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Entries in internet (2)

Tuesday
Aug152017

Strange Connections

I connected with a total stranger on the other side of the world – and then he broke it off with me.   Whatever ‘it’ means.  And yes, I know this all sounds a little weird.  It is.  But that's what meeting people online is like. Trust me, I was on eHam for years.  

We ‘met’ through a poetry community on Instagram.  It’s a space where writers share their work, support each other and give advice.  It’s a great forum and full of interesting people.  Everyone has a different story with individual writing styles. Some writers are really popular and a few starting out.  I’m somewhere in between. 

DG writes angst filled poems about pain, death and sometimes, sex and drugs.  His posts are dark and he talks about poppies (heroin), evil fairies and wanting to die.  Fun stuff, eh?  I was drawn to his work because, although some of it is pretty macabre, there’s also a sense of sadness in what he writes.  He sounds tormented but his poetry can also be quite beautiful.

At some point he wrote that it was his birthday in April and how good Aries people are.  I commented with “Yes, We Are!” and he private messaged me to ask when my birthday was and what was I doing to celebrate.   We chatted (online) about music, parties and cake. He said he has decided to eat cake every day if he wants to.  Because life is short. 

I told him I’d noticed his poetry was quite sad and thought he was grieving someone or something as he often wrote about nightmares and demons and losing the love of his life.  He confirmed that his fiancée had been killed in a car accident two days before their wedding day and he was still struggling with it.  Well fair enough, that would be hard.  No wonder he wrote the way he did. 

He then went on to tell me that he didn’t have long to live.  He had three massive brain tumours.  Stage 3, grade 4 brain tumours.

Whoah.

I don’t know this guy.  He lives a million miles away.  Maybe that’s what made me ask.   “Are you angry at the world?”

He went on to tell me it was the exact opposite.  That when you don’t have much time left you appreciate it more. 

We chatted a little more and he said he needed to catch a flight to LA but that he’d enjoyed talking with me and would write again.  He was heading to the hospital for a treatment and would be offline for a few days. 

I burst into tears.  I sobbed.  I’m not sure why. It might have been that I understood how debilitating grief could be.  The thought that he was going to die soon.  The harsh reality that sometimes life sucks and slaps you in the face with more bad shit than you can imagine.  He got under my skin and I couldn’t stop thinking about this total stranger on the other side of the world. 

I continued to follow his page, commenting on the pieces I liked or could relate to (not that I have a brain tumour or dead fiancé).  He responded most times.

One of his poems had a country song feel to it.  It was rhythmic, rhyming and rolled along like a song.  I remarked that it sounded a little John Cougar Mellencamp to me.

Suddenly he private messaged me.  The first time in weeks.

Were you trying to say I copied some poem from John Cougar Mellencamp.

First of all I’m not that old.

And secondly I don’t copy anything from anybody.

Before I had the chance to write back and tell him I was only joking and that I thought the imagery was similar and I really liked the piece, bang, he had blocked me.    

WTF?

I’ve never been blocked on social media before.  It’s weird. You try logging into different accounts to see what’s going on like a person knocking on the door trying to get back into your house.   Yes, he’d blocked me.  Yes, I was annoyed.  Yes, I laughed. 

Now I follow him on my personal account.   He’s still writing the same dark, pain ridden poetry and has more followers than ever.  He talks a lot about dying and I wonder how long he has left.  I’ve thought about sending him a DM to say how hilarious it is that he blocked me because of a comment about an aging country / rock star, but really what’s the point.  Little Pink Houses and Hurt So Good are lyrical benchmarks so who am I to coach him on John Cougar Mellencamp’s legendary status?

Sunday
Apr302017

Patience is a virtue (until your internet dies)

 

I haven't had any internet at home for weeks.  Long boring weeks where I pretty much put my life on hold. 

It died overnight. Sort of.  A slow and painful death which started when my modem reset itself so I had no internet at all.  After an interactive and encouraging conversation where I was guided by a great chick at Optus, we reconnected it and I was high fiving myself for being so tech savvy.  Good on me.

Four weeks later and my self confidence took a dive as my internet went flacid.  My phone and laptop were telling me it was okay, but the connection was soft.  Nothing was happening.  I tried everything I could within my limited IT capacity (turn it off and on at the wall) with no luck.

In the middle of a crazy two weeks at work – a time when a night of Netflix on the couch would have done me wonders – I finally found some time to call my buddies on the Optus Tan Helpline.

The first girl talked to me for 25 minutes, putting me on hold on and off, while she tested my line.  I ran up and down my staircase disconnecting and moving phone lines to see where the fault was.   After 3,560 steps she told me that my line didn’t have enough power to be able to run the internet properly and I’d have to get it checked out by a technician.  I could order my own or pay one of theirs for $150.  I opted to hit up my own tech and thanked her for her advice.

A quick chat to our head of computers and important stuff in our office, and we decided that this woman was a little confused and I should save my $150.

I hit up my buddies again on the Helpline.  This time a chatty guy talked me through several tests.  It was all the ones I’d done weeks earlier but he was thorough and at the end of the session (hello 28 minutes) he suggested I borrow a modem from a friend or neighbour to double check that mine was in fact, not working.

I don’t really talk to my neighbours except on our way back from the recycling bin …. and surprisingly none of my friends had a spare modem lying around.

Three days later and I was climbing the walls without internet.   I had used up all the data on my phone by sending work emails.  I couldn’t exercise as Booya is web based.  Netflix sat idle. There was little Facebook time and hours spent scrolling through social media had to be limited.  It was like living in prison.  

One night after a super long day in the office I sat down to unwind, forgetting how bad free to air TV can be – and that I had no Netflix.  Frustration filled me and I dialed the all too familiar number of my so called buddies at the Help Desk.  It was time to finally get this shit sorted.

My final partner in crime was a sweet guy called Pratik.  He joked that most people called him Patrick as they weren’t sure how to pronounce his name. I scribbled it down so I wouldn’t make the same mistake.

Back and forth we went, testing various parts of my laptop and phone connections, along with the modem.  “Pretty sure I need a new one” I told him.  The testing continued.

I learned about Pinging – not the dance party drug type – along with other processes to check why nothing was working.  We chatted in between all the testing. He was polite and funny and apologized every time he had to put me on hold.  Finally after 42 minutes, he conceded defeat and we agreed that I’d order a new modem.  Told you that 45 minutes ago Pratik. Hallelujah. 

My shiny new modem arrived today.  It’s much bigger than the last one and flashes at me like a blackbox flight recorder.  To my surprise (and thanks to Optus’ super basic instructions) I was able to connect the internet within 20 minutes with little fuss.   Good on me. 

Now I’m back in the real world.   You might not hear from me for a while.  I have a lot of catch up TV to watch.