The (Almost) Interminable Saga of Mom and the Phone Woes

Recap: Since arriving at Snaotheus’s house, my phone has not sent or received calls. This coincides with the decommissioning of the 3G network. In the last two days, I spent roughly four or five hours with tech support, trying to figure out why certain settings will give me Internet and MMS images, but no phone calls; while others will allow phone calls, but no Internet or MMS images. Consensus among the tech folk was, to date, that my particular phone model was (of course!) among a small (read: thousands rather than millions) number that do not have whatever it takes to use the 4G network. Even though there’s a tiny “4G!” icon waggling at the top.

A-a-a-and now, in the next episode in our Ongoing Saga of Mom and the Phone Woes, we find our heroine getting up close and personal yet again with tech support…

This morning, the tech tells me to turn the phone off, take it outside at noon my time, and stand there for ten or fifteen minutes while they do a massive dump of some kind, hoping to get all the other phones like mine to update and accept whatever bit of code is needed for them to work.

So I dutifully stand outside in the rain for 15 minutes at noon, looking rather foolish. Especially to a group of 28 high school kids who are walking up the block on the other side of the street. They stare at me. And stare. I holler, “I’m waiting for the mother ship!” They stop staring and dissipate, rather quickly. I come back in and … nope, no phone calls. Dial out, beep, call ended. Once again, I call tech support.

“OK… yep, did that… mm-hmm… yep, did that, too… yep, that’s what’s entered under that heading… now what?”
mumbles from other end of line
“No. I went outside and stood in the rain for 15 minutes, but the mother ship never showed and I still can’t make calls.”
“OK, so what are my options?”

“Options” turn out to be “you’re gonna hafta get a new phone, lady, because there’s something in there that we can’t fix.” (This isn’t a big surprise; the battery’s not holding a charge well and the phone’s seven years old.)

So I call the down-the-street Target store. They have two of the recommended inexpensive and on-sale models in stock. I tell the kid who didn’t answer the phone when I called but did after I got booted to customer service and CS called him, and whom I know to be a sullen twit because of a previous encounter during which he sniped that their tech (dedicated to my carrier) had quit last week, to stick one of their two units in his pocket ’cause I’ll arrive in 10 minutes.

Climbing (literally) into Paco the Pick-up, I brave the mid-afternoon traffic to which I am surprised to discover I’m somewhat less accustomed, park Paco, and stagger through the store to electronics, which for some reason is always at the back of every store that has an electronics section. I purchase said new phone, ignoring Sullen Kid’s snarky remarks, rush back out so Paco won’t get lonely (you never know what a lonely red pick-up might get up to), and careen back to Snaotheus’s house.

After half an hour or so, I work out how to get into the packaging.

I take out the phone and plug in the charger in a spot somewhat less likely to be a deathtrap for the new phone when grandchildren bounce past. Knowing this will take a while, I look over the Dreaded (and generally Dreadful) Quick Start Guide.

It makes the Double D grade.

They always sprinkle liberally into the copy words such as “simple,” “easy,” “merely,” ekcetra (sic), in lieu of actual clear instructions, when what they should say is, “This is going to take you at least half a day and maybe more, because a lot of things we’re not telling you about will go wrong, so get ready for Set-up Hell and probably two or three more lengthy phone calls to tech support.” (Fortunately, I’ve discovered how to bypass the customer service queue and get an actual human who’ll transfer me to tech support immediately because he doesn’t want to talk to me.)

Given that the grandkids are about to arrive home from school, I wisely decide to let the phone charge and worry about set-up tomorrow, when things will be quieter and I should have time to screw things up thoroughly, account for the Malignant Personal EM Field, hit wrong keys with fat shaky fingers, ekcetra (also sic).

And despite all my miserable, frustration-laden history with these things, I still seem to have (cue Albert from the Hogfather movie) hoPe, emphasis on the explosive portion of the P. I know I’m delusional; I know I’m making Don Quixote look like a cynical oaf; but we’ll hear more about that next time on the all! new! upcoming episode of….

gongs and bells sound unmelodiously

The Ongoing Saga of Mom and the Phone Woes. Don’t miss it!

two days later

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Rather than trusting to the double-D “quick-start guide,” I called tech support and made them walk me through the whole thing. Good thing, too, because the QSG would have fouled it up royally. Surprisingly, it worked the first time with only a small glitch or two. After another day and a half of customizing the thing so I can live with it (which Snaotheus doesn’t understand; but it had two-plus screens full of crap I’ll never use and whose icons would obscure what I did want to find), I now have a phone that Makes Calls, Sends Texts, and even lets me look at new photos of The Divine Miss M. And the battery lasts forever.

It still surprises me how incredibly stressful I find setting up New Tech to be. It shouldn’t, given that everything generally goes Horribly Wrong from the get-go (which is probably why the stress, really) and I’ve been in that space for about five months, but it does. Still, the phone woes are likely mostly over.

For now.

Posted by wordsmith

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