Living in Paradise

How Conflicts Begin

How Conflicts Begin

I can dislike Vladimir Putin for inflicting his dreams of a reunified Soviet on the people of Ukraine. Or I can think that Joe Biden has played a big part in the Ukraine War, higher gas prices and inflation, by being weak and misguided. But the real villain in my small world – the one that has my blood boiling today—is Comcast.

I’m not making light of the horrible world situation. Just trying to deal with things I can control.

Comcast has ranked among the top ten villains in my life for decades. I’m guessing you’ve been there, too. And yet when it came time to select a provider for wi-fi and TV service a month or so ago for our new condo, we returned in Orwellian fashion to the Comcast fold.

“He’s the devil we know,” I told my man. At the time I didn’t realize how annoyingly true that statement was.

I have several friends who have gone off the service provider grid because they couldn’t tolerate Comcast. My good friend Candace did it on her own. And she would be the first to tell you that it wasn’t easy and took copious amounts of time and research to get it right. I don’t have the patience; neither does my man.

At our old household, I was in charge of paying the Comcast bill. I didn’t just fork it over automatically. I made them work for it. Every month they sent me the bill, and I went to the trouble to check it and then charge it to my credit card.

Things changed when my man took over that role for our new place…for some still unknown reason. He set up the bill for automatic deduction from his credit card. Then forgot to tell Comcast when he changed his credit card to keep the lady who hasn’t taken care of our messed-up new blinds from charging us until they are properly fixed. You have to have some leverage with incompetents. I get that.

Anyway, there had been discussions with Comcast in recent days. An exchange of information and new credit card number and an agreement that two-months’ worth of bills would be collected on March 1.

But this morning, in the middle of the ongoing Ukrainian invasion, our TV screen went blank, our cell phone service kaput and our wi-fi became dicey. Either Russian hackers were launching an attack on the U. S. or, as it turns out, Comcast didn’t want to wait until next Tuesday for payment; it was stopping our service now.

My man dutifully called the company, paid the bill early with his credit card and turned on the TV. Nothing.

There ensued a painful episode in which he tried to “fix” the situation himself.

“They’ll turn it back on when they are good and ready,” I told him. After all this is Comcast. One of the world’s greatest dictators. He ignored me.

Soon I heard him on the phone again, explaining to the party on the other end what had happened. She said she would send out a technician on Saturday. There might be a service charge.

“They turned off our TV, we paid the bill like they wanted and now they want to charge us for turning it back on?” I wasn’t expecting an answer.

Ten minutes later, I heard Stuart Varney’s voice coming from the TV in my man’s office. The one he’d turned on at the insistence of the Comcast woman who was trying to help him earlier and then decided to send a technician.

“The TV is back on. Guess Comcast decided we were punished enough,” I told my man, who was heading for his phone to cancel the Saturday appointment.

When I think about it, I’m guessing this is how conflicts begin. Not with a bang, but with a misunderstanding about an issue that couldn’t wait for three days to be resolved.

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