Computer Meltdown

The old Kerry was back. With a vengeance. After months of going with the South American flow of a relaxed pace and inefficiency, I was done.

I sprinted across the street, yelling at the Movistar service technician who was doing his best to ignore me while he dialed his phone.

“Excuse me, when are you coming to my house to fix my internet?” I demanded.

He waved a paper, nervously refusing to look at me. “I’m at this house. I’m not the tech for your house.”

“But you were at my house on Saturday. And you left. And I still don’t have internet!”

“Another tech…” he tried to turn his back to me but I stuck with him.

“Who? When?”

“I don’t know. But not me.”

“But it was you. You were at my house. And you didn’t fix anything and now no one has come for 3 days.”

“Ahh.  Matthews, right?” He was trying to placate me and I knew it.

“Yes. There.” I pointed to our house.

“Okay, I’ll tell them.” His eyes darted about, refusing to look at me. I interpreted that as a fear of being caught. I was convinced this guy had deleted our job request for the past 3 days because he didn’t know how to solve our internet problem or didn’t want to deal with it. Matt later said the guy was probably afraid that I was going to drag him across the street to our house. At 5’3”, I’m bigger than he and had rage on my side, so that might have been it.

I stalked back across the street while glaring at the guy on the corner who had watched this entire exchange. Slammed the doors to my house.  ARGGG. Why is it so hard to get things done here? Why can’t I speak better Spanish so I don’t sound like a 5 year old? Olga, our housekeeper, tiptoed around me. She had never seen me angry, much less livid, these past eight months. And I have never seen a Peruvian mad; they go into begging mode when they want something. Not this American. I wasn’t about to beg someone who was screwing me over. But I am no fool. I had tried the begging: I had sent Olga out to talk to the tech when I first saw him across the street because I thought the begging might work. It didn’t. Of course, my in-your-face aggression didn’t either.

I explained to Olga what happened and why I didn’t believe that he wasn’t suppose to be at our house.

“Well, he did have an order for the other house…” she ventured.

“Did you see it?” The lawyer in me was out in full force.

“No, but I said Matthews to him…”

“Hrmph.  But he was here on Saturday and left and no one has come since.”

“The same guy? Here? Oh.” She retreated.

I had a new plan: when he was done with the other job, I would waylay him again and demand that he call his tech office immediately to find out when someone was coming to my house. I looked out the window. Damn, his car was gone. He had snuck away.

The saga began when an electrical storm knocked out our phone, internet, and computer on Friday. The worst part was that about 30 seconds before it happened it occurred to me that I should shut down the computer. But I didn’t. There was a pop on the screen and then no phone, no internet, no computer. The storm was intense and lasted a couple of hours, so I didn’t really expect service to return quickly and I was ignoring the fact that the computer wouldn’t turn on. By the next morning, it was clear that we needed service, but a review of all the paperwork from our provider, Movistar, and its on-line site (via my cell phone, which thankfully has a data plan) revealed that the only way to call for service was from a Movistar phone. Ours didn’t work; that was part of the problem. So we walked to our friend’s house and her housekeeper called Movistar for us and explained the problem. A tech would come within 24 hours.

And he did come, later that afternoon. We explained the problem and showed him that the phone and modem both didn’t work. We also explained that the modem wouldn’t power up at all – clearly it was fried, not that we know that idiomatic expression in Spanish, but he seemed to understand. He checked a few things, confirmed nothing worked and then said he needed to check the lines but had to wait as a strong storm had kicked up. He waited, we waited, and then, next thing we knew, he was gone without a word and nothing was fixed. We hung around the rest of the day, optimistic that he would return. Wrong.

On Sunday Matt returned to our friend’s house and called Movistar while I hopefully waited at home. This time, Matt couldn’t get out of the automatic system because there was already a service code associated with our phone number and the recording said a tech would be out within 24 hours. So we waited around the house all day and no one came.

On Monday, Matt had a coworker call as the 24 hours was up to 48 hours and still no resolution or return visit. This time, we received a new service code and his coworker told him they had another 24 hours to send a tech. What? They already had 48 hours and no one had fixed the problem, but apparently that is the way it works here. So I again was homebound, waiting for the tech who never arrived. At some point our phone came back on and later there was an automated call from Movistar. I didn’t quite understand all of it, but thought I hit the right number that indicated we still had a problem as the internet was not going to work until we got a new modem.

On Tuesday, Matt had a coworker call another time as 24 hours had elapsed yet again. Same routine: new code, 24 hours. I was ballistic by this point. How can Movistar buy itself another 24 hours just by giving us a new code? I felt chained to the house as I was not going to miss the tech visit and had instructed Olga to be on high alert for anyone at the door. On Monday I ran to the door or window about every 2 minutes as I was fearful of missing the tech guy when he arrived. I was doing the same thing on Tuesday, which is how I saw the tech across the street and accosted him. After that incident and still no tech, I insisted that Matt go to Movistar after work and explain in person what was happening and what we needed. He did and was assured someone would come the next day (today) and that the tech would call first. Matt also asked whether the tech would come with a modem in his car and the woman laughed and said yes.

The first thing I did today was to instruct Olga that her most important job of the day was to answer the phone (I was worried that it would be a recording and I don’t understand those well) so that we didn’t miss the tech’s visit. Yep, she missed the call. I was furious and, while I didn’t yell at her, I did go yell in the other room. After I calmed down, I asked her to call Movistar (as our phone now worked we could call from home) and find out if a tech was coming.  After about 20 minutes she came and told me that Movistar had no record of any problem with our line, but that she had a code and a tech would come in 24 hours. WTF??? By this time, I was ranting in Spanish the best I could (though I really need to learn to say WTF) and asked Olga how that made any sense when the tech was here, on Saturday, when we have called every day for the past 4 days and when Matt actually went to Movistar yesterday. She seemed puzzled by these questions and seemed to find it perfectly reasonable that we would wait another 24 hours now that we had a code.  What?? I had had enough of this senseless conversation when there was a knock at the door.

Yes, it was the same tech- from Saturday, from yesterday- at the door. I went to the computer room when he arrived and politely explained, though I really wanted to wring his neck, that the modem didn’t work and we didn’t have internet. He looked at it and conceded that was the case, but said he didn’t have a modem because he was there to service our …phone. What??? I told him that he knew the internet and modem didn’t work since he came on Saturday (I thought it prudent to ignore our conversation of the prior afternoon). He responded that he was here for the service call from 11 am yesterday that said there was a problem with the phone so that is what he came to fix. (*@!^$&(^$  But, he assured me, he would come back in a half hour with a modem because he knew we had been waiting for it. It is now 3 1/2 hours. I am still waiting.

This whole exchange proves that you can take the girl out of America, but you can’t take America out of the girl. I am still trying to figure out what part of this bothers me the most: the lack of internet, which I depend on for my amusement while I am home alone all day; my loss of independence as I feel chained to the house (despite sneaking out to use my friend’s internet at the moment); or the sheer inefficiency, which my Type A personality can pretend to handle most of the time but really can’t.

Update: The (same) tech showed up, a mere 6 1/2 hours late. But he had a modem and we are connected again. Yippee! Next step: finding out if our iMac can be salvaged. Fingers crossed…

12 thoughts on “Computer Meltdown

  1. I am extremely impressed that you made it 8 months without having a meltdown. I was so frustrated reading this one that I had a meltdown! Good luck my friend.

  2. I agree with Amy – eight months that is impressive considering all of the adapting you have done! I bet you will have the best internet connection in the neighborhood. Hope the computer is fixable.

  3. I think you handled the situation very well. I would have been blowing right along with you!!!! Truly a life experience!!!!

  4. I better stay here in the US, although I am guessing they adopted the Time Warner Cable service standards. I don’t think I have ever called TW without complaining to a manager.

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