I gave in last night and called the cable company to have my Internet service resumed. After setting up an appointment with Comcast for next Tuesday I stewed over the delay (an indignity magnifying the indignity of my surrender) and decided to see what Verizon had to offer.
I discovered that one calls Qwest (here at least) to inquire about Verizon services. The first call was answered by a woman whose accent was something I'll identify as West Coast-African American surly, reading from a script, with an enthusiasm level registering in a negative value (suddenly those phony-cheery service folk are sounding a lot better).
Each simple question was received with difficulty and answered with impatience. Eventually she got around to asking, in a flat tone barely registering as inquisitive, for the "physical street" where service was needed. Already chastened by implication to take her literally, I gave her the street name where I live. Of course this caused much confusion, and I gingerly offered my full address. She protested that she had already asked me that (apparently she was prompted, and failed, to ask for a "physical street address", as opposed I presume to a metaphysical street address; most likely Qwest doesn't trust its front-line troops to be capable of distinguishing street from email addresses).
We labored on, she and I, miserable each in our own way, with the sound of at least two other customer service reps in the background nearly drowning us out until finally I decided it was best just to hang up and try again, hoping for a better match.
The next customer service representative was reached the next day--today--because three successive calls were immediately disconnected before I reached a recording saying the office had closed for the day. My next co-foil was--no joke--a girl who identified herself as (my best guess) Taniqua.
T sounded like she was twelve, tonally and grammatically, and rushed through her set-questions in little desperate flurries. I went ahead and asked my own questions anyway, despite the fact that each seemed to knock her off a laboriously gained progress; she read off her responses from a script with redoubled obtuseness the purpose of which seemed to be that the exchange should not lapse into spontaneous human interaction and thus out of her already tenuous control. Still I could only manage sympathy for Taniqua where her predecessor inspired contempt. I've been incompetent at things myself after all (I am a contender for world's worst at many of the things at which I've tried my hand), and there are few greater humiliations, though I doubt she felt anything greater than annoyance and confusion. Empathizing with her plight I said I'd give it some thought and hung up.
And yet, I could not leave it alone. A third call captured a somewhat more sentient being. I was relieved to find what sounded like a young white male--either he would be more competent or his incompetence would serve to reassure me that I wasn't that dreaded of all things, a racist. Well, Colton was much better, but he too faltered a bit at each turn to his stubborn computer (as he helpfully narrated), and I, weary not just of mind but now of my very soul as I considered these were my youthful countrymen and certainly not the worst of them, I gently, grimly, set down the receiver. Defeat. If only I had a bit more patience.
It's a beautiful day outside. Barack Obama's army of the inept hasn't broken down the gates yet, and their awful din and the stench of the liberal Western tradition they've burned behind them like bridges back to reason can still be ignored, if you retreat far enough inward. Today I thrive still. I am outside and the trees are not yet bare. The women have left their heavy coats at home; the wake of a beautiful woman is unalloyed joy. America is a blessed place of ease and wonder. For the moment.