So, there I am, holding the phone, listening to the sound of whales mating as hold music and, every couple of minutes, hearing a recorded message play about How Very Important I Am, and How They Will Serve Me Soon, Please Continue to Listen to Whales Fucking. It's ever so exciting.
Then, click, a real live flesh voice says, "Hello."
"Yeah, hi, how are you?" I say, because my childhood was painful, and my parents beat politeness into me, especially when you wanted your email fixed. They pull out their long piece of bamboo that my father chopped himself from some violent bamboo tree in the middle of China, and they'd bring it down in my back, whistling through the air until that wet, pounded meat sound. Then they would say, "Remember, be polite to the help desk of your ISP, Ben."
"What's an ISP?" I'd whimper, but they'd just beat me more, until there was nothing left but red bits of bone.
My parents, sadistic and uncompromising, were fucking visionaries.
So, I said, "How are you?"
"Yeah, well, I have a problem with my email."
You might note that that yes is not a question. It's a statement, made by a faint voice on the other end of the phone, a voice that, clearly, knows there is some-fucking-thing wrong with my email, knows, even, the answer, possibly because this is his bloody job, but who has decided that I do not need to be hearing it any time soon. It is enough, for this brave help desk operator, to simply say, "Yes," so that I may know that this pillar of fucking intelligence and competence knows all about my problem and is about to solve it.
The Batman of the Help Desk.
I don't care. I push on. "Don't suppose you know what's wrong, do you?"
Well, at least it wasn't yes. Still, I can't help but feel as if, I dunno, I'm being fucked with by this Batman of the Help Desk. Can't help but feel as if he's going to swing on through my window with his tiny, plastic name badge, and say, "You've been using your ISP to illegally download and sell pornography and drugs to minors, while funding a revolution in Paraguay."
Fuck, I think in a moment of desperation, he's found me out!
Then, of course, sanity returns and I realise that I'm talking to a fucking guy on a help desk, and that my revolution that is funded through drugs and pornography have safely been laundered through shady off shore accounts that are utterly safe from the hands of even the towering intellect of this help desk person.
I say, "And perhaps you could tell me what's wrong?"
"There is something wrong, yes."
Okay. Whatever. Just go for the important bit: "When will it be fixed, you reckon?"
"The engineers are handling it, and they are not connected with this department, so I don't know."
I had this flash of dirty, burly men building bridges and driving coal powered trains over the wooden bridges as he spoke. Engineers, I thought. Well. Fuck, why not. I say, "So you don't know anything."
"Yes, I do."
"But you don't know when it'll be fixed?"
"Thanks, you've been no help."
Cue the sound of me hanging up.