SBC is taking revenge upon us for actually almost doing something right for a change. When we moved into our house in July, we had a temporary telephone number for a week or two until our old telephone number could be transferred to the new address. Strangely enough, the switch between the two appeared to come off without a hitch. Ahh, were we ever mistaken. In typical telephone company fashion, SBC started billing us twice for our DSL service. One bill for the number we had for a short period of time, and another bill for our old number. Sarah spent the better part of two hours on the telephone speaking with numerous people to get all of that straightened out (we think). Well, yesterday, SBC decided to, essentially, disconnect our DSL service in retaliation. What they really did in reality is hard to understand. Their service people like to mumble about "central office" and "remote terminal" while muttering about paperwork gone awry. Other SBC people tell me that they have never seen anything like was done to our account. Others just rock back and forth making the sign of the cross at the way in which our account has apparently been possessed by some sort of Satanic force. The long and short of it all is that even though SBC admits the problem is on their end and caused by their incompetance, they can do nothing to fix it in less than seven calendar days from today. Of course, Labor Day is thrown in there which means that everything takes at least two days longer than it otherwise would. The problem is that SBC apparently uses a "computer" that takes three days (!) to process an order. Maybe they need to get the hampsters that power that computer to take in a bit of caffiene with their food every day. Of course, that three days assumes that our account’s billing period doesn’t begin sometime during that three days. If our account’s billing period begins during that three days, the clock stops while a separate five-day billing period lock-down is in effect. Once that lock-down expires, the three-day clock can start running again. Of course, the "computer" just disconnects our service so that it can be reconnected again. The reconnection takes at least three more days. Oh, and all of these days are, of course, working days. So, through no fault of our own, we will be without DSL service for the next week at an absolute minimum. Oh, and of course, we’ll be paying for this service we cannot use. The service people can do nothing about billing, of course, which is what got us into this mess in the first place. You can probably imagine why we will be exploring other options tonight and trying to cancel our service tomorrow. At work today, MCI (SBC’s partner in sheer stupidity) explained to me that the high-speed data line the company wanted was installed on the second floor of building in which the company is located. Of course, the company for which I work is on the seventh floor. MCI told me that they would be happy to send out a technician that could extend the line from the second floor (where we have no offices) to the third floor (where we have no offices). If we actually wanted the circuit in our offices, we would have to extend it. Essentially, MCI was saying, “Hey, consider yourself lucky we got it into the right building. If you actually want it in the right suite, that’s well beyond us." Seeing as how I spent all day arguing with two telephone companies, can you imagine why I came home and immediately grabbed a beer out of the fridge? The heat index for my bike ride home tonight was 98 degrees. This morning, Sarah and I were riding to work together. When we got near the pharmacy school at the UW, an old man swung his cane and both Sarah and I. I not so politely asked him if he was off his rocker, and if he needed mental help. Cranky Old Man responded that he didn’t like the fact we were riding on the sidewalk (for fifty feet of a five+ mile ride). I asked him, “Who says I can’t ride on the sidewalk." Cranky Old Man’s response, "I did." Right. Keep walking, buddy, and keep that cane to yourself before you actually hit someone with it and end up facing assault charges. On my ride home tonight, only two cars would have hit and killed me if I hadn’t taken the driver’s general lack of awareness into account. Sarah thinks I ought to start a game. Whenever I confront someone who would have run me down on my bike if I hadn’t been looking out for them, they almost invariably say, "I didn’t see you" at some point during the conversation. She thinks I ought to try and bait people into saying that every time I confront people about their idiocy behind the wheel of a car. Oh, I’m writing this via dial-up. Welcome to 1998.