The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On the road again, V

We left J's house around 2:00 am and I immediately fell asleep in the car (fortunately, I was not the one driving). Some time later I awoke to find ourselves at a hotel, some no name hotel Smirk found along I-95 somewhere in South Carolina. He was hungry, and right next to the hotel was a Huddle House, which is a chain of diners through this part of the country. I wasn't all that hungry, but I did join Smirk and had some shrimp and a salad.

Shortly thereafter we were both asleep.

The hotel we stayed at was much nicer than the Howard Johnson we stayed in. No epileptic light fixtures. Working A/C (if it did appear to be a bit on the small side). We didn't check for wireless access, but since neither one of us were in a state to really care, we let that slide.

Our wake-up call was at 10:30 am.

And I woke up sick.

I felt horrible, and wanted nothing more than to climb back into bed and sleep (well, that's what I feel like doing every morning, but this morning I had a pounding headache and was feeling quite nauseated).

And at 10:40 am, we got a call from P (who was still holding down The Office in Boca Raton)—we had a customer T1 down. Worse, the backup circuit, a wireless shot between them and us, was also down. Needless to say, the trip back wasn't all that great.

I was on the phone with the Monopolistic Phome Company for maybe four hours, trying to get the T1 back up and running. The initial conversation went like this:

“Hello, the Monopolistic Phone Company Business Repair Unit. Can we have the circuit ID of the connection?”

“Yes, it's eight zero Whiskey Tango Foxtrot niner niner two four zero sixer. It's currently down and we need it back up.”

“Are you sure that's the circuit ID? I'm not finding it in our database.”

“I'm sure, but I'll double check.”

I call P. I have him read off the circuit ID from The Monopolistic Phone Company box on the wall, as well as the tag attached to said line, plus the number recorded in our database: eight zero Whiskey Tango Foxtrot niner niner two four zero sixer. Smirk calls the customer and has them read off the circuit ID off the invoice: eight zero Whiskey Tango Foxtrot niner niner two four zero sixer. So I call back.

“Hello, the Monopolistic Phone Company Business Repair Unit. Can we have the circuit ID of the connection?”

“Yes, it's eight zero Whiskey Tango Foxtrot niner niner two four zero sixer. It's currently down and we need it back up.”

“Are you sure that's the circuit ID? I'm not finding it in our database.”

“Yes, I'm sure. It's written on the box from you, on the tag from you, in our database, and on the invoice sent to our customer.”

“That's wierd,” said The Monopolistic Phone Company Represenative (and that would be the first of many said Monopolistic Phone Company Represenatives that said that very thing). “Let me transfer you over to billing to double check.”

“Billing. How can I help you?”

“Do you have circuit ID eight zero Whiskey Tango Foxtrot niner niner two four zero sixer?”

“Yes we do.”

“Okay, thanks. Can you transfer me back to Technical—hello? Hello?”

I never did talk to the same Monopolistic Phone Company Represenative twice, but towards the end my conversations with them would start:

“Yes, I can give you the circuit ID, but let me preface this with the fact that you will be unable to find said circuit ID in your database. Yes, I am sure that the circuit ID I am about to read to you is indeed the correct one, since it's on the box, on the tag, in our database, and according to your billing department, that indeed, is the circuit ID. It's eight zero Whiskey Tango Foxtrot niner niner two four zero sixer.”

“That's wierd, I can't find it in our database.”

Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

About an hour later, my conversations started with: “You guys can't find the circuit ID. I want to talk to your manager. Now.”

“But he's in a meeting right—”

“I don't care. Get him! Now! On the phone!”

“Can he call you—”

“Look, I've been on the phone with you guys for over three hours now. You lost or otherwise misplaced a circuit ID within your database. We have our customer screaming at us to get the T-1 up and running, and now, I'm screaming at you. Get. Your. Manager. On. This. Phone. Right. Now!”

“But sir—”

“Do. You. Want. Me. To. Continue. With. This. William. Shatner. Impersonation?”

“But sir—”

“Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!”

All of this with a screaming headache and wanting to throw up at any second.

Meanwhile, Smirk was trying to get a hold of our wireless guy, and when both our cell phones weren't dying on us, we did manage to our wireless guy out to the site and the wireless connection going. And with G's help (he's our Cisco consultant and knows which people to talk to at The Monopolistic Phone Company) we got some techs to look at the down T-1 line.

Like I said, it wasn't a good day at The Office, even if The Office was screaming down I-95 at 105mph.

[As it turns out, we were giving The Monopolistic Phone Company the wrong circuit ID. Incredible that P mixed two different circuit IDs and have it match the one off the invoice and have the Billing Department verify it is just too much. Sigh.]

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