Did you all have a lovely Thanksgiving? All of you who are Americans, I mean. Those of you who are not, I hope your Thursday was lovely. I did my part by watching football and eating too much. What? You did, too? That’s crazy! There was a unique wrinkle to yesterday’s festivities: Not one but two of my in-laws announced their engagements to the family. So congratulations to Caryn and James, and to Bev and Don.

And now, the continuing saga of my ongoing battle of wits with Comcast…

So, I had an appointment for a technician to come out Tuesday morning, between eight and ten. I received a phone call the night before, confirming the appointment. I received a second phone call early Tuesday morning, again confirming the appointment. This second phone call is significant, because it came to our home phone. We have Vonage, which means that to receive a phone call we must have a working Internet connection. After hanging up I jumped on the computer and found that our connection had indeed restored itself once again. But I was determined to follow my instructions to the letter, so I made no attempt to contact Comcast to cancel my appointment.

Around 8:30 I received a third phone call that not only re-confirmed the appointment but clarified that the technician would arrive at my home between 8:40 and 9:40. I sat on the couch and watched television, since that gave me a view of the street and I would know when the van arrived. I flipped channels until 10:30, when I finally decided to call Comcast and find out when the tech was planning on showing up. The friendly operator (they are all friendly) informed me that the tech had, just moments earlier, completed the assignment before mine, and he should be arriving literally any moment. I waited at the window with baited breath.

I called again a little after one o’clock. After once again navigating my way through the ridiculous Comcast phone tree I reached yet another friendly representative. I told this nice lady my whole story, and at the end she told me that she worked with the cable television section, and she would need to transfer me to the Internet section. After being rerouted I had to tell my story again, because the previous person did not bother to inform this new person why she was transferring me in the first place. This new person then informed me that my appointment was…

Wait for it…


By whom? I wondered aloud. By the technician himself, I was told. Why would he do such a thing? Oddly enough, that piece of information was not included in the notes my new friend had in front of her. She said that was unusual; normally when a technician cancels an appointment he makes a note explaining why. There was no explanation this time. I explained that I had already taken valuable time off work to deal with this problem, and I wanted to know if a new appointment could be made for that day. The operator could not do that herself, she said, but she could have the local dispatcher contact me and set something up. As an added bonus this mysterious local dispatcher would also be able to shed some light on why my appointment had been canceled in the first place. I could expect this phone call, I was told, in the next half hour to forty-five minutes.

An hour and a half later, the phone rings. Did I squeal with joy? Perhaps. With trembling hand I answered the phone. I placed the receiver to my ear and heard the dulcet tones of… another recording. My appointment, it told me, was scheduled for some time between one o’clock and five o’clock. Keep in mind, it was now 2:30. Specifically, I could expect the tech to arrive between 3:30 and 4:30. Yippee.

Mandy got home around six. I was, by this point, a bit cranky. I think I scared her a little. We sat on the couch and griped about our respective days until around seven o’clock, when the door buzzer interrupted us.

“No fucking way,” I said.

“It’s them,” Mandy said, looking out the window.


“There’s a Comcast truck right outside,” she said.

I opened the door and told the very nice technician that I had been expecting him at ten o’clock that morning. I smiled when I said it. It wasn’t his fault. He looked perplexed and checked the work order, which informed him that my appointment was supposed to take place between six and eight PM. It wasn’t worth arguing. He was here now, so I explained what the problem was. He poked around, found the cause, and fixed it. In theory, that should be the end of the story. We shall see.

As an interesting footnote, however, I learned that the cause of the problem had to do with fact that our downstairs neighbor’s cable connection was hooked up to ours with a splitter, rather than having a separate line. The splitter itself was inadequate to handle the load, which caused our connection to crap out the way it did. But here’s what’s funny: If we ever cancel our Comcast account, our neighbor will lose her cable as well because it would be plugged into an inactive line. Mandy and I are thinking we may want to write our neighbor a friendly note explaining why she might want to have Comcast fix the situation now, before it becomes a real issue later.