Wednesday. I don’t have internet, tv or phone service and I live in an area where there is no cell phone coverage, unless enabled by WiFi. So I drive five miles to call Frontier Communications who, recently, took over from Verizon, my original provider. Let’s just sum up my hour-long attempt to solve this problem with the following snippet of conversation:
“I need you to be at home with a phone in order for me to help you” the unhelpful lady in Bangalore says.
“Well, I just told you I have no phone connection at home and my cell phone won’t work.
“Then I can’t help you.”
I am not proud of the series of epithets that poured forth from my mouth but, in my defense, I had a long day at work and now I was dealing with a series of underpaid Indian workers who might have not deserved my anger but seemed rather dim-witted. My tirade makes the Bangalore lady regain her senses although she feels compelled to say that, while willing to open a ticket and send a technician to my house 4 days from now, she can’t understand why my cell phone won’t work.
During the hour I spent on the phone, staring at the yoga studio outside which I was parked, about to pee in my pants, determined to speak to a supervisor Bangalore lady was just as determined not to put me through to, I realized the following:
- India must have a much better cell phone coverage than the US, if this girl can’t fathom a corner of the mighty USA where cell phones cannot be accessed.
- I constantly make fun of Italy for not being service oriented but the behemoths that dominate certain industries are not faring much better here.
- I had to embrace the role of the ugly American, the one who complains, whines, threatens and curses to get something done. I am mortified I yelled at a woman who doesn’t get paid enough to take my insults as graciously as she did: she stuck to the script of repeating my name every four words and thanking me profusely no matter what I said. It didn’t help.
- I have become so American that four days without tv, internet or phone sound utterly unreasonable. I think there is a law buried somewhere that a provider cannot leave you without a landline for over 24 hours – in fairness, if I had an emergency I would have to run up and down a hill trying to rouse my neighbors.
- It seems crazy I had to sit on the phone with India for an hour in order for a message to be sent to a technician who lives 10 miles from me. I think this pretty much sums up the state of the global economy: we might be all connected but we are running in wider and wider circles.
In the end, three days with no sales calls, a glance at emails in passing, when I was out of the house, and the choice of curling up with a book after dinner (ok, I watched Sense and Sensibility on video again and it was delightful) were rather welcome. What an excellent excuse to work less and not speak to anyone.
Now I feel compelled to call the lady in Bangalore and offer my deepest apologies: her incompetence was rather a gift. If only I could remember her name.