Along the Trail: The Receiver
If this was not at least the third time, I would think it most unusual, even weird. But as it was at least the third time, I put it down to business as usual.
For the past several weeks, sometime after 9pm, our TV would kick out. Or, more accurately, the dish flickered and died immediately, not unlike a light burning out. If this was the day of tube radio, I would say the tube sparked and died.
The screen went blank, and then things slowly started working back to normal. It happened off and on every night. The whole routine from “poof” to reappearing took about three minutes. The great dish pointed skyward but malfunctioned almost every night. We’ve become somewhat addicted to Netflix and PVR so this did not pose the problem it used to. But, as a moderate lover of TV sports, I still need my occasional nighttime fix of satellite TV.
So step one is always to call your service provider. No matter how many times you call they go through the same routine, not unlike a trip to the Emergency. Finally, after convincing helper number 5 that this issue cannot be addressed over the phone, a new receiver was on its way to the shady side of Hunter’s Mountain.
It was time for hookup and install. I could feel my teeth begin to ache, just knowing how inept and incompetent I would be through the whole process. We decided to do it tag team style with the better set of ears on the phone and me on my knees tightening and screwing various connections. Putting the old receiver in the box tested the limits of my expertise.
“How may I help you”? answered the friendly, if somewhat heavily accented voice. The better ears patiently explained that we had no signal after hooking up the new receiver and no amount of tightening and screwing by the man on the floor was rectifying the problem. Then the part I hate began in earnest. “Try tightening the connections and see what happens.” This was my area of expertise and I felt pretty confident as I gazed up from the floor that I had done my part properly.
Well there began a long series of “do this, do that, try this, try that.” This, of course, is all to avoid having to send out the techie guy who loves doing this stuff but costs the company money. The tag team and the distant techie soldiered on, with little or no success it must be stated. As the skies darkened and the clock moved on well into the night, all three of us kept up a steady stream of chatter, all to no avail.
“It is not working,” said the distant voice. We had noticed that! “I will have to call you back.”
This is the modern day version of “Don’t call me, I will call you.” He didn’t. I can’t say I was surprised. Maybe he wandered off to lunch or got a more interesting call like, “This is NASA, we have a problem.” Whatever the problem was on his end (maybe it was just lunch) we were left in satellite limbo for hours. It got so bad that I even rose from the hardwood and tried to see if I could get things going myself. Needless to say!
As the saying goes, “Time solves all problems.” Our problem got fixed after many hours and many calls back and forth.
Still, we recalled wistfully the days of horizontal and vertical controls, volume knobs and tinsel on the rabbit ears. Must be the price of what is now called “progress”.