Indelible Blue Pen

Jason C. McDonald (CodeMouse92)

May 13, 2010

Of Rearranging, Routers and Surprisingly Helpful Foreign Technical Support

At last, the two week long saga of dealing with our pesky wireless router is over. I know most of you have no idea what I’m talking about, so perhaps I should explain.

The Sunday before last (May 2,) Mom got the overwhelming urge to rearrange the living room. This wasn’t entirely on a whim, however. The current arrangement placed her chair with her back to the walkway in between the kitchen and the living room. Being males, my Dad and I would often stop to read over her shoulder (which she hates, by the way.) And, out of habit, we’d lean on the back of her chair.

Two hundred pounds of curious male weighing down the back of Mom’s chair would always result in the chair tipping back to about 50 degrees, completely freaking Mom out. Then again, who wouldn’t freak out if, all of sudden, they found themselves in a semi-reclining position, staring at the ceiling, and due to no decision on their part.

So, Mom decided to move her chair to against the wall. Since we had just gotten rid of our monster of a CRT television (the thing probably weighed close to 300 pounds, and took up a ton of space,) we had downgraded to a much smaller table-top CRT. For all you TV nuts out there, that may seem crazy. But my family has a thing for small, compact TVs. The speakers don’t tend to be too loud (whereas the last ones boomed like nothing else,) and since the TV is fairly small, it doesn’t dominate attention…or living space.

There’s just something strangely “homey” about a small, CRT.

And this one is an old color Sony Technitron, which won a lot of awards back in the day, when color TV was still something of a novelty. So, it has a pretty flat screen, and really good speakers.

Anyhow, with the change in TV and chair positions, we had to move the desk, which also involved moving the computer, cable modem, and router.

For some inexplicable reason, our router decided to burp after being moved, and it just wouldn’t connect wirelessly to the computers that HAD been wirelessly connected to it for months prior. Go figure.

Thus forcing me to move my daily schoolwork out into the living room, as the only computer that had internet was the desktop. It worked pretty well, but my focus wasn’t half as good in the living room as it usually is, barricaded in my bedroom with Hawk Nelson and TobyMac blaring.

I have this funny thing about music while I study. While I can study without music, I don’t concentrate nearly as well without it. And, even stranger, is that I concentrate best while listening to heavy metal, rap, hip hop, punk, and rock.

Yeah, I’m an anomaly.

So, I’m in the living room, listening to my usual internet rock station (Air1), trying not to look too stupid in front of Mom. See, when it comes to music, I’m like a lot of other teens. I sing along (usually off-key,) bob my head, tap my toes, and take periodic breaks to do air-guitar solos.

Okay, all of you out there laughing at me right now…admit it. You have done at least ONE of the above, at least once in your life. Its unavoidable, and inevitable. And, if by some freak of nature, you HAVEN’T done any of the above, just give it time. It’ll happen sooner or later.

Anyhow, back on topic.

So, I’m listening to Air1, studying, and attempting to get my school work done. And I managed to focus for about 50% of the time, which isn’t too bad, actually. (Though, in my room, amidst occasional impromptu karaoke and guitar solos, I focus about 80% of the time. And yes, I maintain a GPA of about 95%.) This living room situation has worked for the past two weeks, but I’ve been getting a little sick of it.

At last, after waiting for the delivery, our new router arrives. I get right on the job, setting it up, getting the wireless to work…

the wireless…


Well, true to life, the wireless is still not working. So, like any obedient tech-nerd who doesn’t know word one about IP setup, I call the 24/7 support hotline.

Which just so happens to be based in India.

Now, I have nothing against any race, Indian or otherwise. However, my experiences with technical support from a non-English speaking foreign country has been less than satisfactory. So, when a very heavily accented guy comes on the line, I wince. Yet, this is my first time with THIS technical support company, so I give it a go anyhow. After all, what do I have to lose at this point?

Now “Harry,” who apparently speaks English as a second language, actually did pretty well. Right up until the new router burped, and we lost phone. Yep, our phone is VOIP, and is plugged into, guess where? The router.

So, being pleased with the helpfulness of the techs so far, I call back, and I get a different person. We get to about the same point, and then, like clockwork…

“Hello? Hello?…umm, Hello? Hello, sir?”

Ye-ah, by this point, I’m ready to get my Daisy gun and shoot this router into oblivion.

However, after kicking a few large pieces of furniture and screaming some pseudo-obscenities (i.e. “oh crud, you stupid, worthless piece of technological garbage!”,) I pick up the phone and try ONE MORE TIME.

This time, I call on the cell phone, because a) the last two techs wanted me to reset the router, which would result in the phone going dead, and b) the cell phone is less likely to drop my call.

So, I get another gal, who, bless her heart, apparently learned her English from reading tech manuals. Don’t get me wrong, here. She was a sweet, helpful, and courteous lady. But the language barrier was such that we were both standing on our tiptoes to see each other over it.

After walking me through all the basic diagnostic stuff (just like the last two,) she put me on hold to get some help from her supervisor.

So, the hold music comes on, and at first, I am quite happy. There’s nothing like smooth, instrumental jazz to ease the tension.

Unless their CD has a scratch in it.

The jazz song would get about the seventh bar, and then skip a beat, squeak, and start over at bar one. Again. And again. And again. Just like a politician.

Anyhow, the gal comes back on the line, and starts walking me through the next set of steps. I do my best to follow, but again, we’re dealing with a language barrier here. And linguistically, I feel like that neighbor on Home Improvement who is always looking over the fence, and you never see more than the top half of his face.

She will give me an instruction, I’ll repeat it back to her, and she’ll say “right.” I’ll do it, say “okay,” and she’ll repeat the instruction. I’ll say “I did that,” and she’ll pause for a moment, and then say “yes, sir” in a very confused voice and move on.

We’d get to another error, she’d put me on hold (through another twenty some odd plays of Congressman Jazz,) come back on, and walk me through another set of instructions.

I have to admit that she was probably the most patient tech support person I have ever talked to. She’d persevere in walking me through the steps, in a very clear and detailed manner. And when she didn’t understand something I’d said, she’d just pause, say “yes, sir,” and move on.

After an hour of this process, and her actually bringing a supervisor to her desk to help her figure out what in the name of cheese muffins was going with my router, we got the internet up on all three computers!

I cheered and thanked her. She said, in a rather surprised voice, “you got all three computers working now? They all online?”

“Yes, they are. Thank you so much!”

A sigh of relief on her end. “Oh good.” Then she’d turn around and tell the supervisor, in a rather animated voice, “Its working now!”

“Thank you so much for your help,” I said.

A long pause, and then…”yes, sir.”

I’ll tell you what, if I had her name and address (and the money), I’d have sent her a thank you card and a copy of Rosetta Stone English.

So, thanks to three very patient tech people in India, we now have internet back on all of our computers!

I’m going to be contacting the supervisor for this company’s tech support, and telling them what a wonderful job everyone did.

Though not all tech centers are equal, next time you find yourself talking to a support person from another country, be sure to give them a chance. Just listen real hard, speak clearly, and be patient with them. You just might make someone’s day.

And someone might make yours.



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