It's probably at least a bit remarkable that I've managed to live as long as I have without ever having - until today, that is - the apparently near-universal experience of waiting for The Cable Guy. I felt a little like Morrissey singing about his hairdresser: "I sense the power within the fingers, within an hour the power could totally destroy me - or it could save my life."
I mean, who cares what kind of haircut you have anymore? With a good internet connection you never need to go out in public again, and if anyone insists on knowing what you "look" like, there's always Photoshop and artsy emo (aka blurred) portraits from ten years ago.
But get disconnected from the worldwide web and you might as well not even exist, or at least it's a lot harder to find out what time movies are playing or what the weather is like in Ulan Bator this time of year. So it was some trepidation that I parked myself in the front window to watch for the Time Warner van. Friends with experience in this field laughed at my childlike trust that the cable guy would turn up at all, let alone during the 4 hour window that I'd been promised.
However, the laugh was on them, as barely an hour and a half had passed before a very polite "technician" phoned to say he was in the neighborhood and would arrive at my door in about 15 minutes. He was there even sooner, and I could even forgive him for double-parking and then sitting there in his van for another 10 minutes while he ate a bag of greasy ribs. I could see him licking great dollops of sauce off his fingers, and hoped that he both had a large supply of napkins and would use them liberally before he came into my house and started, um, touching things.
He turned out to be a fine, jovial fellow, which made it hard for me to be cross about the fact that he didn't seem to know much about cables or computers. But he was smart enough to test all the cables and tell me that they were fine, and to tighten up the cable on my modem, which made all the right lights come on, even though the internet still didn't work.
And that was about it. Maybe I needed a new modem, he said. Or maybe not. He didn't know why my computer still couldn't connect to the internet, so I should probably call customer service and ask them. I didn't bother pointing out that I had already called customer service a week ago, which was why he was here in the first place. I thanked him for his efforts, waved goodbye, and then went back and tinkered around with my computer some more and voilà, the internet appeared! Unfortunately I have no idea just what it was that I did to solve the problem; otherwise I would be down at Time Warner tomorrow applying to become a "technician" myself. But never mind; the cable guy was nice, he showed up on time, and somehow between the two of us we made the internet work again. If only every story in the naked city could come to such a happy end.