I And The Robot

My internet went down at 7PM on Friday evening.

Zip.  Just like that.

I thought it was my computer at first and got into a little mini panic, but when I realised my beloved Mac was still fully functional, I knew it was my less beloved Internet Service Provider.

So I rang them.

They had one of those voice activated programs where you have to answer yes or no to a series of questions.

The pre-recorded voice belonged to a young man with a mellifluous voice like honey being dropped from a spoon. He nearly got me with that voice of his, he nearly did, that spawn of the devil.

HE: Are you ringing because you can’t connect to the internet?

ME: Well, yes. How did you know?

HE: Have you checked your phone line, filters, modem? Do it now. I’ll wait.

His voice was low, soft, lulling me into a sense of security I don’t normally feel when talking to technical support. I felt like he was really concerned about my technical difficulties, that all he wanted to do was help.

ME(all a-fluster): Well, if you insist.

HE: When you’ve checked it, say continue.

He lingered on the ue of continue like a cat licking the last drop of cream out of the bowl.

My hands were shaking as I checked my ethernet cable and the position of my filter. I no longer had a desire to rant at him, scream, complain. His voice was as relaxing as a cool breeze on a summer’s day, like the cool drink of water the actresses from the forties used to talk about when Gary Cooper or Alan Ladd walked in the room.

HE: What are your modem lights doing?

His voice was a sigh as if my modem lights weren’t the only lights he was thinking about.

ME (wanting to say): Well, they’re flashing away, giddy as schoolgirls. (Actually saying) The power light is flashing and the rest of the lights are off.

And then he blew it.

HE: Sounds like a service disruption. Your service could be out anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours.

Then he went into full disclaimer mode saying how his company took no responsibility for disruptions in service – yadda yadda yadda – and that I should call back in a few hours so they could check the line again.

And the spell cast by the sexy, little robot voice was broken.

I asked to be transferred to a real person and was reassured the service would be on within one hour. I waited one hour. Two. Five. I called three times, avoiding the lure of Robot Boy with all the skill of a military strategist. Each time I was told I would have to wait a little longer.

Desperate times. Desperate measures. I do what I always do when electrical things don’t work. I took the modem apart. I used to take broken clocks and radios apart when I was a kid. Dust all the bits off and put everything back together again. Most of the time they started working again. You would be surprised how much dust blocks up the circuits.

So I pulled the modem apart, dusted it off and put it back together again. And after 36 hours of doing nothing at all it started working again. Just like that.

I was elated. I was thrilled to not have to call technical support again. I could blog. I could check my emails.

But somewhere at the back of my mind lurked the velvet tones of Robot Boy, concerned, reassuring, talking only to me.

Whispering down the phone line – I’ll wait…..

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20 thoughts on “I And The Robot

  1. RobotBoy…. Hal… not long now.

    I really really really can’t cope when the internet goes down. It just feel all alone and oh-so local.

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  2. Oh luckily mine has only ever gone down once and only for an hour or two. I would be completely lost without it.

    Glad you are back online anyway and that you enjoyed your flirtation with the robot.

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  3. After 36 hours? It was definitely your dusting that did the trick. Also, all this making you go through the hoops when they KNEW the service was out is just sadistic. They should say that first, then tell you if in 24 hours you still don’t have service, THEN check. Grrrr!

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  4. that was hilarious….i want a robot boy…..

    our system went DOWN on Christmas day…..phone and internet…then just the phone, then just the internet then both again. it took three days to get it fixed….the robots were on holidays i guess. good thing there are errant broadband internet waves lurking in the neighbourhood…I just aboard a neighbour’s..

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  5. VIC:
    He’s mine, I tell you. All mine!!

    DAN:
    Oh, what a perfect way to describe it – ‘umbilical cord to the world.’ I love that!!

    NAT:
    The isolation really is an issue, isn’t it? I guess the internet has just become part of our psyche now and there’s no going back!

    RELUCTANT:
    It was funny, really. I immediately thought of the Fembots in Austen Powers, all caring and nice with concealed weapons in their chest cavities. I need help. LOL.

    QUERULOUS SQUIRREL:
    That’s what got me. I have just been on their website and they said several areas were affected over the weekend. But they wouldn’t tell me that on the phone. They just won’t admit it, will they? It’s never their fault. So frustrating.

    LURAGANA:
    I often wonder about things like that. If we were to end up cloning or replacing body parts with cyborg parts, what would happen to relationships in the future? I feel a story coming on…..

    DANA:
    It is always handy to borrow someone else’s waves. Love it! Robot Boy really should start a lonely hearts club hotline. He’d make a fortune!

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  6. Telephone robots!

    I hate them!

    Especially the ones that, after two beeps of the engaged signal tells you ‘The other person is busy. Please hang up and try again later’ … and the one which tells you ‘The other person has not answered’ after a few rings.

    Also the internet servers which tell you ‘You have not entered the appropriate protocol parameters’ or something … when they really mean the server is down.

    I got to say, though, I like the WordPress one … ‘Dang it! Sorry about that! It’s probably Matt’s fault!’

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  7. TRAVELRAT:
    I think I was lucky with my robot because I usually get those cold, serial killer type robots. Most unhelpful. I agree – the WordPress one is really cool. Matt has a lot to answer for!!

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  8. I usually make the assumption those people are in India. I have a long story about one of those service calls but it’s too boring to be told. And there weren’t any hot and bothering voices involved.

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  9. LISSA:
    What got me the most is that at first I thought it was a real person. Some of that voice activated software is so sophisticated these days. Amazing!

    RICHARD:
    On our very first call we were transferred to India. The line was crackling and kept dropping out. And they couldn’t understand us. Sometimes I think outsourcing is pointless, especially if the person who you have called for help can’t speak English. But hey, that’s just me.

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  10. >>And they couldn’t understand us. Sometimes I think outsourcing is pointless,<<

    Contibuted by my daughter:

    ‘Leeds? ‘Ow are you spelling that, madam?’

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  11. I think I must take another shower now.

    This time, a cold one… wow…

    Internet down is such a pain in the arse. So is a sluggish computer… that’s MY problem right now. ick.

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  12. oh what a delightful post…I can guarantee ATT does NOT have anything like this. typically I wait 20 – 60 minutes on hold for the privilege of attempting to translate the little known and long lost language of Venus, gafligblagerfnkt and usually the dialect is from south Venus – just impossible…

    …not that robot boy was any more helpful for you – still, ear candy is o.k. now and then 😉

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