Thursday, January 31, 2013
Okay...I'm not a marketing executive but I would guess that if you're going to sell cat toe clippers and flea combs that could be used on cats....you should select a picture of a happy cat. A cat who doesn't mind getting its toes clipped or is really loving you for plucking out those bothersome fleas.
This cat looks pissed....it reminds me of the stink eye my own cats would give me for even thinking I could possibly get close to them with such pet devices.
In contrast....look at that happy dog....he's almost smiling.
But not the cat...that is one unhappy giving-you-the-stink-eye-there's-no-way-you-are-getting-near-me-with-that-thing-cat.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
I felt muffled....a strange sense of not being able to communicate clearly and isolated from incoming data.
Yes...I am a bundler....not of coats with zippers that cover my mouth but with electronic services...with AT&T...so they service our land line, cellphone, Internet and TV.
This week...on Monday....everything went quiet. My hub noticed the TV wasn't working early in the morning and left me a note. "Reboot the modem...seems the TV is stuck." I rebooted and while waiting for all the right green lights to start flashing again decided to check my mail. Oh ho...."no server".....I picked up the phone...no dail tone.
Not think regionally or nationally or even beyond my little abode I called AT &T to have them check my line. After a long wait the service rep....said our line was dead...there's been some trouble. Okay I thought....things can happen. She didn't mention at the time that the people in 7 states were without service...that would have been nice to know...she just said there was some trouble.
And so I waited....I was home that day....and it felt strange. I had electricity....I had heat....but the house was so quiet....no TV in the background....no computer for news or music....no phone ringing. I missed my morning/early afternoon telemarketer call. Geez how could I hang up the phone and be annoyed by some great credit card interest offer if they couldn't call me?
By evening, I called again...but this time the computer phone bot told me to "reboot" my system and if that didn't work stay on the line. Thirty minutes of scratchy "hold" music later, they disconnected me.
An hour later a man called me with an Indian accent. "Hello Gina. We are sorry, Gina, for this inconvenience....Gina....Gina....Gina...Gina." I wanted to shout at him ....stop calling me Gina! I know customer service reps are now trained to ask then use your first name but this guy was starting and stopping every sentence with Gina.
"Gina you can expect service by the morning."
Although the TV isn't on much during the day in my house....usually hub and I will watch the news after dinner and then we like clockwork...we are back on the couch to watch the Daily Show and Colbert. So as the evening was winding down....the tradition to come together and have some laughs....didn't materialize. Hub made me a drink...we sat and talked. But it felt strange....if the electricity was off....it would have felt more normal not to have TV...but to have electricity on and not TV or internet seemed out-of-sync.
By the time I went to bed...I was in withdrawal. I ALWAYS check my email, read the newspaper, scan Facebook before bed. I sat down at my desk...click clicked to find the familiar "No server" screen...and said to myself ...well, what am I going to do with myself now?
I pulled out my phone....which was still working...but the screen is so small it's not pleasant to read the newspaper or Facebook. I could at least check my email....and google...At&T service outage? Just to see if anyone else was in this boat.
That's when I saw reports that I wasn't the only one late at night in internet withdrawal...there were thousands of us....across the whole South. And why didn't any of the reps...mention that this was a widespread outage? Why did they make me think it was my line and a local problem? Now I was a little pissed.
The next day I called At &T again because I still didn't have service. Fortunately, the computer bot that answers the phone...thought I said "new service" instead of "no service" so I was immediately switched to some happy representative who wanted to sign me up for service. When the mistake was discovered....she promised to get me to the top of the calling line...and I actually spoke to a rep with only a ten minute wait. This rep apparently could tell me there was a widespread outage (but didn't or couldn't say why) and stopped inserting my name into the beginning or the end of every sentence....for which I was grateful.
My next full day without services was a little less stressful. I knew there would be nothing....I could google on my phone and still see lots of folks were without power. I attached mini speakers to my IPAD and listened to albums I rarely listened to anymore. I thought of my grandmother a lot...who lived in the same apartment house as I did as a child.
I imagined this is how her day felt too. She had lights...electricity.... heat but until the late 1950's TV wasn't widely around and I think my mom said the first TV was in the house in the early 1960's.
I imagined as grandmother did her work around the house...she listened to the radio...listened to music. I don't think they had talk radio then ...did they?
I marveled at how much quieter the house was....I chuckled by late in the afternoon because I could see why my grandma liked to talk on the phone. Without so many electronic people talking to you throughout the day and no internet...by late afternoon you want to talk to someone if you weren't in an office.
I remembered the little phone bench grandmother had in the hallway.
A place she would sit every afternoon and make a call or two while dinner simmered or cooked.
My boys texted me throughout the day from school or work asking if things were "on"...but no service meant no boys. They opted for dinner out and then went to visit friends who had service.
I chatted a while with someone on the phone...I opened my mail (for some reason usually a day job not an evening job) and then instead of the internet I read a book.
By the time I went to bed...I was still news starved (hub had brought news home from work about Hilary Clinton testifying and a few local news events) but I wasn't as nervous as I was the first day.
I began to think strange thoughts....what if this lasted for a week or more...like the Comcast outage? Could this actually become pleasant? Relaxing?
On the one hand....I could see ...possibly....life could exist....I could read more....talk more with my hub ( I had no illusions that my son would stay home in the evenings just to talk to us).....
Of course on the other hand....I couldn't do my banking....I had work to do for two organizations which was piling up ....soon I would have bills to pay which I exclusively settled on line....yikes.
Although I could adjust my home life....business could not wait....and if service didn't return soon I would have to find a non-At&T friend who would let me log in and do some work.
But I didn't need those long range plans.... the next day....we were "unmuffled" the electronic heads were back talking to me by breakfast...I opened 282 emails.....I read the newspapers online....my news resevoir was filled....I didn't read before bed....found out what my friends were doing via Facebook...but actually missed reading.
So many times I wondered how people managed before electronics... in the entire course of human history....widespread TV has only been here 50 years and internet 15 years....my god...zillions of lives zillion of days and years and people lived and worked without the electronics I'm so dependent on...wow.
I've only know this electronic life...I wonder what it was really like to live without constant and instantaneous chatter. It was obviously done successfully...but how? I cannot imagine a life so slow-paced...I have never known it...or lived it.