Bunker Mentality: No Dial Tone Dilemma

In this age of fast-changing technological advances some of us still cling to old technology, not because we like it but because it is affordable.

I do have a cell phone. As regular readers of this column may remember, the Yard Sale Queen and I took the plunge â?? no, not marriage â?? but into the tech-savvy world of smart phones. However, cell phone plans limit data minutes to surf the Net or watch streaming video etc. That brings me to my dilemma.

I use the Internet at home to research information for articles.The Internet is life blood for me.

Last Thursday before 2 p.m., that life blood started slowly trickling away. I was searching for something using Google and every time I clicked on the link the small circle kept spinning and finally the dreaded message â??page not foundâ? popped up on my laptop screen.

I kept clicking. Same result.

I glanced at my task bar and noticed the Internet connection showed a yellow caution sign indicating no Internet. So I waited. Finally, the caution sign went away and I was connected again. But that didnâ??t last long. After more than an hour of back and forth Internet, it was gone.

Naturally, I called Verizon to report the outage. No dial tone. No Internet. No nothing.

It took forever, using my cell phone, to reach a live person. The layers of voicemail were unnerving, asking me to punch in the phone number I was reporting being out.

I loved the recorded voice telling me to go to Verizonâ??s website to report an outage or look at my account.

I wanted to scream into the phone, â??I canâ??t use your website because of the outage.â?

Being the intrepid reporter, I contacted my German-speaking neighbor to see if she had service. She was muttering in German â?? probably expletives â?? that she had no Internet or phone as well.

Finally, I reached a live person after listening to 10 minutes of whatever that noise was they called music.

I told her that I write and need the Internet. I also told her about my neighborâ??s outage â?? we share the same phone pedestal. The understanding Verizon lady wrote up two work orders, and said she would try to expedite the request. However, she gave us Saturday morning times for a technician to visit.

Meanwhile, my editor was text messaging saying she needed the photos I took this week. Um, carrier pigeon or even snail mail might work since my Internet was out.

I called Friday afternoon to check on the status. The pre recorded message said a technician would be there by 9 p.m.

Saturday, I called and spoke with a live person; he admitted there was a â??group outage.â? I asked what that meant, like how many people. He didnâ??t know. At least seven homes in my neighborhood were out.

I could tell Verizon was making progress though when I called for the prerecorded message later in the day. It now said a technician would be there by 9 p.m. Saturday.

About 10:30 p.m. Saturday night I called and spoke with another live person.

â??Mr. Bunker, I can assure you that we are working on the problem,â? she said.

I was thinking to myself that I too believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

Sunday morning about 9 a.m., I still had nothing.

The German-speaking neighbor called my cell phone and said Verizon told her noon Sunday. We both laughed out loud.

One thing on which we both agreed was that Verizon sends bills out on time, but obviously not repair crews. In fact, the most recent bill had a $3 increase, with no explanation.

Service was finally restored early Tuesday.

The business office was more responsive and informative than the repair operation. I was quickly given a credit and a $10 12-month discount.

Wally Bunker is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at wallybunker@outlook.com