For What It’s Worth

Patience being tested

I’ve heard it said that patience is a virtue. Soon it may not be counted among whatever virtues I have.

When you read this, the test will be over and the situation remedied; but, at this writing, my patience is being tested, and on a pass/fail grading system I’m slipping toward failure.

Clearly, I am the test taker. The test giver is AT&T. Wednesday afternoon (two days ago) at about 3:20 my DSL and Internet connection suddenly quit. No access to the Internet. This is the noon hour on Friday and we still do not have Internet connection. Notice how patiently I wrote that. NO ALL CAPS to express loss of patience.

When the disconnect happened, I assumed it was simply one of those little irritating computer glitches that seem to happen with more regularity than my digestive system has. So, the immediate response was an ever-so-brief moment of frustration—the “not again” response I’m sure you are familiar with.

I tried the usual antidotes. I muttered under my breath and laid hands on the modem. Didn’t work. Then, I disconnected the modem and waited a minute or so before reconnecting. In times past, that has worked. This was not a times past. It didn’t work. With a slight rise in my irritation level, I realized I had reached the limits of my technological skill and I turned to my wife, Carol, for help.

To affirm that it was not a problem confined to my computer, she checked hers and it, too, was disconnected from the Internet. “Have you tried disconnecting the modem,” she asked. With a one capital letter slippage in my Patience level, I replied that I had. She didn’t try laying on of hands, but she did take a hands-on approach and went through the routine of disconnecting the modem and, I think, two or three other things. Still no Internet. Then, we tried the tried-and-true remedy for computer maladies—we turned off the computer and a couple of minutes later turned it back on. STILL not connected to the Internet.

By now, it’s closing in on 4 o’clock and time to pull out the big ammunition before I begin losing PATience. We need to call AT&T. Because of my limited tech skills and lack of understanding of computers and computer terminology, I rarely (that’s almost never) make a service call. Carol does that. She can talk their language and it saves me a lot of red-faced embarrassment. Besides, which of us would you rather deal with?

During an hour-long phone call with a call-center rep who insisted Carol try multiple “cures,” nothing could be resolved except to agree that we had no Internet service. Because of the lateness of the hour, it would be Thursday morning before a representative could come to our house and take care of the situation. Fine. I could wait PATIENTly the rest of the evening, through the night, and until whatever hour the next morning without access to my e-mail and Facebook messages, couldn’t I?

Late morning Thursday two AT&T reps arrive. Great, we are probably only minutes away from reuniting with the Internet. The spokesman, Tim, introduces himself and his partner and they get to work. Minutes after walking around to the side of the house, they return and Tim says no signal is coming in. He has to go to the office or somewhere and will call us shortly. He is a really pleasant person and my slipping PATience is reined in a bit.

He returned a half-hour or hour later and explained that we had been disconnected accidently or inadvertently or something I didn’t really understand except to draw the clear implication that there had been a goof up. He assured me that by 4 p.m. we would be back in business and left me a phone number to call him if the DSL and Internet were not restored by then. He was so nice and so confident that my patience was back to normal mode. This allowed me to experience a bit of self-righteousness when my wife offered some words that indicated some growing IMPATIENCE on her part.

At 10 minutes before 4, I felt the capital letters coming back in my PAtience. No connection yet. So, I called Tim and left a message. He returned the call and regretfully informed me that the situation would not be taken care of before the next day. Happy is not the word I would use to explain my reaction, but I did feel sorry for Tim because he sounded like he was upset that the situation was not yet resolved.

Hours later, Carol called the AT&T service number. I did not listen to the conversation, but I think the point of her call was to express an opinion that on a scale of 1 to 10 AT&T’s service rating in this instance was now not within shouting distance of a 10. She reported that she had been informed the matter could only be taken care of in the office (wherever that is) and it wasn’t open until the next morning.

Guess what. It is now the next morning; actually, it is the next afternoon, and we still have not been reconnected. Tim called this morning and told us he would do everything he could to expedite matters. We appreciate that, but the delay is not at his end. It’s up the ladder.


Right? RIGHT!

Maybe I should focus on another virtue.

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1 Response to For What It’s Worth

  1. Judi says:

    Oh Harry, I have been there and know exactly what you are talking about. I did a lot of praying for strength as well as asking forgiveness for the wicked thoughts running through my mind. It just makes me wonder how I ever got to depend on this machine that I should be so upset. I am much better at waiting than I was five years ago but I wouldn’t recommend learning in the way I did. I have always heard that we should never pray for patience.

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