I know I’m in trouble when I yell at inanimate objects.
It does not elude me that at this very moment, while I’m calling my laptop a very bad name, millions of darling little schoolchildren are sitting at their desks, looking at screens that will teach them to look at more screens so everyone’s life will be more awesome.
The house phone rings.
“This is an important call regarding your credit card. Currently, there are no problems with your…” !#$@%! Slam.
I open my laptop. Gotta get online, gotta check emails, gotta connect on social media. That’s what I do now every morning.
Can’t get online. Not connected.
I head upstairs. Check the little black box, way below our desktop computer. Two lights out of seven are lit. Can’t remember how many are supposed to be. Can’t read what it says next to the lights, either, because I’d have to be about 8 inches tall, or a preschool gymnast to read it. Maybe that white WiFi thing is the issue. Unplug, wait, replug. Go downstairs. Nothing.
I need coffee. I can face anything with coffee.
Maybe the connection problem’s temporary and it will correct itself. Ha, ha. What a kidder.
Put coffee on. Go upstairs. Unplug, replug. I’m sensing a pattern here. Downstairs. Check laptop. Use the troubleshooter. No luck. Click on different options. Nothing.
Back to coffee pot. Wish it was booze. I know it’s morning, and I don’t drink anyway. But I’m having a crisis.
Might as well make breakfast.
Darn it. Toast falls down between the slats of my new, multi-setting, high-tech toaster. Unplug, insert knife. Call Internet service from my iPhone. The Internet service/cable company menu tells me there’s no service related to that phone number. Redial, enter home number.
“…outages in your area. We are working hard to restore…” Uh oh. This could take days. No Internet, home phone or cable.
So, toast, coffee, and a body that won’t quit (wait for it …) turning toward the computer like an infant needing milk from Mama, and Mama’s not home.
I throw on a robe and walk outdoors into the fresh, sunny day for the mail. What? Something from my credit card company, new card, new number. Oh, crap. My card’s been hacked. Better call to make sure this isn’t a scam.
“This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes,” says robo-thing.
“And I’m monitoring you,” I say, adding “stupidhead” because, well, you know, regression happens when one is trying to enjoy the awesome benefits of technology.
A human comes on the line.
Me: Can you tell me how my card was compromised?
She: No, ma’am. We don’t have that information.
Me: Really? No one knows?
She: Ma’am, they don’t tell-
Me: Fine. What do I do about places that automatically bill my old card number?
Now, friends, I know darned well I’m going to have to call each and every company. I just want the rep to squirm. From wherever she’s located.
The first place I call says I’m “the (pause) six-ty-sev-enth call-er” and that my questions can be answered at www.WeDoNotGiveA-”
1. I have no Internet service; 2. My old card’s been hacked, and they want my new card information online? Hey, everyone – there’s a Big Ol’ Giveaway at the family farm in Westbrook, Maine. Come and get it. And 3. I HAVE NO INTERNET AND I AM NOT TAKING MY COMPUTER TO A PUBLIC PLACE WHERE (extremely deep breath) the “…shared network you are about to… people may see your personal infor-…”
When I finally get through, the connection is so bad I have to start over. And recharge my phone battery. Now I’m imprisoned at the wall outlet. With a great window view of the lovely day outside. Yup. I am really feeling those cool technological advances.
The next call I make to them – “the (pause) fif-ty third call-er” – is answered while I’m finally taking my morning shower, at the end of the afternoon. Yes, hair full of suds, I hear the familiar:
Now dressed, I call yet again, figuring I can connect and take my iPhone with me on a walk, before the sun goes down. I’m angry with myself for worrying about business matters at the expense of enjoying the day. But I’m so close to getting at least this one task accomplished. I dial the same number that’s practically committed to memory by now, waiting to hear how many “call-ers” are ahead of me and how important my call is to them.
And finally, I get my answer.
“Our offices have closed for the day. Please call back tomorrow during our regular business hours.”