Blog Written While on Hold with My Internet Service Provider

[5 February 2010]

By Matt Paproth

Oh, Randall, I know that you asked me to remain on hold while I wait to be transferred to the Service Signal Department, but I know that whoever is on the other end will just make me answer all the same security questions and repeat the same troubleshooting steps as you did.  And I wish I believed that nice woman’s voice on the recording when she tells me that a team member will be with me shortly, but she has now said that more than 50 times.

So I am writing this blog.  I like television… obviously, I watch a lot of it (I write for blog called Channel Surfing, for God’s sake), but I really do enjoy the time I spend watching it.  I enjoy thinking about how creators like Joss Whedon, Matt Weiner, Aaron Sorkin, and David Shore construct their series.  I enjoy how a character develops over episodes and eventually across seasons into something potentially more satisfying and rounded than a movie, or even a book, could possibly achieve.

I honestly think that, at this point, they must be waiting for my phone to die. 

The most annoying thing to me is how people claim that television is a waste of time.  Trust me, while on hold I am learning exactly what it feels like to waste time, and I rarely feel like that when I hunker down in front of the TV.  Whether I am watching Lost 15 minutes after it starts (so I can skip the commercials but still catch up to it by the end) or watching a DVD marathon of a great show that someone recommended to me, I would rarely describe the time invested as a waste.

I just spent an hour with Jack from the Service Signal Department.  Oh, Service-Signal-Jack, you are so much less compelling than my favorite TV Jack, Jack Bauer.  Give Jack Bauer 60 minutes and he could defuse some bombs, save a bunch of civilians from poison gas, get involved in some hand-to-hand combat, torture somebody, get in trouble with his superiors, make some sacrifices in his personal life, and call the President to report about it.  Jack from Clearwire?  He had me unplug my wires and plug them back in about a dozen times, restart my computer in Safe Mode, do about a half-dozen ping tests, and send him an email.  When I asked him if it seemed counter-intuitive to require an email from someone reporting an INTERNET OUTAGE, he just shrugged.  I could hear his shrug.

So, I have this blog.  And yes, I am still on hold.  I am now waiting for the Cancellation Department, where I will proceed to buck and kick until I either get a month of free service or quit.  I suppose if you are reading this, then you’ll know how it all turned out.  But the thing I take away from this experience, and that you can take away from this (apart from, you know, the realization that Clearwire is not the answer) is that television is anything but a waste of time.  If you’re still not convinced, give your ISP a call the next time your internet goes down.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/119882-blog-written-while-on-hold-with-my-internet-service-provider/