I write this hasty note from a friend’s office in Colorado Springs. I’ve been in “the Springs” for going on two weeks, and I hope to get back to my home in Massachusetts some day. I’m staying with my brother and sister-in-law and their young children, trying to help them through a rough patch. Without going into particulars, both parents are fighting for their lives. Think, transfusions and blood counts. Think, paralysis, wheel chairs, emergency rooms. You get the picture.

Last Wednesday, the day after a storm which had knocked out the electricity for ten hours, a technician from Adelphia knocked on the door. “Tech #6” was his name. He informed me that he was going to check things out outside the house. His visit was a little mysterious, since we were having no problems with any service provided by Adelphia, but I said, “fine.” Shortly later he left, after first informing me that he had detected no problem. Ten minutes after the departure of Tech #6 I noticed that the Internet connection no longer worked. I had been working on the internet when he arrived. Everything had been working just fine until then.

Well guess what, friends, the Internet still no longer works at my brother’s house (although cable TV still does). I’ve spent about fifteen hours trying to solve the problem with Adelphia, most of that time spent on hold, and when not on hold, getting conflicting information from Adelphia customer-service people about whether or not there was an outage in the neigborhood, and when we might expect to have our service restored. I’ve been promised “call back within 24 hours” and “call back within the hour” five times. I’ve talked to supervisors and their supervisors. This has been as effective as talking to the wind and its supervisors. We have received no calls back from Adelphia. I’ve explained that there are disabled people in the house who cannot use the telephone and who rely on the Internet for daily consultation with their doctors. I’ve explained that loss of Internet connectivity was coincident with the uninvited arrival of Adelphia Tech #6. Evidently these considerations mean nothing to Adelphia. To borrow a line from Ernestine the Operator, “They don’t care. They don’t have to.” Or as Harold Feld might say, “being a monopoly means never having to say you’re sorry.” Every promise they have made has been broken.

Meanwhile, the loss of Internet connectivity has not only made caring for my brother and sister-in-law downright frightening, it’s made it virtually impossible to keep up with my day job. But, no time to lament that now. The kids will be coming home from school soon, and I better scoot to make sure everything is OK back at the house. But once things get a little bit back to normal, I’m going to investigate what this “filing a complaint with the FCC” business is all about. I hope that it provides a little catharsis, anyway.