Death Of A Modem

Tuesday—the modem woke up dead: It took longer than I like to admit to realize that without my modem working, I would not be able to search and purchase a new modem. Internet searching has become second nature, and as I thought of the usual hundreds of things I wanted to search for in the course of a day, I felt lost without it.

I do not enjoy calling tech support. I particularly did not enjoy this call, which started with my call being answered by someone who did not realize he had a live line, and thus continued his conversation with a co-worker about “when my check comes.” Once he came on the line and said hello, he was clearly chewing something, and seemed relatively new at the job. I let him take me through the prompts “Did you try unplugging it? Did you check the connections?” “Yes, yes. Several times.” (Because I’m annoyed and obsessive.) He put me on hold while he checked to see if he could do something with it on his end, then explained that I have the type of modem that won’t do that; I will need an on-site technician. He asked for my phone number for the fourth time. He told me he can send someone on Thursday.

Later that afternoon, I use my husband Chris’s phone to check in to Facebook for messages. I can’t check my e-mail because I use a Microsoft Outlook program on my computer and I can’t remember my password to check through my Internet server. Oh well, I will miss BookBub, and about a million messages from Kohl’s, Land’s End, Daily Kos, and Best Buy. I will not miss the messages from Christian Mingle (barking up the wrong tree, folks, been married for nearly 30 years), and Cialis (again, tree/barking). I look longingly at the posts on my Facebook page on Chris’s phone, but I don’t enjoy reading that size type.

Wednesday: Tech support calls this morning to ask if I still need tech support. “Yes, I do,” I answer. “What is your modem doing?” She asks. “Nothing. I don’t have it turned on right now, since it’s not working. Should I have it turned on?” “Well, YES,” as if I am an idiot for shutting a useless modem down. “The tech tried yesterday to get it to work offsite, and it would not work, but yes, I’ll turn it on and see what you can do.” A few minutes later. “We’ll send a tech. Sorry for the delay.” I occurs to me that I should have gone into tech support—I could have lettered in talking to people as if they are idiots.

I want to look up Michael J. Pollard because I want to know when he added the “J.” to his name—on the Andy Griffith show I watched during lunch, he was billed as “Michael Pollard”. I want to look up punctuation and quote marks because I think punctuation goes inside the quote when it’s a sentence and outside when it’s a single word, but I don’t remember if I’m right. I want to look up the last episode of the show . . . I can’t remember the name, but if I type in a couple of words, Google will get it . . . I did two loads of laundry, road my stationary bike for 13 minutes, am almost done reading a book I started a few days ago; I only have two chapters left of my novel to retype (the old computer ate my homework) and edit. Maybe being without Facebook isn’t so awful.

Thursday: Being without Facebook is desperately painful. I want to share the pictures of the gigantic crop of Creeping Charlie that is in full bloom in our yard. I want to talk about the male bluebird that, with his mate, is nesting in a birdhouse outside the living room window. I don’t think he understands courting—he keeps landing on his mate’s head. She shakes him off and flies away with him in pursuit. Later, she returns with more nest-building material and he lands nearby with nothing to add to the nest. I’ve known women in much the same circumstances and I’d like to warn her that it won’t get better once the eggs hatch.

I want to check on “my” baby eagles at They are so close to fledging, I’m afraid I’ll miss the big moment when they fly away. I want to check on the three baby eagles in Iowa and the Osprey nests in Amery and Collins Marsh, Wisconsin. I want to type “crazy bird lady” in a Google search and see if my name comes up.

The technician called. He will be here in about a half hour. I should really bake him some cookies or make a welcome banner or maybe just bow and scrape as he comes in the door.

On the other hand, I could just let the dog attack his ankles as he comes in the door and take a phone call while he’s working.

Somehow, a miracle has occurred, and my new modem has a built-in wi-fi router and my old one will go wherever I put obsolete electronics (anywhere I can forget I have it until I stumble over it in the dark). After a brief struggle to get my Kindle wi-fi connected, I’m back online. I just spent a merry hour on Facebook and have built up the courage to face my e-mail: 169 messages in two days . . . this could take a while, but I’m back, baby!

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