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Help Desk Interlude

Updated: 07/08/2013 @ 9:15am

First of all, you need to understand that I’m not blaming Jim from Boise. I’m sure he’s a perfectly fine man, but I hope our paths never cross again. I was relieved and really glad when he first came on the phone, because I’d been on hold for 14 minutes and 37 seconds.  That meant I’d heard the same snippet of bad music seven and one half times.  

There aren’t a lot of songs I want to listen to seven times in a row, so when I heard an actual human voice say, “This is Jim from Boise,” my heart lifted with a wave of optimism.

Here’s the story. I was having Internet problems at the cafe. Everything was working fine, then we had a big lightning storm, and it stopped working.

I’d be the first to admit that I’m not an Internet technician, but that seemed like a clue to me.

This usually wouldn’t be a big deal. I have a little sign up that says, “Free Wi-Fi,” but not many people bring computers and hang out – they mainly just eat their pancakes and eggs, then leave for work.  But last week a family came in for breakfast – folks staying at the lake. After a look around, the husband said, ”Well, I’ll come in tomorrow and check my email.”

I didn’t think about it again until the next morning at 6:30 when I was helping a young guy with his homework (well, actually, I was giving him a bad time for never having heard of the Battle of Peleliu).  He tried to look it up on my computer and said, “I can’t connect.” About that time, I looked up and saw the guy from the day before come through the door carrying a backpack full of computer gear.

Now, I don’t want to make Jim from Boise feel bad, but I’m not even sure why I was talking to him. The building that controls my Internet access is only about 50 yards away, across a small park, less then a full block from the side door. It would’ve been simpler to hide behind a swing set and kidnap the repair guy when he showed up.

As it turned out, I decided that would be wrong and instead called the help desk. After I’d been on the phone for 55 minutes and 54 seconds, the ethical objections to kidnapping started to fade, particularly when Jim from Boise chose that exact moment to put me on hold again. My cell phone battery was showing red, and I told him our relationship was in peril. He promised to hurry back.

He was back at one hour, three minutes, and 11 seconds, so I shouldn’t have doubted him.

I could sense a bond growing. The town siren is right across the street and when it went off at noon Jim said, “Whoa! Are you in a tornado?”  

I thought about saying yes, just to show how serious I was about our relationship, but honesty won out.

At one hour, 27 minutes and 14 seconds, a red light changed to green and I was back in business.  

I thought Jim from Boise would say, “My work here is done. Fare thee well, good citizen.” Instead he said, “You may receive a survey to fill out regarding my service. This phone call may have been recorded for your protection.”

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