One Thin Wire.


Back when I was a kid if some neighborhood geek blew up the local telephone party-line as a result of messing around with the telephone (I wonder who did that?), the Continental Telephone Company was out making the necessary repairs within a couple of hours of said experimentation. It didn’t matter what was involved, they did what they had to do to have dial tone to their customers before the end of the day. In no time Beulah was back chatting with Maude about what the latest “Gabbing with Gen” column in the local paper was about.

It was a given that the telephone would work when you picked up the receiver.

Fast forward to today. More reliant than ever on that thin piece of copper, many count on their telephone or cable connection to keep tabs on the rest of the world. They chat with friends, they watch life-changing videos (read pr0n) and their telephone service goes over this vast network of tubes we call the Internet.

Why does it take nearly 24 hours for the repair to come to the door?

Our internet connection has been sporadically flaky for the past several weeks. It would disappear for hours at a time and then magically return on it’s own. Having worked in the industry for several years, this type of behavior pointed to human error; someone had cross-connected the wrong wire, someone had powered down the wrong piece of equipment, or someone was setting up a field cross-box for potential overtime. We’d ride it out for a couple of hours and I’d bitch about the incident via Twitter over my iPhone connection.

And then all was right with the world.

Yesterday morning the internet connection just died. It didn’t fade away like it usually does, it just went buh-bye. After listening to a message announcing that the cable television/high speed internet service number had been disconnected (and the new one is unlisted!), I finally bluffed my way through a number in California that transferred me to the right department. The friendly technician named Brian told me there was a wide spread outage.

Turns out it was so widespread that it was two states away. Uh, no. After calling back to find out the ETR (estimated time of repair – it throws them off when I use industry lingo, Chuck), I was informed that I was misinformed and that they would have to send out a technician. “Tomorrow”. “We can squeeze you in between 8 and noon”.

“But I need to leave at 11:30.”

“We can not alter the time frame. We have 8 to noon or 1 to 5”

“Is that a commandment?”

Unfazed, the response was “No sir, what time are you available?” I mumbled 8 to noon and then got very antsy for the remainder of the day and night.

My Twitter messages via iPhone were becoming more desperate:
“No Internet connection again. No afternoon porn break.”
“The tech support number for Time Warner has been disconnected. Welcome to American customer service.”
“The Internet outage here didn’t really exist. They’ve scheduled an spot for tomorrow a.m. Roadrunner sucks skanky balls.”
“Its official. RoadRunner blows chunks.”
“My God I’m watching American Idol due to no Internet. At least Chase the bear was cute.”

The merriment continued today:

“Waking up to still no Internet is hard to do”

Impressively, Rob the cable guy came to the house at 9:20. His first proclamation was, “I remember you! It’s down again?” He made his equipment beep and told me that a line crew would be out to the house within the next 48 hours.

I didn’t kill Rob, for he did something that made our internet connection at least trickle.

Surprisingly, the cable crew was out here within an hour and they spent several hours replacing everything except the cable that runs under the driveway. As the tech told me, “whoever buried the cable under the driveway knew what they were doing, it’s four times bigger than it needs to be and it’s a dry as the Sahara.” I guess that’s good.

So today we are once again live on the internet. Let’s hope there isn’t a geek somewhere in the neighborhood experimenting with the wires.