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Friday, October 06, 2006


There was some swearing today in the MJ Philly office.

Okay. There was quite a bit of swearing. There was so much swearing that I am a bit shocked that I did not cause the wallpaper to fall off the wall in big strips. But I had a good reason.

I was attempting to set up a wireless network in my parents’ house.

Now, I'm no computer tech person or engineer, but when it comes to very basic computer things, I’m okay. And the guy in the store assured me that it was all very easy: switch out a cable, plug a new one in, put in a CD. Nothing too complicated. No translating any instructions from the original Cantonese, nothing that involved stripping wires, no algebraic equations. The instructions were on a single sheet, not a booklet—always a good sign.

And yet, and yet . . .

It didn’t work. The instruction CD died in the drive, the attempt to download the instructions failed, and after spending 45 minutes on the phone with tech support, during which I hooked the wireless router up a total of eleven separate times, THE PHONE FAILED. The guy started saying, “Are you there? I can’t hear you anymore. Hello?”

“I can hear you!” I yelled. “DON’T GIVE UP ON ME!”

We continued saying these things to each other for a full five minutes.

A trick I have in these situations is to start saying really crazy things, because that’s when the connection always comes back. I started singing some of the greatest hits of the 1980s, including The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Our House” by Madness. I started telling him a really embarrassing story about how once, when I was four, I was so excited to go and play with my friend that I forgot to put my pants on before leaving the house (it’s only happened once since). I told him I was Angelina Jolie. I told him I killed a man once and would reveal the location of the body only to him.

“I cannot hear you,” he replied to all of the above. “Can you hear me?”

I showered him with the many explicatives that were coming out of my mouth earlier. I told him that he tried and did all he could, but some situations are doomed from the start. I told him I loved him.

“Hello?” he said.

And then I hung up.

"I love you, #$%^%^#%$#," I said.

So there is no wireless network, the modem is pulled out, there are wires all over the floor, and I had to drink a cup of calming tea. In two hours time, I will be over at the Barnes and Noble in Oxford Valley, PA, and I will try not to use any of the language and that has been coming out of my mouth for the greater part of this afternoon.

Many thanks, by the way, to the very nice people at the Barnes and Noble in downtown Philadelphia, especially Lee. They did not even bat an eye when I attempted to break into their securely locked closet, or mistakenly told someone that they had won a $500 gift certificate, when they had in fact won a book.

Please come out tonight if you are in the area. There is no telling what I may do. I may give you a car, or I may tell you to @^(*$(%*@ $&%($&%(&$ #^&^&*$^%&*.

It’s a hard call. But you know I love you.