March 27, 2014

Computers Do NOT Apologize

by Larry Peterson

Bear with me please, it has been a whacky week and this post might seem to be a bit disconnected at times. It is definitely too long.  That simply reflects my state of mind since last Friday.  I was sitting in front of that all familiar "liquidy" screen,  you know, the thing that looks like glass but it is soft and almost mushy and  ripples when you touch it.  I don't know about you but when I clean it I have this insane fear that the thing is about to suck me right inside of it just like the TV did to little Carole Ann in the movie, Poltergeist.  Sorry, to the point.  I decided to click on the link to my book located in the sidebar of my blogsite.  Anyway, a cyber window pops up and says "this book is no longer available."  I say to the screen,  "Duh, it is SO available."  The screen does not answer. As does the person who keeps pushing the elevator button that has already been pushed,  I keep clicking the cyber button with my mouse.  The screen has no sense of humor and keeps giving me the same answer, word for word, over and over.  I did not yell or throw anything or use one four letter expletive.  I just sighed and surrendered.  A moment passed and I breathed in deeply and began to investigate.

I have two books that have been published.  To show you how well they have sold I quickly found out that my publisher is going out of business.  Ah yes,  logic had poked its head  into the day and let me know there was a valid reason for the books being unavailable.  I looked  at the clock and it was now 5 p.m.  As we do every year during Lent, a group of us meet, go to the fish fry and then to Stations of the Cross (a Catholic devotion held  during Lent in most Catholic parishes) at 6:30 p.m.  Saturday would come soon enough and I could begin to figure out what to do about the books.  I powered down my personal cyber world.  It probably needed some downtime anyway.

Saturday morning arrived as expected and I hit the button to awaken cyber world. A few lights began to blink (these things have trouble waking up too) and then the rippling screen sang a brief tune and lit up.  Icons flashed into place and my cyber world was ready for its master to give it orders. I obliged and clicked my Microsoft Outlook icon to open my email.  Ta-dah---it opened and a little window popped up saying ERROR!  It even had a lock and key in the corner.  I did not flinch.  I exited and reentered.  ERROR!  Uh,oh, repeat ---ERROR!   Something is awry.

My email address was with Verizon.  Let me call them and---no, wait a minute, I can call Live-Technician.  I have them available if I have a problem.  They are great.  If your computer goes haywire they can fix it even if they are in India, Canada, Mexico or on the Moon itself.  I call and just like that I have a real, live person I am talking to.  When does that happen anymore?   His name is "Harry" and Harry takes charge (with my permission) of my computer.  I sit and watch the cursor fly all over the screen this way and that , hither and yon, and then it stops.  Harry says, "I must contact Verizon."  I watch and on the screen a live-chat begins to take place between Harry in India and Rose in China.  I am in Florida, USA.  Why worry about world peace when right before my eyes worldwide cooperation is happening.  I momentarily felt uplifted.  Okay now, it is time for the summation to this  gentle diatribe (wow,  an unintended oxymoron).

It took Harry and some of his buddies, David and Emmanuel, to finally find out from Rose and her friends in varied locations that Verizon, had in fact, terminated my email account.  I have had the same Verizon address for 13 years.  I had cancelled it in January of 2013 and was told I could keep using the address. Okay, I am an idiot. I believed them.  It was fine for almost 15 months and then the "computer" disconnected it.  No one, anywhere in the whole world, could do a thing about it.  After six hours of my life being hijacked,  I was compensated by receiving  apologies from almost every corner of planet Earth.  WOW!!  A world-wide apology to little old insignificant me. It does not get much better than that.  (The computer offered NO apology).

It is now seven days later.  My books have been resurrected and new options await.  I have a new gmail address that is working fine. I did lose a bunch of addresses but--they will eventually come back one way or another.   April is almost here and I am starting to smell the roses.