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Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm a broken man

Why do those of us in "small towns" still have to deal with the "big city corporations?" They always seem to have a little different way of dealing with problems, always making life easier for themselves, it seems, while not conerning themselves with us and our needs. Why do we rarely feel like we got a break, but rather feel that WE had to clean up OUR act or we would have been the "bad guy."

Yesterday I was a happy-go-lucky guy, feeling great about myself, my abilities, my life in Port Gamble. I somehow felt good enough to leap giant buildings in a single bound, stop locomotives with a .... with a..... with a....

Yes, that was yesterday. Today I'm reminded (harshly, I might add) that my memory is about as long as the half life of a sub-atomic particle, and my patience exists only in my imagination. What happened? did I suffer a stroke? No, worse than that. Worse than leaving my keys in my locked truck, worse than forgetting which brand of ice cream I should have ready for the grand daughters when they get here, yes even worse than finding yet another sock eaten by the dryer. I'm ashamed to admit, I forgot (oh, give me time, this is embarrassing) I forgot the password to my computer's mail program. There I said it.

Now it isn't too bad yet because I had checked the box which allowed my computer to remember my password, so this computer that I'm using right now remembers, and every time I use that particular computer it laughs at me but it gets the mail for me. But if I ever try to get my mail in some other computer, THAT computer will forbid my attempts, will hide my mail, and will probably call my computer at home and tell it to do the same.

What to do? The mail program is part of my contract with... wait, let me show you their name the way they show people my bank number: they are Com**st. You don't recognize their name, do you? Good thing, or else they might try to get even with me for some of the things I'm going to write.

So I decided I was going to get my password and write it down somewhere. I got on-line to see what I had to do to have someone at Com**st tell me what it is. The few choices they gave me to recover it included such things as "touch here for your password hint." I did. Does anyone remember where my first job was? I thought I did, but I never got it right. So no password. Last four of my social? (How about ****?). No help there (even with the real number). On and on. So the next thing to try was "speak to a representative." That's what I love. A business with real people.

Oops, I spoke too soon. I got a "person" typing in a back room somewhere, responding as though she (well, she has a girl's name)is a real person. Even though she typed instead of spoke, I must admit to my prejudice that English was not her first language. She told me she needed proof that I was myself, and so I got question after question about me, pets, dogs, relatives until finally it was settled. She could help me. "I've sent you your password. Please check your e-mail" she typed.

I choked. Did I hear her right? "Say again" I typed. "I said I've sent you your password." she said again. "You should receive it in 2 or 3 minutes in your e-mail. Is there anything else Com**st can do for you?"

How many times in your life have you thought the next day, "I wish I had said ..." instead of what you really did say? I was on the spot. "Can you explain to me how I'm going to retrieve my password when I need a password to get into the program to find what you sent me?" I thought she wouldn't understand these rushed thoughts of a man who just wasted a half hour's time telling about family secrets, trying to recover HIS OWN password, which HE had lost. (Notice how guilty these big companies make you feel?)

But she understood. She typed "Let me talk to my supervisor." After 10 minutes I suddenly realized both my blood pressure and my patience had taken a blow, and reacting together, they had hung up on a person they had never met. But I had watched the "Friends" episode where the blond had more and more time INVESTED in a hold button the longer she waited, even into the next day, and I wasn't going to let that happen to me.

Having brought my blood pressure down and my patience up by taking a walk down both streets in this town, telling my story to all I saw, I decided to try it again. After all, some day I will need the cure for this predicament. So to make a legitimately long story a tad shorter, I can report that I called Com**st again, ran through several of the strange questions all over again, but this time with a more positive reply. "You obviously are the person you say you are," Oh happy days! She believed me! "So please just send me the five digit code you were given at the time we connected the Internet for you, and I'll send you your password."

My reply? "You gotta be kidding." The next day I thought of twenty things I wish I had said instead.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I think it is important to have these experience just to humble us once in awhile and remind us that even when we think we are in control of our lives...we really don't. It must be the week for "systems"...I am currently working on trying to connect with the right agency and the right department to get gang graffiti removed from signs on the road our house...and they can't figure out who should be responsible for it. Time to take a deep breath, relax and say "go with the flow."