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I got an email from Bell a few weeks ago. I really hate Bell — the corporation not the thing that goes ding-dong. Therefore, I do not appreciate hearing from them. I especially resent those little personalized notes they insist on sending me like we’re old chums. They always start with something like, “Hello, Ann, have we got some exciting offers just for you.” How ridiculous is that? I know and, certainly, they know, they just want more money from me for something I don’t really want and definitely do not need. Just because they control all my forms of communication and my access to HGTV, does not give them the right to be so familiar in our communications. Anyway, I send them a ridiculous amount of money every month for what I already have, which, as far as TV-land goes, isn’t all that much.

I know, I know, I could “change providers” but, really, are any of the other ones any better? My friends who don’t hang out with Ma Bell have the same complaints. And, anyway — I heard this on the subway one day so it has to be true — Bell controls all the wires or waves or whatever they use to bring internet into my home so I still wouldn’t be free of them. And, to be honest, when I think of changing I go into a kind of malaise just thinking about having to re-adjust to everything all over again. I mean, I still have my land-line, which sort of says it all, eh?

This latest missive from them had a serious sounding, “Action Required!” in the subject line. Hmmm — I thought I should read further. In the text, they cheerily reminded me of an email I probably deleted earlier which evidently brought me, “the good news that our Bell email service will soon be upgraded to bring you an even better experience.” I especially liked that inclusive “our.” As far as I could remember, and I admit I am becoming more forgetful and I do delete their emails, no one asked me if I wanted to be upgraded or even if I wanted a “better experience.” One thing I was sure of, this would most likely result in an increase in my internet costs in the not-too-distant future. Be that as it may, I decided I should probably do what they were telling me I had to do or else take the chance I would lose my connection to the outside world — or worse.

I clicked on the Blue-for-Bell “Act Now” button. They promised me this would be easy-smeasy. However, they obviously, even though we’re on first-name basis, had no idea of my basic and definitely not thorough understanding of my little silver laptop. So when I got to Step 2.1, and they instructed me to go into “Settings” and change something, I gave up and decided I would try again another time. A few days later, my email connection was gone. Was I being punished for my delinquency? Was an old comrade like me — I had been with Bell for over 20 years  — not even given the courtesy of a “Shame on You! You didn’t do what we asked so you’re out. Bye Bye.” There was nothing to do but take the dreaded step and call Bell Customer Service. (Bell was recently rated as providing the worst customer service experience of any of the internet providers. Tra-la) I waited and waited and waited and waited and finally, a friendly and English-speaking technician answered. He assured me that this had nothing to do with my errant ways but, rather, it was all their fault. But, he said I would still have to do what they asked me to do. I told him I deleted the email — he sent me another copy.
I took the lazy, well, ok, chicken, way out and asked a friend to come over and do it for me. I probably should have watched what he was doing but I didn’t. I was modesty pleased that it turned out not to be as easy as the”1-2-3″ that Bell had promised. He tested it before he left just to make sure that email went out and came back home. No problem. I was happy. Ma Bell would be proud of me. An hour later, when I went to check email, there were those ominous “!s” warning me that “a secure connection to the server could not to be made.” Alas, now I have to start all over again with the Bell folks or, is it the Apple folks or, heaven forbid, do I have to talk to both of them? There goes my Monday morning.

As a backdrop to this ridiculousness, it snowed today. May 15th and it snowed.