I am talking to Joe at Directware Plus in Petaluma a lot recently. I found him the other day because I was randomly calling computer networking numbers in the Yellow Pages. I was hoping to find a WiFi solution for this Verizon PC5740 broadband card. I called Directware Plus because they have a local Petaluma address and I like to support local businesses. I listened to the automated answering service, considered the options, and then pressed 3 for technical support.
I assume that I am supposed to buy their products before I call for technical support. However, when Joe answered, I just asked my question (which was about using my new laptop as the router for my cellular data card and I thought that was a pretty technical question). He was very good. He just took it all in stride. I now assume that he answers a lot of calls like that–just people calling up out of the blue to answer computer questions–because he’s good at it.
I call him Joe Random because Directware Plus was just a random number I picked out of the phone book. It was pretty random that I just pressed 3 for technical support. It was pretty random that I get such good support from that random number. I like that. It fits into my “Series of Random Events” life theme.
Joe has good suggestions. He even convinced me I should negoitiate a lower gym membership during my hiatus-from-jobs-that-pay-the-bills-phase. And I did. He also reprimanded me for eating a stale bagel. I didn’t eat all of it, just the bit that wasn’t stale. Regardless, he had practical advice about my general health and well-being (more specifically, “Don’t eat stale bagels. That’s disgusting!”). He ends up being sort of like the person on the other end of the line in This American Life’s story on Time to Save the World:
“…Act Two. Heather Help Me. Jessica Riddle reports on how, as a teenager, she and her friends would pick up the phone and dial the letters of the name “Heather” and talk to the old man who’d pick up the phone. At first they’d just prank call him. But then it turned out to be much more. (18 minutes).”
Except, I wasn’t making a prank call when I called him and don’t know how old Joe is, but I don’t think he’s old.
Today Joe helped me set up a WiFi router at the rental property. Just like that. Thank you very much Joe. Contrary to the conversations, I don’t know what else to say. One day, you too may utter that famous quote from Shrek: “Two words, Donkey. Shut. Up.”
I will continue to talk to Joe Random I think. He’s got a sense of humour and is very good at what he does. I think I might even call him up and ask him random, non-technical questions. I will call up the Directware Plus number, briefly listen to the automated answering system, press 3 for technical support and say: “Joe Random. This is Donkey. Technically, I have a question…”