Thursday, March 4, 2010

the internet sucks

OK, I am a troglodyte when it comes to computers. And just in the last few days I've realized two things: 1. my email privileges should be suspended indefinitely and 2. that wouldn't be a bad thing.

I have a soon to be new bishop. I've known him for years and asked him to come spend the better part of day with me so I could show him St. John's and enroll him in putting in his 2 cents worth about the future of the parish after I leave. That won't be a hard sell. There are few parishes anywhere that have such a rich, diverse and visionary ministry. I wanted him to visit our clericus group (where I get much inspiration) see the Soup Kitchen and other ministries in action, attend a staff that.

Then I got an email from his secretary that said, simply, "We've had to change I.'s schedule, would -----" (another date) "work for you....?"

I replied it would be 'fine' if that's what my soon to be bishop wanted, I'd make it work. Then I decided to be funny, whimsical, facetious and a tad ironic. I forgot what I've been told dozens of times, such things do not work in email--they require face-to-face or at least a phone to give the nuance and tone of voice that lets people know you're just fooling around.

Any way, I went on for a while about "we" and was that the royal we or the papal we or simply someone with a tapeworm.....I advised my bishop to be not to let 'we' take over his schedule and told him he was beginning to slip into that nether-world where wondrous priests go when they become bishops....Stuff, like that, you get the drift....

When I turned on my phone the next day I already had a message from my bishop to be, plus a message at the church and an email--which I didn't read until the afternoon. I apologized to his secretary and to his 'soon to be Grace' and tried to straighten it out as best I could.

Don't try to be funny in an email, or mocking, or sardonic or even chiding. Email does not convey such subtleties.

I really have to behave myself better in email.

And then there is AOL. I kept getting emails from my provider, the way I get onto the web because it was the way I began the first time I had a computer and I've never changed because 'better the devil you actually know' and like that.

The emails were threatening to cancel my service and consign me to what could only be virtual purgatory for all time. Only pay $4.95 a month for the service and couldn't figure out how my account could be so in arrears that they were going to excise me from the Internet. But every time I clicked on the link they gave me in the email to settle things and make them right, I got a warning straight out of Homeland Security--OPEN THIS IF YOU WANT TO CAUSE THE END OF THE WORLD...something like that.

So, after 25 minutes trying to find a real person by calling AOL, I finally spoke to a young woman in New Delhi or someone where who told me someone had sent those emails to lots of AOL folks and AOL nerds had figured out how to add the warning but not how to stop the emails and had I ignored the Armageddon like warning, I would have handed over my credit card #, my SS number, my bank account #, the name of my pet and my mother's maiden name to someone--NOT AOL--who would have wrecked havoc on my life.

When I asked her why AOL had not sent me an email telling me of this dire threat, she said "AOL will never send you an email. We use pop ups." When I asked why they didn't drop me a card or give me a call she told me "AOL doesn't use that form of there are millions of AOL customers getting these false emails...."

So I asked her how the weather was in Bombay and hung up. She was so nice a friendly and Indian-sub-continent like I even told her my one Indian-sub-continent joke--the one about what someone from the I-s-c does when he cannot get his car radio to work...."Bang-le-dash".

She didn't laugh but tried to sell me some new service from AOL that, as far as I could tell, had nothing to do from protecting me from AOL emails that aren't really AOL emails....Like that....

So, all in all--between alienating my soon to be bishop and his secretary and almost forfeiting my net worth to someone that seemed to be AOL--I've decided the internet sucks....Just me talkin', you can ponder it all....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.