“Wait. Let me understand this. You’re going to put me on a monthly support plan so I can pay you all year to find out what doesn’t work tonight,” I asked with righteous indignation. “That’s correct ma’am. Your problem has exhausted the limits of the courtesy tech support our company offers,” the cable representative on the other end explained to me.

Livid doesn’t begin to describe how irritated I was. Normally when people rob you they use a gun. Even so, I had no choice but to pay. I had to have Internet access. Everything I do depends on it. Everything. I work on websites for a living, so without the Internet, I’m about as useful as a water bucket with a hole in the bottom.

I don’t just need it so I can work. I also need it so I can play. Even that can get complicated and affect other people’s fun, not just mine. I’d have friends stuck in place while waiting for me to send them more lives. Cartoon pets would have no one to rescue them. And let’s face it. That candy is not going to crush itself. There is an entire game center of close, personal strangers waiting to see if “kim4apps” is going to come out and play.

Social media is the only interaction I have with people. I can’t save face if I don’t have Facebook. My peeps need me to click “like” so that they know their posts were worth putting out there. Besides, imagine all of the top stories I’d miss from the news feed. Someone could actually check-in at Target to buy deodorant and I would never know it.

Pay more each month, I fumed. Because I do all my banking online, if I don’t have Internet, I couldn’t pay anything even if I wanted to and I haven’t written a check in years. Take away my Internet access and I’ll get behind in my bills faster than Congress on holiday.

I’ve become my father’s child. “It’s a racket. It’s all just a racket,” hearing his words come out of my mouth made me smile. I’d have given anything to tell him about this. He was convinced the world was run by a conspiracy since no one plays fair anymore. I don’t know if he was right or if he’d just read one too many John Grisham novels.

For something that hasn’t really been in our lives that long the Internet has surely taken over mine. It’s the kudzu of communications. One day it’s a single leaf and the next, twisted vines have covered everything in sight. That might explain some of our problems with getting good customer service. Companies no longer specialize, trying to do too much and often not doing any of it very well. Back in the day, Ma Bell’s phones took calls, not pictures. Having cable service just meant more channels to watch and no rabbit ears.

Mostly, only Internet providers got you online. When you heard that fax-screeching sound, you knew you were getting somewhere. Once during the night, our machine downstairs started to dial on its own. I punched Robert to check on the burglar I was certain was in the house. “Seriously? You think it’s a burglar? You honestly think a burglar is going to break into this house just to check his email?” Well, I know I would. I’m that desperate to be connected, which brings me back to my conversation with the cable company that night.

“So, I have to agree to this fee, just to keep this conversation going,” I’d followed up with the technician. It was then that the IT person in me noticed something I hadn’t before. My face was red now from embarrassment, not anger. No wonder the cable folks were totally stumped by my interrupted service. Dangling from the back of my computer was a cord that should have been pushed in a bit tighter. In all of plugging and unplugging, I’d overlooked putting everything back the way it needed to be. I was the reason I couldn’t get connected, not them. I was the reason all of my work, games, and fun had come to an end. The fault was mine and only mine. I am also the reason a new entry was probably made in the employee troubleshooting manual as PICNIC error…

Problem In Chair Not In Computer.

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