Saturday, January 06, 2007

Four hours with Comcast

The cable guy finally showed late yesterday afternoon. Unlike the last time I had one of these guys over, I still had a ladder when he left. So that's nice. His name was Carlos.

It took him four hours to diagnose the problem I'd been having for almost a year. He was a pretty good sport about it all, since he hadn't been expecting anything complicated. I think he thought, as I did, that he'd hook up the box and be gone in the space of 20 minutes or so.

We kept thanking one another for our respective displays of patience.

The problems with the signal were clearly pissing him off. He kept thinking of new things to try, though, even though each one seemed to give me either the cable tv or internet access, but never both simultaneously. I sensed several times that he was very near to giving up and calling in another service order to make someone else come and deal with all of this, but he kept at it. He indicated that if things weren't working when he left, he would not be paid for his time.

In the end, he had to run an entirely new cable from somewhere outside and into my apartment. I told him that I was pretty sure that the last guy had done that, and he showed me several splices in the cable I had, and further explained that my existing cable came from at least three different spools, which is apparently a bad thing.

He ripped out my frankencable and ran a new line along my building in the dark. Neither of us had a flashlight, and he did a lot of the work with the illumination provided by opening of his cell phone every ten seconds.

At one point, there was shouting from the street outside.

"I forgot there were still bangers around here," Carlos said.

"Yeah. They tagged my car about a month ago."

"Oh? They don't like you?"

I shrugged and said nothing. I'm still unsure why they wrote on my car.

"Bangers are fucking stupid," he offered, walking back outside.

He never asked me for a bribe, although he indicated that he might have if the technicians still controlled the programming in the home. He said everything is controlled by satellites now, which is why he doesn't have more channels himself.

And although he turned down my offered soda, he did sheepishly ask me for a cigarette a couple of times.

Once he was gone, I flipped through the new channels and played with the On Demand thing. They seem to have a pretty decent selection of free movies I can watch whenever I like. I can pause them, fast-forward, the whole deal.

I watched the first 20 minutes of something and then switched it off. It felt good to switch it off. Getting cable shouldn't change your life.


Kawarrtha said...

Being a cable tech myself... I can honestly relate to the whole cell phone light thing. Good for him for doing you right. :)

Sundry said...

Glad you wrote this tribute to this particular working man. I've been messed with by more installers than I care to admit. One instance STILL wakes me up at night years later. I should have told him to get away from my house (PacBell guy) but I needed a phone.

And thanks for linking my site! I am truly pleased to be in such heady company!! (And about to dip into my dashboard to return the favor...which I don't do lightly.)

Nikki Neurotic said...

good it's finally working. last year we got an HD tv so my dad was going to have a chip installed so we could get the HD on the we get that installed and it just never worked right...had it for about a month and called them up and they came out and pretty much told us the chip sucked and our best option would be to upgrade to the Comcast cable box...which my dad had been trying to avoid...but he caved in.

I love the On Demand stuff...i'm so behind on movies anyway, I can usually find something to watch.

Liz Dwyer said...

On Demand is quickly becoming one of my favorte things. Here's a question though, you live in Chicago so how come you don't say he turned down a "pop" instead of saying he turned down a "soda"?

Cinnamon Girl said... =) Been there done that. Nice blog and thanks for the link! I have linked ya back =)

Anonymous said...

Hi :) Just popped by to say thanks for your comment. Glad you liked the invite I made for Julia. I liked your little rhyme and believe that we were all winners! ;)
Glad you switched the TV off, such self-control is to be commended!

Ms Melancholy said...

What a lovely bloke. But what's a banger? In UK this means a firework, and I'm guessing you mean something different....

The Moon Topples said...

Sundry: Sorry you've had such bad luck. Gotta have a phone, though, I guess, or you can't call for help when the installer gets creepy.

Liz: I live in Chicago, but my upbringing was pretty rural and then suburban. I guess "soda" is a holdover from the rural part. I recall calling it "sodie pop" for quite a while. Also, I thought of you when I was browsing the free movie available from On Demand and noticed that all of the first 5 Rocky flicks are in there. Now's your chance!

Starrlight: Thanks for the compliment.

Suzie Q: Sadly, the self-control was partially based on other times when I've had cable installed and stared at it slack-jawed for the first few days. Also, I suppose I'm a lot pickier about what I watch these days.

MM: I thought a "banger" was a sausage in the UK. Bangers and mash or something? Anyway, in this context, it's an abbreviation for gangbanger. Sorry to be so colloquial.