It’s such a cliché to complain about Mondays, but let’s face it, they really do suck. There’s just not much in a Monday to recommend it, particularly mine, which involves a 12-hour work day, no lunch (unless someone in the tutoring center is feeling merciful) and a massive amount of student work that comes in on Sunday and has to be evaluated and responded to by 2:30 Monday afternoon. By Monday evening, I am usually convinced that the world is a kind of Turkish prison where people shove hastily-written paragraphs through the bars at me.
And so it was kind of fitting, in a let’s-compound-the-torture sort of way, that this past Monday, I got home at 8:30 and had to call customer service for a company that rhymes with Bombast. We have Bombast for cable and Internet, and while I never watch television, I use the Internet A LOT, so it was unfortunate that I got home with 24 essays that needed responses and no way to respond to them.
I sighed. I walked the dog. I sat on the sofa and used my cell phone’s data to check my email, where five of the 24 essayists were clamoring for their grades. I went upstairs like a person going to her own funeral, and checked all the systems, which indicated that they were fine, thank you very much, except for not working.
There was nothing else for it. I had to ask for help from the company that has for years enjoyed the distinction of having the second worst customer service in America. After some false starts, I found myself doing a “chat” on Bombast’s website with someone named Anuj.
Anuj: I am happy to be helping you tonight. I will fix your problem.
Me: Good. My Internet is down, and I’ve already checked the modem and router.
Anuj: What is the problem you are having tonight?
Me: I don’t have Internet service.
Anuj: I will need you to be check your router and modem.
Me: <Many words that Anuj cannot hear because we are typing to each other.> I have restarted them both. Twice.
Anuj: Okay. Now I will telling you how to restart your modem.
Me: <smacking my forehead because I cannot get to Anuj’s forehead.> I did that already.
Anuj: Okay. Follow these directions and then be reconnect to our chat when your modem resets.
Me: I am on my cell phone’s data, not the Internet. I. Do. Not. Have. An. Internet. Connection.
Anuj: I am going to disconnect your modem now. Please don’t navigate away from the web page until it comes back.
Me: <A lot more things that Anuj cannot hear.>
Anuj completely failed to either a.) read or b.) understand anything I typed to him/her. In a way, it made me feel right at home, because a lot of my students respond the same way. Still, my students are not trying to fix my Internet connection, so I’m more patient with them. I was ready to reach through the ether and grab Anuj by the hair when finally, by some miracle, everything started working. It took, me, and I am not making this up AT ALL, seven separate statements before I was able to make Anuj understand that I had a connection now.
Anuj spent several more messages asking me whether I wanted to reset my password (NO!), whether I wanted an upgrade to more Bombast cable channels (#@$% NO!), and whether I would to please fill out a customer service survey (sure, why not?). It was after 10 when the ordeal was over, I was tired and crabby and in no fit state to grade anything. I was going to fill out the survey and go to bed, but in true Bombast fashion, it never materialized.
On the whole, I was very thankful for Tuesday, or at least I was until I went upstairs for some light grading and the Internet was, yes, AWOL again. At least this time, I knew better than to sign up for help from Bombast.