As I write this on Tuesday morning, I am beginning my sixth day with no Internet access on my home computer. Last Thursday morning some Verizon technician accidentally pulled the plug on my line, possibly in connection with a minor change in my account bundle. I have no idea if it’s just me or a mass outage—I can’t go on line to ask around—but this is not what I call acceptable customer service.
The story keeps changing. On Thursday night it was an upgrade, and everything would be fine on Friday. When it wasn’t, another long call generated a service ticket and the information that it was a physically mismatched line. Verizon was committed to having it fixed by 5 pm on Sunday.
That came and went. Monday morning I was promised service in two or three hours. It was a network problem, and they were working on it. That didn’t happen, so Monday afternoon I called again. By this time, the Verizon voice mail tree put me through to a human immediately. After forty-five minutes, mostly on hold, I was told it would be twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
I’m far angrier at Verizon than I am at the lack of Internet. Even if it is a widespread outage (which none of their heavily-accented call center people will admit to), this is a ridiculously long time to wait for repairs.
It has given me some interesting insights on my Internet usage. I work at the Scorekeeper on Tuesday through Thursday, so when I get to the office this morning, I’ll be able to catch up on my email, most of which will consist of various Yahoo loops, ads from Amazon and BookBub, and possibly a few business emails from clients, which I would not have addressed until today anyway. I’ll pop into Facebook long enough to tell friends why I’ve missed their birthdays and book launches this weekend. I spend way too much time down that rabbit hole anyway.
I use the Internet for lots of silly things every day. Checking the TV schedule (what’s on? have I seen that episode? where have I seen that actor?), reading comics on the Houston Chronicle web site, playing games.
But not everything is frivolous. This morning I can’t check the traffic before I set off on my thirty-mile commute. This weekend I hit a wall on a freelance project because I can’t access on-line references. I haven’t been able to order prescription refills or check my banking or credit activities. I’d like to review a couple of books I’ve finished reading. I won’t be able to post this until my Internet comes back. I trot over to the computer to look something up more often than I realized. It’s almost like reaching for the light switch when the power is off, an ingrained habit.
I did get a good bit of freelance work done on Friday, until I needed to get on line with it. I did my weekend shopping. I mowed the lawn and weeded and did the laundry. I read a lot. I watched TV. I did not fade away from lack of the Internet. But I was conscious of every ad, every news story, every newspaper article that ended with some variant of “visit us on our web site.”
I miss my morning ritual of email, blog, comics, and Facebook, although apparently I could have slept another hour instead. Yesterday morning I made an early call to Verizon, but I’m not going to bother this morning. I won’t be here most of the day anyway. But if it’s still down tonight, they’ll hear from me again, squeaky wheel and all that.
And then I’ll give the billing department a ring.
Postscript: 215 emails waiting this morning, which I picked my way through in the course of the day. I managed to vent a bit on the Verizon Facebook page, too. When I got home this evening, all the lights on my modem were green and my email popped right up. My voice mail isn’t working, as I discovered this morning, but that shouldn’t be too hard to fix. Not tonight, though. I’m happy to be connected to the cyber world again, but maybe I’ll remember a few time management lessons learned while I wasn’t.