• Image about Shahin Takes Off 10-01-2006

I ENDED UP out here on the very frontier of home computing, which is to say desperate and alone, not because I am advanced in technology (I am actually in the remedial technology class) but because of something I like to call the service economy.

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon. Outside my window, birds chirped, children laughed, and motorists even stopped for pedestrians.

I was on my computer, trying to get online using my Internet service provider, or no good, lousy, stinkin' ISP, for short.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get online, I dialed tech support and got the moat around the castle known as the Phone Menu.

"Are you currently a member?" asks the cheerful female Phone Menu android on the other end.

"Yes."

"Great. Let's look up your account. Please provide your phone number, area code first."

I do.

"I think you said -" the android begins and then states a number. "Is that correct?"

"No."

I think I see a cloud forming in the sky and hear a baby crying in the distance. "I'm sorry, please say your phone number or press your phone keys again," she says.

I slice my way through the jungle of menu options until, finally, I end up at my destination: tech support.

I explain that I have been having repeated problems getting online using the service, although I can get online using my browser. The person on the other end, a male, presumably real, sounds confused.

I, too, am confused. The ISP I have used for years touts itself in its television commercials as offering great service. It is the only thing left it can tout. Every other ISP out there offers either cheaper prices or more advantages.