Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Calming Walk In A Raging Blizzard

I pay $90 a month for crappy satellite internet service that as a poor peasant gardener I can't really afford. Being stuck inside in a blizzard seemed like a good time to finally get around to downgrading my service plan to the cheaper, equally crappy internet service that I had lived with just fine for many years next door. I have no cell phone. I don't have TV.  I must embrace my poverty further and find more ways to cut my spending.

Three hours later after wandering blindly, online and by phone through a bureaucratic tangle that would make the Pentagon blush and being helped by three different people, I emerged defeated in my simple request. The byzantine labyrinth that is customer service is simply unexplainable without exhaustive contortions of the mind. The system is setup to collect your money. It is not setup to actually assist a customer. The absence of logic and coordination between the departments in the system could well be on purpose to achieve that main goal.

After that trauma, a walk through a blizzard, the raging elements of the real world, would help clear my head. And I needed to check on the progress of the house next door as it is being awakened from its winter slumber.

When conditions on the scenic byway deteriorate it is a sure sign that the blizzard is wide spread and not confined to the higher elevations along the Tennessee border. What you can't see in the picture is the wind.

It was blowing so much, the snow wasn't settling equally. There were thin places and deep drifts. These poor crocus blooms have been left exposed to the bitter winds.

The Blue Pot Art Project still stands. Behind it on the bottom left, out in the forest is the top of a cherry tree that snapped and is caught up in the neighboring trees.

The driveway next door sits at the base of a slope. It collects drifts. Most of my driveway sits on a ridge. It loses snow in raging winds.

It was easier to walk through a blizzard on the semi-plowed scenic byway than through the undulating drifts formed around trees in the forest. I needed to clear my head, not freeze to death.

Every little obstacle to the wind formed its own pattern of where the snow came to rest around it.

There are logic and patterns to be found in the raging winds of a blizzard. More than can be said for customer service. When I'm rested, I will try again.


Dianne said...

I share your pain with Hughes Net, but I live with it as it is the best I can get here. We got about 4 inches of snow. Probably half of it was blown by the wind up your way. I am tired of snow. I live in the South. I want sunshine. Maybe tomorrow and I can see the daffodils again.

Sallysmom said...

Isn't there supposed to be high speed internet access for low income people who live in the "country?"

Christopher C. NC said...

Dianne I'm on board with you now. Enough with the snow and rain. I need sunshine.

Sallysmom I have no idea where you would get such an idea. The reality is exactly the opposite. There is no high speed internet in most rural areas of this entire country for rich or poor. No amount of deregulation will fix that. There isn't enough profit so they won't build it. Some existing internet lines in WNC are even being abandoned by the big companies. I almost took a picture of the phone line today where it comes up out of the ground. It is the perfect example of service by communication companies in rural areas. Three times in the last two years I have had to call because the static on the line was so bad the phone was useless. The line is damaged and they won't replace it. Where it comes out of the ground is one place where it is all spliced back together. That is wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag and left flapping in the wind. The grey conduit pipe for protection just hangs there by a thread unused. The phone got bad after a big rain last time.

Dianne said...

Sallysmom---don't believe it. Only 33% of the population of my county have internet. Those of us that live any distance from town have very poor choices with Hughes Net being the best I have found so far, and that is not saying a lot. We can't even get our cellular phones to work here in the mountains. Our service shows up about 10 miles toward town. As you can bet, our poverty level is very high as well.

Lola said...

That is some weird windy storm. I know things are somewhat slow in the mtns. but that is ridiculous. I do hope things will get better & you can resolve your problem. And I thought my server was slow.
Stay warm my friend.
Loved the chimney pic. Thanks,

Sallysmom said...

I read an article a couple of years ago that said the internet was supposed to be in the works. Hum, I guess they didn't mean any time soon, huh?

Cheryl K. said...

I don't know about Hughes, but when we had a problem with our satellite TV service and wound up in what sounds like a similar round of long conversations with nice people with no ability to help (it was a similar issue with trying to change service levels I think,) we asked for the address of the CEO or President of the company - don't remember which. (Why is my memory so poor?) The nice people who couldn't help us had no idea what that address would be. We found an email address on the company's website and sent our complaint to the email address with little expectation of resolution. The next day, someone from that lofty-person's office called, very apologetic, and promised the issue would be properly attended to. And it was. I wish I could remember more of the details - I do know the email we sent was not long-winded or whining, we just laid out the simple facts in plain English using as few words as possible.

Christopher C. NC said...

Sallysmom according to the AT+T linemen who I have asked specifically on the numerous times they have been here, when is high speed internet coming? The answer is never. Not going to happen. The AT+T sales department however believes that high speed is here and they keep trying to sign me up.

Cheryl I need to give my new approach some thought. Going to a higher up may be necessary. I kind of gleaned that the service I want is no longer offered. They are rolling out a new generation of satellite service so I tried to sign up for that, but I get screwed unless I wait two months for my 2 year contract to expire. Online it says yes the new service is in my area and no the new service is not available to me.

RMcD said...

Will be looking for an internet connection out towards Lake Logan soon. Have you heard of either of these: MAIN - Mountain Area Information Network and Vistanet

Also, Tracfone has a decent CDMA phone that works off Verizon towers with good reception in remote areas of Haywood County.

Christopher C. NC said...

Hi RMcD. What I know of MAIN is they have a very limited network in and close to Asheville. So I don't know if they reach down to Lake Lure. Never heard of Vistanet.

Verizon has better cell reception where I live than AT+T. Both have been improving over the last five years. Reception isn't really a problem. I don't want to pay for a cell phone or be attached to one. It's like, don't call me period unless its important or urgent and don't expect me to be calling you. My old school land line and answering machine works just fine most of the time. I'll call you back later. If that's not soon enough. Tough.

RMcD said...

Am at Lake Logan area, below Bethel not Lake Lure. Smoky Mountain Times wrote about Vistanet in their Feb. 27 edition, "Wireless internet beamed into rural areas solves high-speed service conundrum."