My usual morning ritual consists of a cup of instant Maxwell House coffee, a few minutes of the early news on Channel 7, and most important of all, a check of my email, followed by visits to several web sites, including my own two blogs, plus eGenerations and Elders Tribune.
Imagine my dismay a couple of days ago when my computer started acting up, making strange noises, and worst of all, failing to access the Internet! I was devastated.
It's not that I hadn't had trouble before. My computer was apparently jammed with too many programs at startup, and my cable modem was showing signs of unreliability. However, I had developed a regular turn off-wait-turn on again routine that usually got things running again. Not this time.
I spent all day trying to get on line, without success. I finally decided to call my cable service provider. Have you ever tried that? Perhaps it's just RCN Cable, but I got one of those endless automated lists of numbers to select, and when I finally managed to get a human being, it was a woman, probably in some third world country, whose English I could barely understand. I couldn't get a local phone number for the company at all, either via telephone or from the phone directory. All I wanted was a technician who could exchange my old modem for a new one, and of course I was resigned to the idea of paying big bucks for a service call. However, without a local number, I couldn't really do that.
I finally gave up. For the rest of the day, I unrealistically dreamed of urgent emails demanding my attention (the reality is that at this time of year, I receive mostly spam [well-handled by AOL] and ads from companies I've ordered from on line, and I'm not in the mood for any more "bargains.") I was nervous, restless, and tempted to eat huge amounts of candy. I surely must be addicted to computers and the Internet, and I was apparently suffering from withdrawal!
I was dismayed to realize how addicted I am, and I hated that helpless feeling. I am not and never have been a "techie," and I have no friends or relatives nearby to help. Wisely, I decided to consult the local Yellow Pages under Computer Service and Repair, and lo and behold, there were a few companies listed that sounded promising. I chose Home Tech Computer Solutions on the basis of their ad, called, and wonder of wonders, they promised to send a technician out the next day! He came as scheduled, and he did a wonderful job of analyzing my computer and modem problems, advising me what I needed, and actually getting me back on line, at least temporarily (he will install a new modem soon). Thank you, Michael.
So what did I learn? My computer addiction is a reality, and it's a relatively benign one for a senior citizen. The computer is my main connection to the outside world. I need it. I also learned that my brother's adage, "Nothing is a problem if you can fix it with money," has some value. I now know how to keep my computer lifeline open. I've heard a lot of complaints about poor service, so it's reassuring to learn that at least in Chicago, there are entrepreneurs willing to help for a fair price. To me, it's worth it to be back on line.
Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne