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geeks anonymous
broadband == cocaine
by scott macmillan

I wrote this a while ago, but it's my best candidate out of recent writings for a column, and my new studio felt really empty...

This was when I lived in central Connecticut.


Last night the cable modem people came to hook up our broadband internet access. Getting that alone to happen was a complete nightmare. We were told that they would be there between 8:30 and 1. Apparently they meant 8:30pm to 1am. I spent most of yesterday on the phone with our damned cable company trying to figure out where these guys were. Here's a honest-and-true example:

Telemedia Moron: Telemedia blah blah blah, can I help you?

Scott: Yes. I'm trying to find out if the guys who were supposed to install our cable modem today fell in a ditch or something.

TM: Huh?

S: I'm trying to find out what happened to the guys who are installing our cable modems. Do you -

TM: Telephone number.

S: 203-blah-blah.

TM: (in a smug, conversation-ending tone of voice) They are scheduled to be there between 8:30 and 1.

S: It's 1:20.

TM: Please hold.

Naturally, by the end of the day I was a bit rabid. I eventually got home, as did Sharky, and we waited some more. I occupied myself with killing Bond movie villains for a while in Goldeneye. If the Nintendo 64 was capable, it probably would have wondered at the high percentage of crotch-shots that the enemy agents were taking from my sniper rifle.

Eventually, the guys showed up. They were from a different company that was contracted to do this work by Telemedia, and they did their best to quickly distance themselves as much as possible from the cable company. The fact that Sharky and I were chatting amiably about going down to the local Telemedia office and killing everyone in it may have contributed to their actions.

Now the plan had been that I - possibly with Dave and Sharky - was going to head over to CompUSA in Orange. This was to get a router so we could hook up both our computers to the modem. Dave bailed because of a previous engagement, and suddenly it was 8:15 and the cable modem guys were still there - and the store closes at 9. So. I jump into the car with my cell phone and some vague directions from Sharky, and start driving at a high rate of speed towards Orange.

Now, just as a note, approximately 3 minutes after starting this drive, my fuel light went on.

Unfortunately, the vague directions were indeed only vaguely accurate. I ended up driving on the Merrit Parkway through Orange and into New Haven, then taking local roads down to where I needed to go. Eventually, I did make it. After the store closed, though.

As I pulled into the parking lot (at 9:05) and hopped out of the car.

Guy at the Door: I'm sorry, sir, but we closed at 9.

Scott: I just drove forty-five minutes to get here and it'll take me two more to drop over $200 bucks in your store.

Guy at the Door: Ok.

So, I pulled it off. The remarkable part, though, came prior to my arrival at CompUSA, when I was still on the Merrit. The area I was in had no lighting at all and the pavement had been ripped up and was all bumpy. I was driving 85 miles an hour on an empty gas tank, bent forward over the wheel, my entire car shaking from the destroyed roadway, in the dark, with bad directions, towards a store that I knew by all rights should be closed by the time I get there.

And I was doing this all to get a LinkSys EtherFast Cable/DSL 4-Port Router.

And it hadn't even occurred to me until that moment that perhaps I could have waited till the next day to get it.

- Scott


If I haven't left at least one person fishing for a comeback at least once a day, I'm probably not being myself.

more about scott macmillan


john chase
2.14.03 @ 12:31p

Yeah! That's funny. Of course the whole time I was reading I was thinking, "you could just wait until tomorrow..." Only in America...

erik myers
2.14.03 @ 12:49p

Yeah, that's the problem about instant gratification. It's never quite instant enough.

juli mccarthy
2.14.03 @ 1:39p

Instant gratification takes too long. Who do I see about some retroactive gratification??

david damsker
2.14.03 @ 3:09p

I bought my 4-port Belkin router for 39.99 at Office Max about 2 months ago. Times have changed.

I'm the same way. When I'm mailing something important, I always send it USPS Express Mail just to get the satisfaction of getting it there tomorrow morning (whether it needs to or not). Of course I could pay about 10 bucks less and send it priority (which gets it there in 2 days instead of 1), but I need to know it got there ASAP.


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