Monday, September 9, 2013

Day Three Log…Luddite’s Revenge

I was tested today. I needed to engage in some very circular problem solving known in today’s education circles as a “21st Century Skill”:  Critical Thinking.  Although I gave it my all, I was no match for the tangled web of technology dependency.  It wasn’t pretty.  

2:20 a.m.: Woke due to Insomnia/Jet Lag/confused body clock syndrome. Designed new face for this year’s blog, and posted first blog. No problem connecting to Internet….yet.
5:45 a.m.:  Helped S out the door to catch a flight, started a load of wash, then back to bed. Growling of mysterious jungle beast subsided as my head hit the pillow.
12:20 p.m.:  Awoke from deep slumber. Ate oatmeal, tried to get online to check email. No go. Doorbell rang:  Man returning clean garbage pails (can’t think about his nasty job right now) pointed to the key we had left in the door the entire evening.  Tried to act like it was not a big deal and that I was not a complete idiot, but he saw through that façade pretty quickly.
12:45: Still waiting for movers to call, as they told me today is the day to deliver Jaipur items, probably around 2 or 3.  I should have asked WHICH 2 or 3, and which day…. Tried to connect to Internet…No go.  Spent about 2 hours trying to configure in various ways, no stone left unturned. No go.  Called Help Desk of our WIFI service, they took me through the exact same steps I’d already done 10 times.  No go. Glad they couldn’t get it work with the same steps I had used, but still wanted Internet. Guy promised a service engineer would call me tomorrow to schedule an appointment to come to home to take a look. I gave them my Jaipur number, which now only has 3 rupees of time left, after extended conversation with Help Desk that couldn’t help. 
3:00 p.m.:  Tried to use my TATA PHOTON mobile router from last year, but we put it into sleep mode over the summer and I need to make a call (on the phone with no minutes) to reactivate. Sim card from Jaipur now down to 1.5 rupees.
4:00 p.m.: Tried to connect new Trivandrum Sim Card purchased yesterday:  Problem:  No time on it yet (woman said 6:00 p.m., tonight, and there is no reason to believe it will be done before then, what was I thinking?)
4:15:  While I was trying to get Trivandrum Sim card to work (about 15 minutes), I had 10 missed calls, 8 from movers asking me where I was. They were at my coworker’s and wanted to dump the stuff there since I didn’t answer.  Co-worker called as well, probably in a panic that she would have a room full of my stuff, and also the Landlord, who probably wants the stash of rupee notes I have hidden in the dining room credenza. Can’t return any of the calls, because….
4:30:  A doorman came to my door talking very fast Malayalam and motioning.  I asked if I should go with him, he vigorously said no. He spoke louder and faster. I tried a wild guess, and motioned my phone wasn’t working, he said ok.  He made a sign of boxes.  I said YES, tell them to bring them, please. He walked away satisfied, I shut the door completely clueless as to how he got into the mix, or if he really WAS in the mix.
5:00 p.m.:  My phone rang!  It was the movers.  Where was I?  HERE.  Where is HERE?  I told him not to hang up, but I would run downstairs (elevator actually) and get doorman to explain location in Malayalam. He hung up just as I reached the bottom floor.  I tried to call him back and it went through, no idea how that happened.  I handed off phone to doorman, and two men had conversation about whereabouts of this jungle apartment. Doorman told me to go back to my apartment.  Gladly, said I.  I noticed on the walk back to the elevator I was wearing my kaftan and tennis shoes...niiiiiice.
6:00:  One hour later, still no movers.  I tried to call again (1.5 rupees left)…. They answered and said they would be there in half an hour or so… I assume they are eating.  No problem, but I told them my phone wasn’t working so just come, no more calling. The sun will set sometime and end this drama, hopefully. 

Current Status Summary: I would like to call Tata Docomo to activate the dongle, but no phone minutes.  I would like to call back my missed calls from coworkers and landlord and tell them I’m alive and not usually this rude, but no phone minutes.  I’d like to call back service center for wireless and tell them the new Trivandrum # I’ll be using after 6:00 p.m. (because experience has taught me India is known for its prompt delivery of services), but no minutes.

Based on the current state of affairs, I sit down to read a great book, and the best part is that it requires no technology whatsoever.  At 6:00 p.m. I will attempt the new sim card again and get frustrated all over, I’m sure, but for now, I’m done.  Movers can come or not come, I’m going to read and drink a pot of tea until 6:00. Until then I am cut off from the world and people are wondering where the hell I am.  Oh yes, one more missed task, I was supposed to call S’s pick-up ride at Delhi Airport and tell them HE had no minutes on his phone either, but no go on that.  Wonder if he got to his place in Delhi….Maybe I could CALL him? 

7:00 p.m.:  I use some crazy glue on a hook in the bathroom that doesn’t want to stick with the regular 3M stick-ons. (I’m not to be denied my rigged-up shower curtain because of a lazy hook.)  As usual, while being extremely careful NOT to get some on my fingers, I get some crazy glue on 4 of my fingertips (new record) and feel like I have no identity now, should I want to commit a crime. This may be my best opportunity for a while, given my mental state.

If you remember the children’s book “Alexander’s Terrible, No-good, Very bad, Horrible Day”, I’m incarnating the living-abroad adult version of that book today. Or, perhaps it is a Luddite Fairy telling me no-so-gently I should toss all my technology over the balcony so it can join my soaked sari blouse, who knows. All I know right now for sure is if I survive today, the rest of this year will be all gravy, or rather, curry.
8:00 p.m.: Movers appear. One mover picks up the trunk filled with the most fragile stuff, and then walks over to me, holding it chest high, and unceremoniously drops it at my feet.  Not cool, several damaged items.  After he sees the look on my face, he says maybe he dropped it accidentally.  Maybe not, but he knew he better say something quick.

Next Morning:  I ask a neighbor to use her phone so I could get a taxi to get minutes on MY phone, etc.  At the end of Day 4, I have a phone with minutes (not completely resolved, however) and Internet, and a promise of steady unspecified future.  I gave myself a break mid-day and did a little retail therapy at the local nursery, and am now the proud owner of a mini-orchid garden with accompanying tropical plants on the terrace right in the view of my desk.  Ahhhh….  I see why people take technology breaks, but I’d like to plan my own, thanks.


  1. Sounds like to me like the book..Fortunately , Unfortunately. But... someone tore out all the Fortunately pages-- :) wow that was a day, only way to go is up. Like the plants..

  2. Wow, makes the visa bureaucracy seem like a cake walk.
    Your man in Delhi.

  3. OMG. I would have taken the first plane out- I have no patience for that sort of thing. Better days ahead I hope.