NOTHING upsets my day more completely and irrevocably–and pushes me closer to the brink of total insanity–than the loss of my connection to cyberspace. Who would ever have thought? Eight years ago I didn’t even have a computer!! (I admit that I was a bit behind the times back then.)

Yesterday was a case in point. I should have known the day was doomed when it began with my charging outside at 6:00 in the pitch black to break up the beginnings of a cat fight that was about to actualize in my back yard.

Not watching where I was going, and forgetting that the previous afternoon I had moved a newly potted plant directly into my path, I tripped over pot and plant, breaking the pot. This caused my initial annoyance with the day that had hardly begun, and to rectify that I immediately set about repotting the plant-right there in the dark and while dressed in only my nightgown. Being in the dark, theoretically allowing me to go un-observed, was the saving grace.

I should have taken my cue and gone back to bed right then and there-after the plant re-potting. Unfortunately I did not.

And then the day really began to unravel when I turned on my computer to find an e-mail message from my internet carrier, saying that they were “upgrading” their system and I would need to make “some adjustments” to my computer’s internet settings. I knew instantly this spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E ….and was I ever right!

First, the instructions on how to affect these changes in my settings were completely unintelligible-written in geek-speak, so only available to the intelligensia of the cyber-set. Seeing that, I called customer service and that’s where the problems began in earnest and settled in for the duration. My e-mail was no longer functioning at all, and that fact alone always has extremely serious and negative consequences for me and anyone within range of me.

First of all, customer service for this internet server company is located on another planet. Their first question to me each time I call them is, “What day is it?” This really instills a lot of confidence right from the start. After that it soon becomes apparent that that is the only full sentence they are capable of speaking in a way that is understandable, so obviously, they want to get as much mileage as possible from it–and right up front too.

I’m going to summarize what-happened-next over the following 48 hours.

In the first 12 hours I was on the phone with these people from another planet-5 of them all together, none of whom could either follow the instructions their company had sent to me or come up with another solution–for a total of 8 hours. Each one had to put me through the same routine, that I knew from previous experience with his colleagues, didn’t work. I told each one that, but they all insisted-and would not transfer me to their leader. Soon I had figured out that they were robots anyway and didn’t even have a leader.

At some point I had figured out enough by myself that I could make things work-at least temporarily. “Temporarily” was very short lived, however, and the next day I was back as an e-mail cripple-unable to get help from any human, alien, or robot anywhere.

Just before being committed to the closest facility for the terminally deranged, I had a 3-hour long phone marathon with one of the intergalactic aliens who at least didn’t ask me what day it was. A sign of hope. He essentially told me to un-do everything that the originally sent e-mail had told me to do. Great. The only thing was that the un-doing took a lot more time and effort than the doing, but once accomplished, everything was back working-at last.

So what was the point of all that seemingly senseless drawn-out grief and agony? Was I such a “valued customer”–as the aliens insisted on calling me–that they wanted the honor of my presence on the phone for the better part of two days?

Finally I came to. The whole point of this was that they really did want to know what day it was and this, and cutting off my e-mail so I would call them, was the only way for them to find out! If only I had gone back to bed that first morning following my encounter with the flower pot…. Next time I’ll know.

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