When Oprah Fails You, Call Tech Support
The other day, out of the blue, my email stopped working. I didn’t notice it at first. Heck, I didn’t think I was that into email, but you know what? I am. My routine is, I check my email right after breakfast, and read my daily inspirational quote from Martha Beck. She writes that column in the Oprah magazine. I like her because she’s not too woo-woo with that New Age-y stuff.
So anyways, Charlie and me eat breakfast, he leaves for work, I sit down to check my email, and her quote wasn’t there. I try not to take things personal, but I was a little miffed at Martha. I hate it when someone messes with my routine! But I thought, Be charitable, Ida. Maybe Martha got lucky last night, and decided to sleep in!
The next morning, though, the quote still wasn’t there. I also didn’t get the recipe that Sandy Hebert said she emailed me for this Mexican Cheeseburger Casserole she brought to our book group. All I remember is that it involves Hamburger Helper and salsa. I was going to make it for supper that evening, and my email box was empty. Even weirder, there was no junk mail. (I don’t call it spam, because I happen to like Spam, and don’t want to use its name in vain!)
Clearly, something was wrong with my email. Worse, my niece Caitlin, who is my technical support person, was off on a yoga retreat somewheres in Massachusetts. They aren’t allowed to use their cell phones on the grounds of the place, and I didn’t feel comfortable ringing the office number she gave me for emergencies. I could just picture them hauling her out of a yoga class, thinking that something had happened to her Mom or Dad, and it’s just me on the phone with my knickers in a twist because I want to make a Mexican Cheeseburger Casserole for supper! Beside, Caitlin’s a vegetarian.
Before she left, though, Caitlin told me, “If you need any help with your computer while I’m gone, just call tech support. I’ve written the number on this post-it, along with your user ID and your password.”
So, I call tech support. How hard could it be, right? Oh, my God! It took me over ten minutes just to make it through the menu. The menu! Then I was on hold for a dog’s age. I was a little startled when “This is Roger. Can I have your account number” came on the line. I think I had dosed off.
Once we got through my account number, user ID number, password, last four digits of my social security, my phone number, including area code, zip code, my mother’s maiden name, and who knows what else, we got down to business. Luckily, Roger didn’t sound like he was halfway around the world, though as it turned out, he was speaking a foreign language.
“What seems to be the problem, Mrs. LeClair,” he asks.
“That’s why I’m calling, Roger. I don’t know what the problem is.”
“Let me rephrase. Why did you call tech support today?”
“My email doesn’t seem to be working.”
“OK,” Roger says. “Did you try…..” and that was it. The rest is a blur. Something about going here and clicking on that. I didn’t understand a word he was saying. Hours later, or it could have been fifteen minutes, I say, “Whoa, Roger! Lets stop here. I’m not getting any of this. And to be honest, I don’t care if I ever get email again. I think you’re probably a nice boy, good at what you do, but you lost me way back at hello. Have a nice day, dear.”
I hung up the phone, shut off my computer, took four ibuprophen and went to work. The next morning, ever the optimist, I turned my computer on, opened up my email, and bling! In pours three quotes from Martha, the Mexican Cheeseburger Casserole recipe, one chain letter “to all the amazing women in my life,” two ads for Viagra, one for sexy farm girls, and an African prince who needs me to send him some money. In short, everything was back to normal! I have come to the conclusion that computers have a mind of their own, and, like the rest of us, they get cranky from time to time and just don’t feel like working.
But I got to tell you, if I had to chose between tech support and sticking an ice pick in my eye, I’d have to take the ice pick, hands down.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here.)