Thursday, February 02, 2006

I’ve Had an Absolute *&^% of a Day

The following happened awhile ago now, but it doesn’t matter. Could have happened on any day here.

Yesterday morning my day looked easy -- one intensive meeting for a couple of hours, and about an hour finishing some documents that had to hit the mail before the end of the day, a Friday.

The trouble with the day was that I had to print the documents and get them to a post office during the rainy season…

1. I never bought a printer for my laptop here because there's a good laser printer attached to my office computer. HOWEVER...

2. Anti-virus software can’t be updated here because it’s all pirated…One of the big new digital destroyers, Kangen, is Indonesian born and bred, and just like the Indo terrorists who kill mostly Indonesians, this one zapped my Indo office PC over the holidays.

3. The same guy whose failure to chase a fax came within two hours of costing me my Christmas holiday came to my office promptly upon my return and explained the problem he'd discovered ten days before (which I'd already figured out), but didn't explain why he’d waited until now to get my computer fixed... except to say the University doesn't have an official IT guy... everybody fends for themselves with no oversight... SO

4. I copied the files to my USB flashdrive and headed downstairs where there were four other computers and two more printers...and no oversight. I plugged the flashdrive into the fastest looking computer with a laser printer... and immediately three additional files showed up on my flash drive, all executable virus programs, and the laser printer jammed and flashed lightning bolts at me, literally: my flashdrive got infected...THUS

5. Went upstairs, deleted the files via my laptop, put fresh clean copies on the flashdrive and came down to try the other printer. Plugged in my flashdrive and waited ten minutes for the computer to log itself in... very old PC running newest version of pirated Windows XP. Gave up, plugged flashdrive into other PC... and the PC didn't know what had just been stuck into it... very old PC running very old version of Windows 98.

6. exclaimed and exclaimed... took flashdrive back to virus-filled PC, got my drive all sick again but forced the files through the laser printer (twice: 1st time paper of a size I'd never seen before (F4?) -- what do these people do all day???). Got snailmail envelopes from the office manager AND THEN

7. Discovered MY error: One crucial misspelling. With the Office manager sitting opposite me, I exclaimed to myself up and down and sideways and told her I'd be back in 10 minutes.

8. Went upstairs, edited the original files, then realized I would have to print again... and nearly cried. Plugged my office printer into my laptop, but my laptop didn't know what I was thinking. I went online to download a driver (wouldn't that be easy?), but the cellular connection kept crapping out on me...

9. 30 minutes into this operation the Office Manager comes to my office very troubled. "Meester, I feel not right. Yesterday before before downstairs I give you..." She was afraid I was upset at her, because I had shown so much anger downstairs in #7. So in the midst of my internal fuming I had to reassure her that I loved her and didn't have a problem with her...

10. "Oh, no no no! You're wonderful! Yes, I AM angry, and I am sorry. For three hours I try to print and mail 6 pages, and this MUST be in Jakarta and on the way to DC tomorrow, but I'm not angry with you! You're wonderful. Thank you so much for your help!" It should be noted that during this ordeal I've spoken to 7 people (and held my two-hour meeting) and not one of them thought it was any problem at all that all four computers and both printers in the Language Center are virtually unusable... that's just the way it is and they go on smiling and tapping into their cell phones...EVENTUALLY

11. She leaves happy and relieved. I take the flashdrive back to the virus-stricken and recently tricked-by-me laser printer, but it looked at it, chuckled, spat in my face, and proclaimed "Fool me once..." Thankfully the really slow computer had booted up and logged itself in, so I plugged into that one and...

12. Got jibberish out of the piece of crap 1990ies bubblejet printer. Removing and reinstalling the cartridge got a decent copy of the edited file that I needed. AND RIGHT THEN...

13. The daily torrential downpour began. I finished addressing the envelopes, the Office Manager was thrilled, and it was 2:45. Post office closed at 3:00 and the office boy wasn't thrilled about riding his motorbike in the downpour to catch the post office before closing for me... oh no sireebob...like it just couldn't be done because these motorcycles come with a warning: don't use in the rain...

14. And then friend, if you're still reading this, I got home at 4, stuck some beer in the freezer, plugged in my laptop on the patio to email copies of the documents to a few different places... and the power went off throughout the house, just as darkness was coming. Power's on next door. I check the fuses -- they're fine. Figures.

15. Two hours later Julia and I find a bill in the box under the meter warning that if I don't pay within a month of Jan. 11, they'll shut the power off. 2 days before. Then Julia sees a master switch under the meter. She flips it and the power comes back on. Some rear orifice from the power company, WHILE I WAS HOME, cut the power to get my attention, instead of ringing my doorbell and explaining the situation in a civilized fashion.

What a day of “Only in Indonesia”.

1 Comments:

At 12:02, Blogger KAT said...

Well done, Tom! This could be the opening chapter for your next book, The Anatomy Of Frustration. Don't know if I can say anything that'll help... what a saga. But for what it's worth, you've got my sympathy. Cheers, Karen T.

 

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