I’m Back! And Still Dialing

The real heroes of this world are the ones who clear the channels, ease the way, get things moving and circulating again.

I recently had a problem with my internet connection, my Internet was broken. No emails coming or going, no banking or bill paying, no updating, no downloading, no Googling, no Facebook….basically nothing I needed to do was getting done. I called my wireless internet provider and dutifully went through the drill: Unplug the router; Plug the router back in; Is it working? No; Disconnect the wireless cable from the router; Reconnect the wireless cable; Is it working? No; Disconnect the router cable from the back of the computer and take the wireless cable out of the router and plug it in to the back of the computer; (This is the point when I always vow to immediately clean up this tangle of wires and cables once and for all! A promise I will soon forget.); Is it working? Yes! But “Yes” not in a good way. : (

I need all this data on my other devices in the office: My Office Manager, Gail’s, computer, the computers in the front office where Tom, our agent, works, the wireless printer in the back room, my iPad. I’m not the only one in this operation, everything flows, everything happens, through sharing. “The problem appears to be your router. You’ll have to call your router manufacturer’s tech support.”

Router? I know nothing about my router except how to unplug it and plug it back in. I have to Google (which thankfully I can manage to do from my now singly connected computer) the manufacturer’s website…which thankfully is the .com extension of the name clearly emblazened on the top of the device which now sits dark and brooding on the outskirts of my work station. I find the toll free number for tech support, take a deep breath and dial ( well not really dial, press…why do we still call it “dialing”?)

A very friendly, exuberantly courteous, voice answers. “Hello, my name is Paul. How may I be of service to you today?” Obviously, his name isn’t Paul, Paul is his spiritual name. While hordes of seekers here in the west adopt transformative names like Shakti, Adyashanti and Dharma (or acquire them from hippie parents), the universe in its ironic balancing act causes young people in the mystical east to call themselves Paul, Steven and Judy.

I learned many things in the course of this call, not the least of which $129.99 is the new $19.99 in tech support jargon. He earned it. The call lasted THREE HOURS!…counting the 15-minute break Paul generously allowed me to go “refresh” myself, which is tech support jargon for “use the toilet”.

Nothing could put a price on the education I received during this marathon session. I was dragged by the hair, kicking and screaming, through IP addresses, packets delivered and undelivered, sub addresses, DNS’s and to the discovery of an unobtrusive little black box covered in dust lodged in the depths of the tangled mess under my desk…the modem. MODEM!!? Somewhere in the recesses of my fading memory of some distant pre-Twitter past I recall the word Modem. Didn’t it have something to do with Dial-Up, the little prehistoric Flintstones creature that made the beeping sounds that maybe after 30-seconds …SECONDS! would load a page of internet script (no images please) onto your CRT screen?

Indeed, the very same. THAT’S WHY WE STILL CALL IT DIALING! After all the the Captain Crunching, Steve Job-ing, Bill Gates-ing…we’re still just dialing….only much, MUCH faster.

In the end Paul solved my problem and we parted amicably, if not outright fondly. But what I gained was more than just restoration of my enormous internet powers, I gained a deep abiding respect for the people who keep it all moving, unnoticed, unheralded, only occasionally can we hear beneath the uproar of our massive search engines, a tiny, sequence of beeps…the little black boxes.

Guess I’m going to have to change my Snowflake subject change icon soon…We change to Daylight Savings Time tomorrow!  If we’re Springing Forward, can Spring be far behind?

Come see me tomorrow (an hour earlier? later?..whenever) On Leah’s Front Porch.

One thought on “I’m Back! And Still Dialing

  1. OMG! been there – done that as well and boy do I agree! I now have on speed DIAL (that’s press one button dialing) my own private, personal, favorite “secret Paul” – not his real – who when I say “what’s wrong with my computer and your internet?” – knows how to walk me through a fix, yes including a refresh break! To all the Pauls and Paulas out there… keep up the good work as it much take so much patience to talk tech with someone who is not tech savy. Or maybe they just get a good belly laugh when a I say things like, “okay, I plugged in the little thingy inside the only thing it would fit in… what now?”

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