War against the machines begins with the balky Internet

Off with her head! The Red Queen has surfaced from Wonderland and cut all intelligent communication I may have had with the outside world. My Internet went off Sunday, and Monday my land phone also went dead. I am headless.

I realize that there are some things beyond our control, like earthquakes, tornadoes, sinkholes, belief systems, other galaxies, the working of computers, and the thought processes of men. Some are natural disasters, others are man-made. This week I have reached the limit of my ability to remain sanguine in the presence of some man-made disasters.

After being assured by Amnet and friends that my modem to the world is working, and making sure all of my bill paying is up to date, and calling just about everybody I know who is knowledgeable about computers, I began to realize and resent the terrible fix this wonderful world of electronics puts one in when something goes wrong. It is true, right now I don’t need someone with a liberal arts background who can remember just the right Shakespeare quote to fit the situation or know the history of democracy, I need someone who knows the right button to click on this mysterious box in front of me.

I will not number the friends who tried to help and spent hours in the purgatory of my computer office, but finally, of course, it was James, for whom I may buy a cape labeled “Mr. SuperDoer!!” that he can wear every time he comes flying to my rescue. This time it was with Gerald, a soporte tecnico, and a gentle, studious man who confessed that PCs are his passion. (You don’t confess your loathing and fear to a PC aficionado any more than you scoff at Mac lovers . . . . They are worse than Trekies.)

So far, so good. Everything was restored to normal after another two hours of the mysterious workings of man and computer. However, my column was due the very next day and I had been unable to even think about a subject that wouldn’t get me into too much hot water, so I goofed off and went to bed.

The next day I sat down in front of my two now-functioning and connected to the outside world PCs when I realized that I had not yet had breakfast and was getting dizzy. So I put on some water to poach an egg. That is when male friend #1 showed up. He shall remain nameless for obvious reasons. He had noticed the mess of cables and cords under my desk. For me, it is out of sight, out of mind. For some men, I do believe, neatness and orderliness are, indeed next to godliness. It is more important than creativity, feminine logic, or columns that need to be written. By the time he had finished putting the electrical strip on my desk with all the cables and cords neatly folded and taped, with my computers ready to be reconnected and my water boiled down to nothing for the third time, I was beginning to lose it, as they say.

Then male #2, the telephone man from ICE arrived and wanting to know things I knew nothing about, like where my phone connection was. Some 20 minutes later the answer to my phone problem came in the fact that it was not ICE’s problem. The cables in the storeroom of the apartment building were a mess, also known as a disastre of unlabeled cables. Sure enough some workman had been there on Monday, someone who was not a neatness freak, and, voila, that is why I am without service. Friend #1 had by now everything neat on my desk, only problem was, the Internet service didn’t work (again).

At this point I tried to explain to him in my most reasonable hysterical shout that I really had to finish my column and boil some water for breakfast, er, lunch. He left quickly, and I sat down again in front of my crippled computer.

That is when the front door bell rang. At the door was male friend #3 who, with the help of some unknown female was lugging a huge box. He was wearing a big smile. “I thought, with all of your problems you could use some distraction,” he said. He was smiling broadly in expectation of my delight.

“Are you out of your (descriptive word here) mind,” I asked, knowing I had a crazed look on my face. His helper disappeared.

“I’ll come back later,” he said just as I slammed the door.

I gave up. I sat down on my sofa in front of the impossibly difficult picture puzzle I was working on, and picked up a piece, and this is what you get . . . . If my Internet is working later today and I have finished cleaning my burnt pot.

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