Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Five Days. Five long Days

Ramblings Post #107
What happens when the world stops? What happens when all you know is torn from you and all you have left is the ancient tools of a civilization long past its prime? What happens when your...internet connection goes down? Friday night I came home to discover no internet at my house and it took AT&T five days to fix it. Here I will relate the horror the agony, the pain, the boredom, the surprise at how often I check Facebook, the ability to focus that suddenly arose, the paucity of good phone games and how Direct TV and a PS3 made it all bearable.

Friday Night

In my neighborhood, how you break into a home is you a) cut the phone lines, b) turn off the power externally c) break a window and crawl in and d) destroy the little box that contains the actual ringing thing. Standard procedure.

So Friday, I ducked out of a boring company function, get home and lay out on the couch for a hot minute. My auto currently is AC deficient - that becomes important later - so enjoy the cool of the house and nod off a little bit. So around 10pm or so, as I've apparently turned into a complete homebody, I mean home on a Friday night in Atlanta, I decide to check the web for the usual flotsam and foolishness.

I get the no network error and figure something is wrong with the system. Run a check - reset network access, check cables, diagnostic on system, and then I finally check the actual phone line. Which is dead. So then I grab my flashlight, and step outside, to find that my phone line has been cut but that they couldn't get the power box open. By the way, shout out to MasterLock and its fine products. So yeah, that happened. Again.

So then I discover that my ISP is, er, how can I put this delicately....oh, yeah, bullshit.. I call the Repair Line and get the automated service, which after running me through the basics, enters a "trouble ticket" and tells me that they'll have a technician on site...by next Wednesday. Yeah, right. So I call the Customer Service line which tells me that I need to call the Repair line. So I call the Sales line, where I get an ACTUAL PERSON, who tells me to call the Repair line, you know, where there are no actual people.

And since my home alarm runs through my phone and I was supposed to be going home to see my folks out of state, we suddenly have an impasse.

I dial up some Red Dead Redemption in disgust and shoot people at random for a while.


I'm up at 8am on a Saturday burning up cell phone minutes. I call everybody I already called and then a few more. I call the folks and apprise them of the situation and they're understanding. For the first time in a while I actually have a few things worth stealing, so I'm ready to hunker down and defend the fort. By staying home.

I finally get someone on the phone from repair around noon, and I calmly explain the situation. I know the game, and I know that screaming at people usually only works if you've worked up to a rage, as they tend to feel bad since you were soooo cooperative when you started. I'm assured that a tech will be assigned shortly and that the local manager will call me with a update.


Meanwhile my brother, with whom I had planned traveling home with, has the idea that since I have to stay and he's going , we can switch cars since mine gets much better gas mileage. I knew there was a reason I bought that thing.

So I spend the day waiting for the AT&T guy and playing Red Dead Redemption. Which really is Grand Theft Auto in the Old West, which actually makes it a better game since the writers seemed to have turned their brains back on and got a little more creative with the all important side games. So I'm playing, and playing and playing. When finally, my phone buzzes and I'm all excited because, um, nope, it's just Shade.

Turns out that Shade is in town visiting Scoop. She's the one who lost her husband in February under some truly tragic circumstances, and Shade dipped out on her residency for the weekend to check on her girl. Now that's care and compassion for you. Only now they're fighting like usual and Shade needs somewhere to catch her breath. So I ride over and pick her up and we go hair shopping.

Seriously, I did not realize that their are that many brands of hair.

Afterward we slip over to my place because she just needs some place else to be. After informing me that I should have married a chick in an old picture I have, as she's thumbing through my movie collection she mentions that she's never seen Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier classic - Let's Do It Again. This is an outrage and a travesty. So we put a bottle of wine on ice and pop the movie in the DVD. We laugh, we marvel, she's suddenly bright again.

I love old movies. I must have seen this 40 times.

After the movie we talk about her and Scoop. I remind her that all she can do is let the girl work through her grief and wait on the other end. I also realize that because Shade is going through residency, only THE must fun time in a doctor's career [note sarcasm] she's not in the best position herself, but things don't always go as planned. It's not always pretty or pleasant, but it's what you have to do. I drop her back off and notice for the first time that the AT&T guy still hasn't shown up.

I also realize that it's been more than twenty four hours since I've checked Facebook.

I look down, but my hand isn't shaking. Yet.


Red Dead Redemption is a long game, and now I just want to freaking finish. Actually, compared to GTA, which had over a hundred missions, its actually pretty short now that I think about it. Okay, maybe I'm just tired of it. And every so often I get up and walk into the computer room/library/4th bedroom in my house before I remember the internet is still off.

Long ass short game.

I wash some clothes, run to the grocery store, mope on the couch, stare at my phone willing it to ring and announce that the repair guy will be there in five minutes. I do not work on my book.

Okay, side point. at some point in the previous week because I have the summer off I had decided that I was going to finish one of my many half started not fully formed but really incredible books. Not the little, well, to be honest overly long love letters to Sporty wrapped in book form, but an actual novel. With characters and a story line and plot and dramatic intensity and all that. I'd actually framed out one of them at some point in the last few days and had started re-writing (okay, I'd redone the first page, but that is a start) and had been thinking about it off and on up until Friday. Strange how little things knock you off your feed.

Late afternoon my brother re-appears with my car, which he complains has no AC. I know, I told him this prior to leaving. He compares my car to a rolling sauna, and swears he's lost 10 pounds since he left. We laugh, and talk for a minute or three and he's gone.

So it's me again. Me and that no internet having computer. Alone.

Apparently my home computer is only good for having the internet, because I realize I haven't touched it in two days since it doesn't have internet. So I sit down, arrange a few pics in some folders, open a few programs and mess around a bit. Oddly, I work on my "website" with no ability to actually post the results.

My Facebook away time nears sixty hours and surprised I'm not sweating bullets, curled up in the corner rocking myself. Oh wait, I have the AC on and pint of vanilla ice cream. I'm good.


In the office, there on my desk is a computer that IS hooked to internet.

I check the sports, the weather, the news, the comics and it's only then that I realize that I mostly use the internet for useless stuff, and that the entire affair is trivial. I also realize that I really really like the trivial stuff.

I call the good people at AT&T again, and get transferred back to Repair, only this time after a brief 22 minutes on hold I get through! Eureka. Wait, I was here on Saturday and that got me a six day wait! Okay, so I calmly explain again to this new rep my situation. She's amazed to find out the robbery method (she honestly said "Wait till I tell them this one") and willing to help. Only problem is that she can only do so much, because logically, she wanted to help so that means she really couldn't help. Of course. So I get my "get well" date bumped up to Tuesday, not Wednesday.

Like, cool.

Yeah, right.

So Monday night is watching TV and playing Red Dead Redemption. I have other games I should be playing, possibly better games but I'll be damned if I'm going to play anything else until I finish this game. Also, the FOX show the Good Guys is improbably good. Improbably.

Thank God I didn't decide to dabble with this game and take classes at the same time.

What I wanted to do by Monday night....if the punch would hit my ISP.


My brother once said that a hardcore gamer has to play something every chance they get. I may be a hardcore PC head, because I just realized part of my morning routine was to get up and check my email. And futz around on the computer a bit. Which is kinda sad.

I get up and hang out for minute, figuring why drive to work and then back from work if the repair guy is coming. So I wait around and wait around, and whoa, it's after 10am. I get my stuff drive into the office, get started and the my phone buzzes...

....you know who it is.

So I get back in my car, and drive BACK to my house where dude is already done. My communte is like 15 minutes, so there really wasn't a issue, just the wires. He's just waiting for me to check and make sure I'm satisfied. We even have a brief discussion where the tech gives me some fairly surprising options, including another company's product!!!

So I'm back. Not that anybody was watching....

Barkeep, let's just kill that keg. Wouldn't want it to go bad.

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