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I was browsing the web site that will eventually kill me when a suggestion to write something about (of all things) tea materialised in my inbox. What a coincidence — I had a mug of it next to me so how hard could it be? (That mostly rhetorical question was rendered not entirely rhetorical when I discovered several pieces of onion in it. Not exactly your typical breakfast of champions.)

While picking onions from my teeth I decided to look up ‘tea’ on the Website Of Doom — what did it have to say? Lot of things, but it reminded me that Tea Solves Everything.

Like yesterday afternoon — I was enjoying a mug of tea (actually, more of a pail with a handle on it) when I received email from my cell phone carrier. Uh oh — that’s rarely a good thing, even though the subject line said “AWESOME NEW SERVICE.”

Despite the capital letters it wasn’t bad news — they were actually claiming to give me something (for nothing). Neat. (Hard to believe, but neat.) Tell me more.

The email was a little sketchy. It was long on self-congratulation (“We’re giving you something for nothing — aren’t we kewl?”) and short on details (“Details aren’t kewl.”) but there was a link. Not a particularly good link you understand — I would have preferred actual documentation written out in English or something approaching it but they gave me a video instead because apparently Reading Is Too Hard For Their Customers. So I clicked on the link — what did I have to lose? It took a long time. Good thing I had that pail of tea. So I was calm, relaxed and reasonably well hydrated when the link failed.

“The connection has timed out” it said. 35 hours later it’s still saying the same thing. (Apparently you can buy that kind of quality.)

Hm. So they sent me email about an AWESOME NEW SERVICE and the not-really-documentation-at-all that might explain what it was and how to use it doesn’t actually exist. Really? Maybe I should try (shudder) tech support. After all, my pail-with-a-handle was still reasonably full. I decided to try the “Live Chat” option.

Predictably, it didn’t work. At least it didn’t work in the web browser that I was using at the time. This is one of my pet peeves: in my not really humble at all opinion all web services should work in all browsers and if they don’t they should say so. So this failed on two counts — it didn’t work and it didn’t say it didn’t work. Counting the initial link not working they were already up to strike three. In some games you would be out at this point — but not a technology-related one.

So I switched browsers and before long I was ‘talking’ to a nice man who clearly wanted to help but had no idea what my problem was. Apparently I don’t communicate as well as I like to think I do. But eventually he mailed me some actual Documentation. Success.

Well, not so much. Because the documentation was written in HTML (well, what isn’t these days?) and every image failed to load.




(What are we up to, strike 4? Or is it 5 by now?) But in the actual, you know, words I found a hint that led me to something that looked promising. A button. In an app that up until now had no obvious use. I pushed it. Inevitably, it failed.

Interestingly, the error message claimed that it had failed because I wasn’t connected to the carrier’s wireless network. “That’s odd” I thought “the phone claims it is. And you’d think it would know.” I told the nice man at the other end of my chat session what had happened. Did he have any suggestions?

Turns out he did. Because apparently he had been trained in the “have you tried turning it off and on again” school of tech support. And Lo! After being turned on again the phone said it was connected to the same wireless network it had been connected to before but the error message WENT AWAY and I could actually see the thingy that they said they had given me. Apparently I had emptied my pail Just In Time.

So I learned a few things:

Three strikes are for chumps. Or small children. Or something. Just not cell phone carriers.

Turning it off and on again works more often than you’d think.

And I never could have done it without the tea.


The Author

Rose Glace is the pseudonym of nobody important.


  1. Cathy W says

    Ah tea, nectar of the gods. We drank much of it as grad students…


    • these days it’s usually iced (read ‘room temperature’) tea for me. it’s a little more forgiving for an absent-minded older gentleman who forgets where he leaves things.


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