“Hello, sir,” said the guy answering the phone. His accent was foreign. “Thank you for calling the Spectacular Internet Service Help Center hotline. How may I help you today?”
“Yeah, hi. Look, my internet is out, and I just need to get it turned back on.”
“I see. Yes, sir. Of course, sir. Let me begin by thanking you for being a valued Spectacular Internet Service customer. I shall be helping you with this very important problem you face. Do you have access to a phone, please?”
“A telephone, sir.”
“I’m calling you on a phone right now.”
“Okay. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. And what seems to be the problem today?”
“Like I said. My internet service. It’s not working.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you for your persistent patience, sir. I will be helping you to troubleshoot this inconvenient problem, can you hold please?”
Then, Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”
Then, “Wildfire,” by Michael Martin Murphy.
“Thank you for your patience, sir,” said the voice on the phone. “How is it that I may help you this day?”
“Yeah, It’s still me. Same person. I just need my internet turned back on.”
“Yes, sir. I see. I will be assisting you in this terrible technical issue. Are you near your modem?”
“Yeah, I am.”
“Thank you, sir. Please unplug your modem.”
“Look, I’ve already tried this, the unplugging-the-modem thing. I unplugged it, did the whole power cycle deal. Then I plugged it back in and nothing happened. So I tried it a few more times, and still nothing happened. That’s actually why I called you. Something is wrong, and the problem is not on my end.”
“Please tell me when you have unplugged your modem, sir.”
“Okay. I’ve unplugged it.”
“Very good, sir.”
“Hello?” I said.
“I said I have unplugged my modem.”
“Yes. Thank you, sir.”
“Am I supposed to plug my modem back in yet?” I said.
“I’m very sorry, sir. What is this you are asking me?”
“I’m asking if I’m supposed to plug my modem back in?”
“Have you unplugged it yet?”
“Well, I wouldn’t be asking you if I hadn’t.”
“Plug your modem back in, sir.”
“It’s plugged in.”
“Very good, sir.”
“Are you still there?” I ask.
“Of course, sir.”
“What are we doing?”
“Why are we waiting?”
“Waiting? Have you unplugged your modem, sir?”
“I just did that, remember? We unplugged it. And I was waiting for you to tell me to plug it in.”
“I already told you to plug it back in, sir.”
“I just plugged it in. Remember?”
“Very good, sir.”
“So, what the heck are we waiting for?” I asked.
“I am looking for a signal, sir.”
I ask, “Do you see a signal on your end?”
“Please wait, sir. This will take a long duration. Maybe five minutes or more. May I put you on hold again?”
“No. Do not put me on hold ag—”
AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill.”
Burt Bacharach’s “I Say A Little Prayer For You.”
“Thank you for your patience, sir. Have you plugged in your modem as of yet?”
“Yes. Remember, you said you were looking for a signal? I plugged in my modem, and you said you were looking for a signal. Do you have a signal?”
“Yes, we were looking for a signal. Why do I feel like I’m in the movie ‘Clockwork Orange’?”
“Sir? I have no signal. Do you see any lights blinking on your modem?”
“Yes, I see lights all over the place. I see lights up the earhole, but no internet service. No nothing. I have no service.”
“What does ‘Hmm’ mean?”
“Please unplug your modem again, sir.”
“Oh, no. Not again. Please don’t make me do this again. It’s not going to work. Unplugging my modem doesn’t work.”
“May I put you on hold, sir?”
“I am serious. Do not put me on hold again or, I swear to God, I will—”
Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
“Smooth Operator,” by Sade.
“Sir?” said the voice. “Thank you for your continued patience. I am going to transfer you to my supervisor, thank you for allowing me to help you with your issue. Is there anything else I may assist you with today?”
“No, thank you.”
Rupert Holmes’ “Piña Colada Song.”
“All Out of Love,” by Air Supply.
Followed by “Dance With Me,” by Orleans.
Finally. A voice.
“Hello, sir,” a new foreign voice said. “Thank you for calling the Spectacular Internet Service Help Center. How￼ may I help you today? Let me begin by thanking you for being a valued Spectacular Internet Service customer. I will be helping you with this important problem. Let us start by unplugging your modem.”
Dear God, either give me strength or just take me home