I was all set to enjoy a pleasant evening of blogging last night. One of my favorite old black-and-white movies, 1935’s “G Men,” with James Cagney and Margaret Lindsay, was playing on Turner Classic Movies. With my laptop set up in front of the TV, I could half pay attention to the movie (old favorites are comfortable background noise) while composing posts to thrill and astound my readers. But at 7:58 p.m., two minutes before the movie’s start — Zap! Comcast Cable went out. “This channel should be available shortly,” the message said — on every channel.
Oh, well. It wouldn’t be quite as much fun, but I could blog while listening to some albums or the radio. Except for the fact that I discovered my Comcast high-speed Internet wasn’t working, either. And I was in complete ignorance — no TV news guy to tell me what was wrong with the Internet, no Internet bulletin to tell me what was wrong with the TV, and nothing from Comcast’s customer service line except a busy signal. I called a friend to see if she could get online and find out what was going on (thank God I still have Verizon phone service), but there was nothing. Finally, after a couple of hours, they were both back on. By then, though, I was ready for bed and not in the mood.
What happened? Here’s the unhelpful story from WANE-TV:
The worker says sometime after 7:30 p.m., the fire alarm went off causing a fire suppression system to kick in. As part of the system, some type of gas was emitted that forced workers to evacuate the building.
Fire alarm? Gas emission? Building evacuation? What pitiful excuses for ruining my evening. Two things:
1. We have the most sophisticated system of communications the world has ever known; anybody can reach anybody else with any message, at any time, in any place, under any set of circumstances.
2. I pay Comcast an obscene amount of money each month.
So, the next time, I want something a little more specific and encouraging than “One moment please, this channel should be available shortly” on every cable station and something better than “This site is currently not available” on every Internet address. I want something like: “We know this is inconvenient and upsetting, Mr. Morris. Our service should return in about two hours. We know you had your heart set on ‘G Men,’ so we will be repeating that from 8 to 9:30 p.m. every night for a week on Cable Channel 400, just for you. And we are sending by mail a check in the amount of quadruple the pro-rated cost for the time you will have been out of service. Half the staff here has already been fired over this regrettable interruption and, rest assured, more heads will roll. If there is anything else we can do, please let us know. Oh, and a piping hot pizza should be at your door any minute now.”
Is that too much to ask?