Thursday, March 29, 2007

With Apologies to the Time Warner Cable Guy

This is one of those "interesting to no one but me" stories, which should probably be a new category, but I thought it might help to get it out. I don't post stories about repatriation very often because I think they're hard to relate to, and they sound kind of pretentious, but it's really just me being a little lonely and desperate. And what's more attractive than lonely and desperate?

So, god, I had a whacked-out run in with the cable guy this morning. I have Internet service and television through TWC. I've been using up too many minutes on my cell phone and one of my friends in DC who I talk with the most just went "out of network" or something, so I decided to get a real phone for my house. And apparently long distance is free now. I also love Bill Maher, so even though I've watched about two hours of television since moving here in December, I decided to order HBO. So I called TWC last week and the guy came out this morning.

He arrived at 9:00 and things got complicated fast. I learned that my 120 year old rental only has one phone jack. And he had to drill holes in the walls to put a wire from my computer to the phone jack. (Why connect the computer and the phone? Who knows.) And it would be easier if I got a certain kind of phone that doesn't need a jack. What kind of phone is that? I don't know. Then I realize I don't have an American phone, I only have my Japanese phone. Will it work here? We don't know. Somewhere along the way while he was answering one of my questions, I drifted off and started thinking: Time Warner Cable? Cable means television. Why am I asking for phone service from the television guy? Is he trying to scam me or what?

It gets worse. I asked more questions and didn't understand the answers, and he clearly started to get freaked out with my ignorance and suspicion. And then I started to get upset . . . yes, I teared up. I didn't CRY, I just got a little weepy. It's just so isolating when I come up against something I don't understand because of being out of the country. It's more confusing than it sounds. Almost four years is a long time, and although technology in the US is still behind Japan, it's much different than it was when I left in 2002. He ended up installing a new modem, I don't know why, and I do have HBO, but I don't understand it. Turns out there is no schedule of shows; I just turn it on and all the shows are running all the time. I just pick which show I want and - *poof* - it's magically starting right then. Luck, I guess.

So long story longer, the old phone works, and I even called myself just to hear the sweet kawaii Japanese ring, which was delicious in its familiarity. I was surprised to hear my own voice when the message came on, and what's more, I was saying my old Japanese phone number, 52-5195. Sometimes it's SO WEIRD to me that I lived in Japan. I can't believe it happened. And after all of that I wanted to put an audio clip up on the blog of my Japanese phone ring, but I decided that would really be under that new category.

After that mess I calmed myself down and went to my sister's to take care of her pooch. But with all of that still on my mind, when I pulled out of my driveway . . . I think you know what happened. Wrong side of the road again.


  1. I didn't realize being in a different culture that long can have that much of an impact on someone. But then again, 4 years IS a long time.

    You'll get the hang of it ;-)

  2. That is just crazy. I hate dealing with any kind of that crap I let Patrick deal with most of that stuff. But it sounds to me that you got HBO on demand and not HBO ??? Maybe...WE have TWC here on Maui too. But I have no premium channels. Anyway just stick with it kiddo you'll get back in the groove in no time especialy with the new job and all.

  3. I definitely think you should get them to explain nicely exactly what you got. Or you'll get some whopping bill.

    And! I really *do * want to hear the Japanese phone sound! I DO would want to play it. So don't think that's weird, it's a great story you have to tell. I want to hear it!

  4. I wanna hear the Japanese phone ring too!!! Please.please.please?

  5. I want to hear the ring too! I can identify a little with what you're experiencing: I lived in Ireland for only a few months, but when I came back I felt thrown off, I saw my homeland kind of differently, and although I was glad to be back to familiarity (not to mention it being slightly easier to earn money here) I have never stopped missing Ireland.
    I haven't read this book yet, but I bet there's a lot in it you'll identify with: I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson, which is about him returning to live in the States after 20-some years living in England. I know: England, Ireland, not nearly as different from America as Japan, but still.
    Long story longer, this entry also reminded me of an old Panasonic answering machine I had that I rediscovered years after I'd last used it, and all the old messages on the tape and my own outgoing mesages were so eerie. [ghost voice:] Voices from the paaaaassstt....

  6. Just watched Bill Maher last night - LOVE him!

  7. for whatever it's worth, i've never lived in a different country long term, but there's still a lot I don't get about certain technology. heck, i've never had cable in my life :)

  8. If you feel lost now, just imagine how much worse it will be when we're in our eighties.

    That's why I'm thinking Kacyznski-style cabin, myself...

  9. i think it is so wonderful that you got to live somewhere else. i love this country, but having the experience of elsewhere would be a great modifier, i think.

    And then I started to get upset . . . yes, I teared up. I didn't CRY, I just got a little weepy. It's just so isolating when I come up against something I don't understand because of being out of the country. . . . i understand the sentiment, though not for the fact of having lived in japan. life just gets frustrating and overwhelming at times. hugz.