Sunday Morning Interrupted

You know that song that’s popular now about Sunday morning–and something about ‘sharing skin?’ I love that song, but unfortunately it had absolutely nothing to do with my Sunday morning this week.

Sunday morning 6:00 a.m. I know it’s earlier than most people get up on a Sunday morning, but I’m weird–something that’s already been established.

First thing I do (almost) is check the computer–e-mail, a few web sites I’m monitoring for overnight changes. Now I can even take the computer into bed with me, which is what I did on the Sunday in question after I got up long enough to retrieve it from my desk. You may be thinking “sick,” I’m thinking “warm.” Obviously I have a laptop, a wi-fi set-up, and it’s cold outside–as well as in. Whoever figured this wi-fi bit out should be given an award. A big one.

So there I was, all connected and warm and surrounded by things soft. I was happy, but the computer was not. It told me the network was not working–or something to that effect. I thought it was just having a bad moment and went back to sleep for another hour during which I hoped it would fix itself. When I woke up, it hadn’t—still no go with the internet.

OK, so I got serious and moved the whole operation to its rightful place on my desk, and tried again–just in case. Still no go. Oh no. This meant a dreaded call to my “service provider,” something I try as hard to avoid as an IRS audit. A most unfortunate start to the day.

First insult to my short-lived state of well-being on this Sunday morning was the endless battery of questions to answer by pushing numbers on the phone key pad whenever calling the “service provider,” from here on, referred to as ‘SP.’ I mean it goes on forever–the equivalent of my entire life story being asked for over the phone by a computer voice that guarantees me nothing as an end result–except maybe eventual connection to a being in a far off land where English is spoken with an accent that does not come from any place I’ve ever been to.

On this morning I was lucky. I am an expert at diagnosing the abilities of the foreign being to whom I’ve been connected–after all, I get enough experience with so many customer service departments being located on other planets. The voice at the other end sounded within the realm of something I could work with and that it was also connected to an engaged brain–one that was wired to listen to me and not just reel off instructions from a preordained list. A major and rare find.

The unfortunate news, as it almost always is when I call the SP, was that I had to turn off my computer.

I always keep a lot of internet sites open on my computer screen so that I don’t have to go on an architectural dig of the virtual sort just to find them all again each time I want to check something. Having to completely shut the computer down destroys all of this and means I will have to reconstruct Rome before I can again become functional myself.

So back to this reasonable sounding voice representing my SP. The next thing it told me to do after shutting down the computer was to do the same to the wi-fi router–which meant it just had to be disconnected from the electrical outlet. But, I had to move furniture to do this and to do that I needed to set down my phone.

When I picked the phone up again I unwittingly grabbed it in a way that caused a wayward finger to depress the disconnect key, and the reasonable sounding voice at the other end was gone–totally gone, and gone for good. I knew there was no way to resurrect it or ever find it, or probably even one remotely like it, again.

There was nothing to do, or so I thought at that moment, but call the SP back and again go through the endless barrage of annoying computerized questions. My slim hopes of getting another reasonable sounding voice were demolished when I eventually heard a voice from an animate, if alien, being-not reasonable sounding at all. This voice was not from another planet, but another galaxy.

I tried explaining what I had already done at the instructions of his colleague–shut down the computer and disconnect the router. His first question was “what did the error message say when the problem first appeared?” I paraphrased what I could remember. He persisted, “what was the exact wording?”

“I don’t know, the computer is shut down,” said my voice, already dripping with exasperation.

“You’re going to have to turn it on again to find out, but first you have to dismantle the modem, pry open the router, and remove the computer’s keyboard,” said the unreasonable extragalactic voice.

“Why do I have to do all of that when the other voice said this would be simple?” I moaned.

“Nothing is simple when you call us for help, don’t you know that by now?” continued the voice of unreason.

The instructions went on. “Once you have the modem disassembled, you must also disassemble the router and the computer…and then remove all possible parts from each. Put them in a pile, mix them up, and then re-install wherever you can make them fit. If you have leftover parts, go outside and dig a ditch, 1 foot deep and 3 feet long, sprinkle the parts evenly, fill in the ditch, and do a dance to the cyber gods. Go back inside, reconnect the modem first, then the router, and then restart the computer. Everything should work, but If by some remote chance it doesn’t, go to the nearest computer store and buy everything new and then everything should be just fine. And be sure to mention my name–I’m on commission.”

I knew that part about the dancing to the cyber gods was off. I cut through the nonsense and just turned the router and the computer back on. They worked and were connected to each other as well as to the ethers. Yay.

I told the unreasonable voice, still attached to the other end of my phone, that I had solved the problem far more simply and inexpensively. The voice was rendered speechless, which was a great relief.

Next Sunday morning will be different.

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