Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dialing In

The good thing about dial-up internet, for me, is that I tend to not dial up at all which has been fantastic for my computer video game skills. A and I have shot up in the Oblivion ranks since the Sunday before last – bring on the buying of houses and unlocking of very hard locks and the big, powerful weaponry. Now, if only I could use that weaponry in a dark, medieval alley while facing Earthlink technical support gurus.


Here’s a story for you. So one sunny day, the Sunday before last, after checking e-mail using the same connection, the same modem, everything the same, that I’d been using for nigh onto three years, I left the house to finally purchase a new computer. Bought a Gateway. Brought it home, hooked it up. Copied over old files from my backup drive.

Good to go.

Next step was the internet. Hooked up the modem that mere hours before I’d been using with my laptop. Tried to set up the connection myself.

Didn’t work. No DSL. No connection.

Called Earthlink, that down-home Pasadena company that grew from a little nothing into a big noth— okay, big company. Now, dialing Earthlink is no easy task. Really, it’s comparable to any far-reaching task on a medieval video game. I have to push buttons, wait, perform magic tricks, wait, dance the two-step, wait, and wait some more. After many sweat-provoking minutes, I finally reached the comforting, smart-sounding lilt of a Bombay accent. Technical support walked me through two steps before deciding to send me to the “level 2” technical support since the modem wouldn’t connect.

“I am so sorry for the inconvenience.”

Then they disconnected me.

I dialed Earthlink again, waiting, waiting, waiting. Got technical support. “Hello, this is Sarna, how can I help you today?”

“I just got disconnected.”

“I am so sorry for the inconvenience.”

“No, you’re not.”

“No, yes, yes, no, I am so sorry. Welcome to Eart-link, the little engine that koood.”


“Yes, koood. Can I have your Eart-link address?”

“I already gave it to the other guy.”

“There is no other guy, there is only me. I am your last salbation.”


“Yes, salbation. Can I confirm your name?”

“Fine, fine…Adriana Bliss.”

“I have no record of that name, vaya con dios. Please allow me the transfer to the sales department where you can get Eart-link at a discounted rate for new customers for six months. T-ank you.”

“No transfer!! My modem doesn’t work! Fix it!”

“Can I have your e-mail address?”

“Yes, fine, ABliss at Earthlink dot net.”

“APlist at Eart-link dot net?”

“No, A-B-L-I-S-S at Earthlink dot net.”

“That is A as in apple, P as in Paul—”

“No, B as in Brown.”

“Okay, Adriana at ABliss at Eart-link dot net. Let me pull up the notes. I see, your modem does not connect. You need a level 2 technical support.”

“Please don’t disconnect me.”

“I will make sure there is no disconnection. Thank you for using Eart-link technical support.”

I heard the music of two keys being punched in and then the nightmare of the dial tone. I’d been disconnected again.

I tried yet again, and got disconnected again.

I tried one more time (please note, by this last time, I’d downed two shots of Vodka and was laughing loudly, the lilt of my very own Bombay accent bouncing off the walls, through my darkened home), except this last time, the technical support advised me that there was no way level 2 would ever answer as they were closed and would not reopen until the next morning.


The next day, Monday, Earthlink advised me through a level 2 technical support lady in India that most likely my modem died and thus for the low price of $25.00 they would ship me the latest in technology. I should get the new modem by Friday.

Friday came. I plugged in the modem. I tried to connect and it failed.

“Error: Remote computer doesn’t answer.”

I rang up Earthlink. Waited, danced, performed the magical tricks, etc. After getting disconnected only once, the support tech in India said, “We need to have Verizon check the line. This will take three days.”

I slammed the phone down, like five times, sending children and a husband to my side. I fainted. They put cold towels on my head and M cried by my side. When I reawakened, my husband handed me a shot of ice-cold vodka. Smiled. Said, sorry for the inconvenience.

Verizon came out while I was at a soccer game on Saturday, surprising the hell out of me. My husband called in a panic, “I don’t know what to say! Where do I send them?! What’s a modem?! What’s a DSL?!”

“Lemme talk to him,” I said, “lemme at him!”

“Hello this is Vernon from Verizon DSL. DSL works fine. Must be the internal wiring in your house.”

“Can you check that for me?”

“Can’t do it. You don’t have Verizon DSL which you could have for only $17.99 a month with a twelve-month commitment.”

“No, I have Eart-link.”

“Well, call them and tell them they have to check the inside wiring.”

“They say they’re not responsible.”

“Who owns your phone?”


He checked with his boss. “So sorry, but there’s no record of you at Verizon.”

“So how does Earthlink think I’m getting DSL?”

“Whatever it is, it’s not Verizon DSL. Call Earthlink. They’re responsible for the connection from the outside of your house to your computer.”

A ball flew past me, hitting a small child. Blood splattered, parents panicked, grass flattened, I cried.

I called Earthlink, sitting through that outrageous voice mail system and talked to a technical support.

“Verizon said they’re not responsible for the internal wiring, you are.”

“Who owns your phone?”


“Call Verizon.”

“I DID!! There’s no record of me!”

“I am so sorry for the inconvenience.”

“Wait…wait…tell me this what does your computer say as to how I’m receiving DSL? Wait, wait…how would you know how American phone systems work?”

“I took a class. Let me explain to you.” After some gibberish, he assured me that I needed to contact my local Verizon and/or a private company. “Homeowners are responsible for their internal wiring and phone jacks.”

When I got home, I called the local Verizon which said they could check the inside wiring with regard to the regular phone but not for DSL. They referred me to some other company, a private company in San Fernando Valley. I pulled out my Yellow pages. Reached Jesse at a local telephone/DSL/computer/networking/communications company. He said he could be here Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

He got to my house at 6:00 p.m.

After fiddling with some multi-colored wires and hanging on the side of my house, he then advised me that my modem did not work (no shit!!), that the DSL was not working even when they hooked my modem directly to the end of the Verizon wire.

“But Verizon said it worked.”

“You have Verizon DSL?”

“No, Eart-link.”

“Geez…why don’t you have Verizon DSL? It’s like $17.99 a month. How much you pay?”


He shook his head, “I’ll talk to Verizon, but your modem doesn’t work. Call Earthlink. Okay, my visit was $45.”

I wrote a check. Then I called Earthlink.

Jason from Bombay answered and after pulling up notes said, “Your modem doesn’t work because it’s the latest technology. Your Verizon wire however is the oldest DSL technology. It needs to be changed from frame rate to ATM. Once we change, your modem will work.”

“How long will that take? And why on God’s green earth didn’t anyone notice this a week ago when you sent me the latest technology modem?!”

“I am so sorry for the inconvenience. Changing the transfer will take two to three weeks.”

I slammed the phone down. Several times. I banged my head against the desk. I cried. Yelped. Sassy pooped in my office.

The next day…no, yesterday, I called Earthlink and cancelled my account. I contacted Verizon DSL and am currently waiting for new home installation kit. Of course, there are delays.

See, I have to get Earthlink to disconnect me first. Then it will take Verizon five days or so to process and get DSL turned on…

Wheeeeeee!!! Where’s the crack pipe when I need it?


Dale said...

Oh God. Nightmare. Hugs!

Jean said...

Oh lord, Adriana! I knew there was a reason why I haven't yet got DSL at home. Sending you huge sympathy, many hugs, lots of your very favourite alcohol! If it's any comfort, I think you should definitely be getting paid lots to write this well. It doesn't sound as though you have any time to market yourself as a writer at present, but perhaps in due course...

much love

Lori said...

Oh my GOD. Pain in the a** doesn't even begin to describe that. Oyyyy.

Fromage de Merde said...

Hmmmm, I so feel your pain – this internet fiasco must be going around like one of those viruses as you’re the fifth person, myself included, that’s had internet issues in the last couple a weeks. But try the vicodins instead – crack’ll just make you more anxious and you’ll end up taking apart your new computer.

narrator said...

I think we need to send this tale to the LA Times. It is a classic of life in the modern age. I once spent five hours (in person!) arguing with an Ameritech service guy who insisted that where the wires were quite obviously coming into the building could "not possibly be where the wires are coming in." You could see them, see the Ameritech box and everything, but it didn't match his paperwork so he kept walking around the building looking for something that didn't exist.

What did Lily Tomlin say, "We don't care, we don't have to."