When love means… dealing with tech support

In any relationship there will be points of contention, but I have to say that for however lame I may be in doing my share of the laundry or the dishes or the overall parenting, my hat’s way off to my wife for spending over an hour and a half on the phone last week on my behalf.

I had already spent nearly an hour myself, not to mention the several failed calls from the day before… all trying to get my email up and running after huge company A insisted that I “migrate” my email over to huge company B, which it turns out is all just one big company anyway.  The migration process, however, had caused me to be unable to access my email, which has become increasingly critical to being able to work.

During my long moments on intermittent hold, I pondered the upside of not having email—of everything simply falling through the cracks… of a return to some idyllic life that once existed before texts and cell phones and constant contact.  But then the clock ran down to time for my first client and I was looking at seven hours of back-to-back clinical hours after which the support line would be closed once again.

With an hour already invested in an absurdist telephone-drama in which I had just been informed that I needed to call yet another number, but from my home, in order to access whatever secret code could allow the unraveling of the mystery, I called Andy and implored her to please take over my Sisyphean travail—for the sake of my sanity.

I could have just a soon asked if she’d like to have dental surgery on my behalf, and meanwhile she’d already been on her fifth call back and forth with the pharmacy over one of our kid’s prescriptions, but Andy gallantly took up the mantle of tech futility.

It took her over an hour and a half to finally get a definitive “I can’t help you,” yet the final rejection ended up giving her an inadvertent clue (about company C, which somehow was the same as companies A and B) that turned out to be the royal road I needed to unlock the door to my newly migrated, and markedly worsened email service (now with advertisements, and a newly acquired disability when it came to linking multiple email accounts).  Since I don’t promote products, I’ll also refrain from specifically saying negative things about specific companies A, B or C, however, for all the bright shinning adds we see on TV, I’m not sure any of us can possibly be as excited about these companies as people who are paid to look happy in adds profess to be about their caring and amazing services.

When I came home late that evening Andy filled me in on the ludicrous details—how she’d spent an hour on the phone with a guy in Bangalore who needed her to answer a prompt question to a password in order to access a never-used and until then forgotten email account.  Now this all started to become as convoluted as the DaVinci Code as the tech guy aggressively and repeatedly asked the prompt question:  “Who needs a hug?”

Andy had no idea who needed a hug, or why I had made that up as a prompt question.  By that evening, however, we were all cracking up at the absurdity of this Bourne Identity meets Slumdog Millionaire scenario—the insistent harsh cries of “Who needs a hug?”  And Andy’s blank inability to even guess…  “Is it ‘Will Ferrell?’ (from a throw-away joke in Elf)?”  “No… Who needs a hug?”

Since we often say silly things to our dog, and then forget them a week later and say new silly things to our dog, it’s possible that the answer was “Agnes” as inspired by Will Ferrell, but then it could be the Queen of England for all any of us could know or recall.  After the tech guy in Bangalore acknowledged that he simply could not help her, he transferred her to Patrick in Ireland who, a half hour later, definitively stated that no one could help her.  Either way, by that evening it was Andy who needed a hug, and so I gave her one then (or at least I hope I did) and give her a virtual hug of love and gratitude with this post—deeply appreciating the fact that we can all make each other a little crazy and still end up laughing about it all in the end.

Sometimes we focus on the deeper issues of parenting, but sometimes the silly must prevail.  I know that most of us are aware of our blessings, and still we are intermittently frustrated to the point of distraction.  So, here’s to stepping up and helping each other when we can—in ways big, small and tedious, and to thanking each other when someone helps us out—in the service of a hug for all our collective children, grown-ups included, from within our houses to the call centers of the world from Bangalore to Blarney.

Namaste, Bruce


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3 Responses to “When love means… dealing with tech support”

  1. Eva Says:

    Oh, the pains of tech support. These kind of chores – phone calls to any service provides – are painful and easy to avoid. Kudos to you and Andy for just dealing with the problem and not giving up. This is certainly an act of service, a gesture of love.

    “Who needs a hug?” That is hilarious! At the time, you think you’re being very clever in coming up with the security question. But it turns out you’ve been too clever!

  2. Stephanie Says:

    Bruce – just wanted you to know I can’t stop laughing about that. Hoping I can work it into improv this week. Steph

  3. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Andy’s gesture was a true labor of love. You are a lucky man indeed!

    In my most recent Kafkaesque experience with tech support, I was asked to reveal “the approximate age of Karen.” Knowing no one by that name, I was completely stumped. The gentleman on the other end did not find the situation nearly as funny as I did and he transferred me to someone else, apparently unable to deal with my inability to conjure up the age of this mysterious Karen.

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