Grasping for understanding as technology glitches upend life

Published 4:45 pm Saturday, August 6, 2022

One of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit is Understanding.  For me as a counselor, behaviorist, human being … understanding encompasses everything in my professional and secular life – discerning the purpose of behavior; why we do what we do – caring about each other, trying to understand can be extremely difficult, but so necessary – has anyone ever listened to you and genuinely cared about your feelings … how did it make you feel – do you now apply this to others? 

Last Thursday afternoon, July 28, working on Eagle column due to my editor at 5 p.m., as I’m doing now, and suddenly, drat, had no AT&T service and couldn’t get it to my editor.  Called Stacy and she said no worries, she would select a previous column of mine and post it – whew, thanks, but my world stopped, what happened? 

Having AT&T service for mega years, mostly because I was familiar with troubleshooting their system (been there often), spent several hours applying all the reset tricks with no luck.  So, deep breath, called Technical Assistance. Living in Oxford since 1988 and throughout this time have had some stressful, aggravating calls, but years ago decided no matter what, I was going to represent my faith, be patient, polite, respectful (even to robots) regardless of what happened … gulp.

Email newsletter signup

When the robot (now there’s a female voice … wee bit sassy) finally connected me with a “real representative” (patience), told “Andre” my standard line (and meant) how much I appreciated him coming to work in the Philippines that day to help me, “Steve, you don’t know how much that means to me…”  Then “Kamil” was wonderful (5s on her survey) had me do a series of tests – after an hour suspected the modem and was sending a new one overnight.

Home after Noon Mass on Friday just in time to have the new modem handed to me by delivery service – awesome, wow, well done!  Experienced too many times in the past, transferred the seven wires on the back of the old modem to new, turned on, praying this would be the fix, and rats, the same four green lights not seven with two red dancing broadband lights.   

So, more technical assistance calls, navigating my way past said robots, long on hold waits, patience, then at 6:00 pm that Friday night my call was answered by  “Jen” in the Philippines, more tests for an hour, however it was quite fun talking with her and we laughed a lot, but she said a tech was needed at my house as the signal wasn’t getting through, problem was not the equipment, and scheduled a tech from 12-4 Monday…no TV, no computer through the weekend, frustrating, but sort of nice, got a lot done!.

Nothing to do Saturday (no favorite car shows or PGA golf) except work in the yard for hours, needed and would have to be done anyway.  Curious about which of my columns Stacy chose to run, called longtime friend and columnist, Bonnie Brown who emailed it to me (Vietnam) and from my cell phone posted on Facebook – thanks, Stacy and Bonnie!.

At Noon Saturday, sweating, in yard, phone rang and “Daisy” with AT&T unexpectedly called to see if she could help, appreciated my long service with them and good reputation.  She was very knowledgeable (supervisor?) had me run tests on the modem that I had never done before!  However after an hour – “Stephen, the problem is in your wires – I’ve been sending signals to the modem and they are not getting through.”  Thank you so much for trying, Daisy!”

So, knowing the tech would be here Monday, tackled the task of cutting, chopping, trimming the shrubs that had grown up in front of the AT&T service boxes, and more hours of trying their fixes…no luck.

Home from 12:10 Mass on Monday, tech didn’t show until 4:00 pm – but she hit the ground running, never entered my house, right off appreciated how I had spliced the cable together (11 wee wires) after accidently cutting in two trimming over a year ago, worked, another tech praised me, but said her supervisor would never allow that, and fixed it properly.

She finally tracked problem to a severed cable across the street where a couple just moved out – new moved in immediately, had another cable company install a line and because of inadequate preparation, cut mine, and by 7:00pm, she sniffed it out and fixed!  Following her for those three hours, was so impressed with her 9-years of knowledge and work ethic, you whose name I know but respect your wishes and won’t share here!  Thank you AT&T personnel, much appreciated, job well done, life stuff – fixed!  Understanding this frustrating situation, God rewarded me with a swell uplifting experience.  Amen?


Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at