When I got into the office this morning, the internet on my computer was not working. This never happened at Random House, though I did experience occasional computer problems. On such occasions, I would call tech support and they would send a technician immediately, and the problem would be resolved within fifteen minutes.
Not so in our little agency in Israel. When I discovered the problem, I asked my co-worker what to do. “Do you know anyone who knows computers?” she asked, as if this were the obvious way to resolve the problem. And so I called my friend Ph, master computer fixer, who stayed on the phone with me for an hour as I unplugged and replugged various cables and tried to follow the coils that snaked behind the desk, over the bookshelves, and through a hole in the wall. No luck. Internet Explorer could still not open the page I was trying to find.
I then called Netvision, the internet service provider. After twenty minutes of holding, I got a man named Ilia who asked me if I preferred “Hebrew or Eeeenglish.” We spoke Hebrish for the next hour and a half — each of us responded in the other person’s language but used the technical terminology of our own. “Eifoh ha-cable?” “Is the menorah lit up?” At one point, I sighed in exasperation, and Ilia said, “You have to have emunah. That is all that matters. Then it will work.” A frum technician. Just what I needed. Unfortunately, my emunah was not enough to perform t’chiat ha-metim on the broadband router.
Ilia transferred me to Iddo at Bezeq, who didn’t even pretend to speak English. When Iddo told me he was putting me on hold for the fourth time, I said, “Arghh! Israel drives me crazy!!” Iddo told me that I should stick around and see what it is like during a war. Ok, Ok — excuse me!
While I was still on the phone with Iddo, Ilia (who had hung up on me to take a break for lunch) called back from Netvision to tell me that he thought I should buy a new router. At that point, I had Iddo on my cell phone and Ilia on the office phone, and both were listening to each other. At that moment, my boss walked in with our accountant, and both tried to talk to me at once. My head was spinning and I wished that someone would unplug and restart ME.
Three hours later, we had one computer up and running and one still down. This meant that I could work, but our assistant could not. So she went home and I stayed in the office until 8pm trying to make up for lost time. Fortunately, this is Israel, so no one really expects that anything will get accomplished all in a day’s work….