To make a short story long …

Several days ago, we had a perfect storm of sorts. On the very same day our Internet went down, and our microwave over fizzled as well. Gadzooks! Zounds!

To make a short story long … nah, details do not matter. We now have Internet, and while a replacement for our old GE Profile microwave would have cost $479 at Best Buy, a $70 model at Target would have to do. The cupboard space for the Profile is 24x12x12, and only a very few machines fit in that space, but to save $409, we will make do. This is the second time that GE Profiles have failed on us.

The point is this – not having Internet, not having a microwave, really made us think about how accustomed we are to modern conveniences. With the latter, we were forced to use the range to heat up dishes – we cook all our food in advance for later, and just warm it up as we go. No big deal.

For the Internet, I really felt constrained. Anything I did, any comment that had to be approved I had to do on my iPhone, which is tiny compared to my fat fingers. To do something that required real keyboarding, I was forced to go eight miles down the road to use our grandson’s laptop.

For our twentieth wedding anniversary a few years back we took a trip to Montana and Wyoming, and I left all electronics behind.  I went a week or more without them. It was sobering to realize how inured I am to grabbing a device and checking email or the blog or sports news or even real fake news.

But I got used to it. On the actual day of our anniversary, we sat on the banks of the Gallatin River in Montana, watching waxwings darting all around catching bugs and people boating and fishing. We had a fire and a hammock. We stayed in a very small trailer that was just enough of everything to be comfy. The river was but thirty feet from the door. It was delightful.

Regarding our Internet, it was a struggle to fix. I first had to be sure that it was not my desktop computer that went south. To do that, I rebooted the modem (Centurylink indeed uses modems and not routers) and then, as it had been doing, saw that it worked for a short while before degrading to nothing. As that happened I also saw the same thing happen to an iPad and iPhone. So I knew that it was the signal, and not the devices that was going south on us.

Then came the hard part. Krausler mentioned that he’s had difficulty dealing with his Internet provider, Comcast(?), as they just don’t give a shit. For me, I had to call Centurylink. It takes five minutes just to get through their bot and all of their announcements and virtue signalling to get to a real person. Of course, there is a hold time, and the real person speaks only broken English. I am long trained to be patient and polite, as the person I am dealing with speaks one more language than I do.

I asked for them to test the signal, and they did. Indeed Internet was getting to our house, and since I knew the receiving devices in our home were OK, there could be only one culprit, the modem. I had to convince them of this, and provide them with date of purchase and read to them a 20-something letter serial number over the phone, several times. They agreed it was under warranty, and so sent a new one.

It arrived yesterday. To boot it required that I hold my phone over the QR code, and wait for it to respond. Once done, it asked me if I wanted Centurylink to join the network, and I said yes. It then said “Sorry Dave, we cannot do that.” OK, it did not say “Sorry Dave.” That’s 2001, a Space Odyssey. After many tries, I gave up.

This meant that I had to call Centurylink once more, which I did last evening. Wait time was over twenty minutes, but I had no choice. Finally, after waiting that amount of time, I got the bot that says “If you’d like to make a call…”, that is, I got disconnected. At this point I took our house phone and threw it across the room. I explained what had happened to my wife, and that I had finally lost my temper. She understood, and was relieved that nothing got broken.

I called once more, and after a shorter wait time, I was told that it appeared that the second modem that arrived yesterday was also defective, so that another one would arrive … Monday. So be it.

Last evening I kept trying, and finally got a signal, and finally was able to fire up our Internet. I do not know what I did. It just happened.

There. I made a short story long.

8 thoughts on “To make a short story long …

  1. Dave does eventually get the pod doors to open, too.
    I have a motto: The machines will never defeat me.
    So far so good and I’m a techtard of the first rank. Just recall and repeat the words of Howard Beale: “I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’” and the machines will cower in shame as they have no value beyond what we give them.


    1. I have never seen Network, one if many fine films I have missed. I have dealt quite a bit with bots, and find them completely overrated. Synchrony, for instance, the bank that Amazon uses to process its credit card, has a website. To download my monthly statement, I use Adobe, but at Synchrony, it is merely a screen flash and does not work. Also, their statements, when they did work, were in 11×14 format, which no one uses anymore. Down in the left corner is a “chat” button, and it is a bot. Not only does it not understand anything, but it also cannot get me to a human.

      So these problems, which millions experience, cannot be fixed, as there is no way to communicate with this company. They are protected by a very stupid bot.


  2. Mark- See Network and then watch Meet John Doe (1941) . You could switch scenes with Barbara Stanwyck and Faye Dunaway at certain points and you would still think nothing was switched. Paddy Chayefsky clearly rewrote Capra’s film as an update on the eternal might of manufactured reality via whatever media was available.


  3. More posts like this, please. I love hearing your voice in my head. The more mundane the topic, the more beautiful it sounds. What a gift.


  4. in my experience modems or routers which are modems and routers combined together can and will brake occasionally and identifying the problem is very time consuming and frustrating. Therefore we have the same router twice, configured with the same data and even being exchanged from time to time to get the actual updates on both machines. That way, if something does not work, we just switch the cables. But usually it is the provider which occasionally has problems. In our case, on some days there is no internet for an hour or so, which we first ignore and wait for the lamps on the router to stop blinking. It’s time to open a book and read or to take a nap.


    1. I have suspicions along those lines, but of course the provider will never fess up. But for our original modem, it was definitely defective. Service started out fine and then hit a traffic jam, and stopped. With a replacement modem, same problem but service only slows, does not stop.


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