12 October 2009

Technophobia rears its head

One of the required tasks on our long list of pre-move activities is setting up our utilities. Cristy and I divided these responsibilities and electricity was on my list. We had off-handedly discussed setting up cable and internet closer to our move-in date, so that was still a couple of weeks off.

After I finished speaking with the excellent representative at Reliant energy, he enticed me to stay on the line while he transferred me to “partner services” with the promise of a discount coupon to Lowes. Well, I’m all about a discount, and goodness knows the list of items we need to purchase from Lowes keeps growing, so that was all he needed to say.

Next thing I know, I’m talking with a nice guy named Kevin with partner services. Still, this phrase that does not yet mean anything to me. Then he explains it. For the convenience of customers moving to another property, Reliant has established partner relationships with a handful of telecommunications service providers. He asks whether we need to transfer a home telephone.

I say no, we don’t have one.

OK, he says. We do represent a couple of cable and internet service providers that serve your area. Will you be needing cable or internet?

Yy-ye-ess. I say slowly, my palms beginning to sweat. Oh no. Is he going to ask difficult questions about high digital definition, ultra broadband super duper networking? Because I am afraid my head might explode.

So I quickly start backpedaling. But look, I say. I’m not the right person with whom you should be having this discussion. I don’t know much about televisions or computers.

That’s ok, he says. I’m kind of an expert.

Do I detect a certain amount of smugness in that remark? I think I do! So I quickly figure out the only way to respond will be to engage an ally. I ask him to hold while I conference Cristy onto the line with us. Fortunately for me, I know how to use the conference call function on my phone. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Thank goodness she’s there. And she can talk. And she is pretty darned interested in having this conversation too – she happens to know a thing or two about both of the vendors that he represents and ever-so-nonchalantly tosses in a jargony term or two.

I am so proud of her I could burst with joy. The blood is rushing through my ears and I can not exactly hear the particulars of their conversation, but I can tell that she is pressing for clarification on a couple of areas of concern, selecting an installation date, and deftly negotiating yet another signing bonus gift. Then it is over.

My heart beat returns to normal. I thank her profusely. She is completely calm, as if nothing frightening has occurred at all. She knows how I feel about technology – it is as if tiny men from Jupiter were descending into the room. She just laughs. I’m so glad I can amuse her, because I love her so.

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