Hello World

Hello, hello? Is the mic on? Is this thing on. TAP TAP. Hello? Test, test, test. Oh, there you are!

Well, it seems I have been reconnected with the world once again, courtesy of Comcast, one of the most incompetent and customer-hostile companies in the United States. But having survived them (for now) – I have successfully moved to Washington, DC!

First off, for those of you who may have read a recent post on my previous household moves with my cats, I am happy to report all felines are in working order and adjusted in a record four days! Not that there weren’t several pathetic episodes of extremely neurotic behavior, but that’s quickly behind us.

My CPU’s survived the trip- what a sweet sound, plugging in those babies and hearing the whir of the fan and the purr of the spinning hard drive.

The President, the Snowstorm and the Arena

And how perfect that I got an immediate, representative dose of all that is cool and ridiculous about our nation’s capital all in the same day. I moved in Saturday- in a crippling Washington snow storm! The meanest four inches of snow I have ever experienced. Plows, what plows? I actually drove around a lot that day, including a heroic trip to DC’s only Home Depot on Rhode Island Avenue. I saw ONE plow that afternoon in the District.

As for the cool part- I now live right next to the Verizon Center, home of the best hockey team in the nation (the Caps are on a 10-game win streak) and the place that has also been home to the Washington Wizard’s Gilbert Arenas and some of the most sophisticated weaponry to ever grace an NBA locker room.

And our neighborhood got a little surprise visit during the great blizzard. The tip-off; about 300 police cars blocking off 6th street, including the alley me and my movers were using to off-load the furniture and boxes. Could it be? Yes- the Leader of the Free World had come to my friendly neighborhood arena to watch a Georgetown basketball game. Barack and Michelle Obama, one of the two kids, Vice President Biden and David Axelrod all made a snowy jaunt to watch some hoop action.

I had forgotten all about the security when the American President travels in this town. I was reminded immediately as I tried to take a forbidden right turn onto G Street. Directly from that creepy speaker system all cop cars have, came the voice of one of DC’s finest: “White mini-van, DO NOT turn right, I repeat do not turn right.” Very well then! Not wanting to spend my first night behind prison bars, I dutifully complied.

Yuppies-Everywhere

The Verizon Center has really livened up this part of town- Chinatown/Gallery Place. It’s terribly hip. I don’t think I have ever seen such a dense concentration of rich, white yuppies. My apartment building is crawling with them; the parentally subsidized sons and daughters of privilege-turned young professionals, pulling in a fat 50K working for some Congressman or Senator.

In an elevator with one of them, I got that look I’ve received a few times in my life- the one that indicates deep concern that I may have just lowered the neighborhood’s property values. Can’t say I blame the little yuppie dick-head. I was decked out in moving clothes- my U.S. Open Beth Page baseball cap, cheap reading glasses, a crappy sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers and covered in a long winter coat- the Latino version of Aqualung. So I shot back an equally dirty look and privately vowed to put on a nicer shirt the next day.

The Cable Company

As for Comcast. My cable technician did not arrive in the scheduled three-hour window. But he did have the courtesy of calling me nine minutes before the end of said window. Did I mind wasting three hours of my life, anxiously awaiting reconnection to the digital age? Damn right I did. He couldn’t come, he said, because of the big blizzard. Something about how he nearly died in a car accident in the last great snow-fall around New Year’s Eve.

I calmly indicated I thought he was a snow-wimp, and that since it had been blizzarding ALL day long, maybe a phone call a little earlier in the cable window might have been in order. I called to complain too. The Comcast “customer services” representative- the one whose conversation with me might be recorded for training purposes- hung up on me. I hope her supervisor listens closely to the tape.

“Thank you for choosing Comcast, how can I help you this evening?”

“Yeah, well, I’m calling to complain that I wasted three hours of my life waiting for a service technician who called me nine minutes before the end of the window to tell me he was too scared to drive here in the snow.”

Click.

A Comcast technician did arrive the next morning; a nice Jamaican fellow who used to live in Brooklyn. I love you D.C., but it took a New Yorker brave enough to drive through hardened slush, to get me reconnected to the World Wide Web.

It’s going to be an adjustment process- but I’ll get there. Gotta get back to dealing with the invasion of the cardboard boxes now.

  1. Melissa Mendoza
    February 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Hello!

    I would like to apologize for the poor experience we created for you and would definitely like to review the call you made to report the no show technician. Please email our team at the address below. We will see your concerns are addressed.

    Kind Regards,
    Melissa Mendoza
    Comcast Customer Connect
    National Customer Operations
    We_Can_Help@comcast.com
    @ComcastMelissa

  2. Irma & Ned
    February 1, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Welcome back to the disfunctional city. How did you manage to choose a snow day to arrive? Let me know your phone # so we can chat, if you are ever at home. or your cell. I know you will be really busy in your new job. We want to hear about it.
    I am going to Atlanta for a few days, and then to Cancun with Andy & Diana. I hope your new digs are satisfactory to you and the cats. Diana works nearby. Keep in touch.
    Irma

  3. Allison
    February 11, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Hi Robert! I’m catching up on your blog, now that I finally added it to my Google Reader. It’s amazing what I miss when I rely solely on my Reader but forget to subscribe to things I want! I guess it’s the equivalent of turning the porch lights off and drawing the curtains – and then I think, where is all the good conversation?

    Anyway, I love this post and just wanted to let you know I’m reading. You’re inspiring me to write more! I totally laughed out loud at the description of your yuppie-ridden apartment building. I too have a frustratingly humbling experience, though a bit different, when I pass by them on the upper west side. It’s like I can hear them thinking, “Hmm…she’s white, she’s cute, but she’s obviously not one of us. No manicure, no labels, no sense of entitlement…and my god is she wearing those dirty sneakers to an actual job?”

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