Thursday, January 05, 2012

And people wonder why I'm technophobic: Curmudgeon's Internet goes down again

I stayed home yesterday, largely curled up in the fetal position, hiding under a table. But I'll come to that in my next post, possibly.

The point is this: When I left work Tuesday my Internet was functioning normally; when I arrived this morning, there was a teeny-tiny yellow triangle on the status bar telling me I was not connected to the Internet.

And, yes, we paid the bill. I'm pretty sure.

Well, I went into our little closet/storage-area/rats'-nest-of-wiring here at the Undisclosed Location and unplugged this and that and counted green lights and did all the normal things one does in order to make the little yellow triangle go away.

But it wouldn't.

I pulled up the Network and Internet section of the Control Panel on my desktop and, sure enough, there was a big red "X" across the line that goes from my "network" to the Internet. ("Network" is in quotes because I don't have one. There's just me and my machine. My office mate and I do not share a common server, just an Internet portal. But the machine apparently considers that a network, too. Does it really matter?)

There are wireless networks in other offices here at the Undisclosed Location, as you might expect, and some of these show up on the list of available networks that my computer says it can detect... but to which I can not connect.

(Poetry in the digital age.)

One of these has a rather euphonious appellation, and one I'd noticed before (on a prior occasion when I was forced to look).

I checked the physical connections in my office, plugged and unplugged, rebooted, and clicked around the troubleshooting menu in the Control Panel. Eventually, the machine said I was connected to the network with the pretty name -- though, of course, I wasn't actually connected to anything.

It was at this point that I decided to go for a walk. I told our tenant I was thinking of trying jump in the river, but I was afraid I'd miss. Such has been my luck of late.

I walked. I walked through the Pedway that connects the Daley Center and City Hall to the CTA Red and Blue Lines and winds around the basement level of the old Marshall Fields State Street store (now just a larger, older Macy's). The Pedway is at its widest around Macy's. There are alcoves set in the wall, too, each one occupied this morning by a sleeping homeless man. Another man was leaning against the wall, shouting some of the lyrics to the old Commodores' song, "Brick House." What he couldn't remember he made up. He didn't seem to be trying to sing.

Once I got around Macy's, the Pedway took me to Michigan Avenue and the Millennium Station. From there I could go up into a couple of office buildings or out onto lower Randolph, past a subterranean entrance to the Harris Theatre. I could do any of these things; I did all of them, searching in vain for the Pedway connection into Illinois Center, just south of the Chicago River on East Wacker Drive. I went topside for just long enough to enter 205 N. Michigan and wander into the Pedway tunnels there. I'm pretty sure there's a below-ground connection. It seems to me there are others, going even further east, that I couldn't find today.

Eventually, though, I went back to the Undisclosed Location. Back to my desk. Back to my computer. It still said it was connected to a network with a pretty name that I know nothing about. And, of course, I wasn't connected.

Our tenant encouraged me to call the Almighty Telephone Company (my current Internet provider) and see if they could help. Let's see... the last time I made this Passage to India, the Almighty Telephone Company promised faithfully to send out a repairman that day (Monday). I was working from home on the following Wednesday when our tenant called to tell me the promised-Monday-afternoon repairman had just showed up.

For some reason, I was not thrilled at the prospect of calling the Almighty Telephone Company.

But I'd stalled away the whole morning now, and I swallowed my bile and resolved to make the call. First, though, I thought I would try... just one last time... just one time out of the hundred times I'd already tried this morning... to launch the Internet.

If this really publishes, you'll know what happened: The darn thing started. The network map still has me routed (via a "switch") into the network with the pretty name. And I'd done nothing new -- nothing even recently -- to try and reestablish contact.

It did it by itself.



I know I should be happy. I need the stupid Internet to function. But... as a person trained to believe in reason and logic and cause and effect... you have to understand that this is driving me crazy.

OK, crazier.

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