Monday, July 30, 2012

goodnight from Phoenix

I had been on the phone with Tim R. for over an hour and a half. I was sitting on my couch, an empty wine glass on the table in front of me, my laptop resting on my, uh, lap.

"Now select everything on the left and drag it into the box on the right."

"Onto the white space or anywhere in the box?"

"Anywhere in the box is great."

We had been going back-and-forth like this, Tim R. walking me through a somewhat complicated series of maneuvers to rectify a "domain-related problem" I was having with one of my websites.

I dragged the files into the box on the right and a notification came up on my screen informing me that the transfer would take about ten minutes.

"It's... uh... going," I said. Though we had been on the phone for some 90 minutes at this point, the "conversation" had been comprised exclusively of troubleshooting and instructions and hold music. I wondered what would happen now. Would he say something like "so, uh, I'm just gonna put you on hold for 10 minutes while we wait..."? Would we both just remain silent on the line? Would we confess dark, deep secrets to one another in this odd, "no consequences" long-distance circumstance?

But Tim R. just started rambling. He asked me if I had heard about a new project Google was working on to create a cell phone battery that could survive for months without needing to be charged. He mentioned a password-keeping app he uses to store all of his passwords (his Facebook password has 64 digits, he told me). He told me about some super high-speed internet connection they're testing in Kansas City (I didn't really follow this last one, but strategically employed some "aah"s and "coool"s).

"You really have a lot of technology factoids," I said. "I guess it probably helps you keep up with, uh, your work."

"Yeah," he said. "It also provides me with things to talk about when I'm on the phone with customers!"

I surprised myself by laughing loudly, authentically, at this.

When we arrived at our next 10 minute wait a bit later, the nature of his soliloquies changed. He told me that he'd recently taught himself how to make websites, and had created about 35. ("Wow, I'm impressed.") He asked me if I'd ever played Counter-Strike. ("Uhhhh, I don't think so," I said. And then I lied, "Maybe once.")

"Pull up Google on your browser," he said, in the way you might nag your best friend in the office. "... Now Google the word 'tilt.'"

"Wow, that's so great," I said, even though I had seen this "trick" a few months ago. "Are there more?"

"Yeah. This one's kind of nerdy though. Google 'recursion.'"

After two hours and 36 minutes, it was time for the call to come to an end.

"What time is it there?" he said. "I can't believe I didn't ask where you were calling from this whole time."

I realized I had offered very little about myself during our marathon phone call. The most "revealing" I had been was probably my assessment that I "love a good acronym," or maybe when I inexplicably offered that the Google Doodles are "very neat."

"It's 1:13 am," I said. "I'm in New York."

"Well, goodnight from Phoenix," he said.

The next day, I had to call the Help Line again. The issue Tim R. had been helping me with had not been resolved.

"Hello, this is Kasey...," a cheery voice announced. "I have to let you know that this call might be recorded for training purposes."