection of my actual intelligence,” I say.  “And I understand hating working Saturday mornings.  I worked Saturday mornings for 5 years with kids that bit the hell out of me.  But I don’t think that gives him the right to treat me like that.”

                “Yeah, well, you better not complain.  Now this dude knows where you live.”

                That he does.  But provided I don’t have any more questions and I don’t disconnect from the po’, I’m pretty sure Buddy isn’t coming back out here anytime soon.               

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