Monday Musings: Love in the Time of Stochasticity

Monday, June 29, 2009

I was on the phone with Comcast the other day for, quite literally, 57 minutes. Good times, those long tete-a-tetes with your cable provider, no?

We had to switch our modem from a business unit to a residential one and, for some reason, the minute we did, nothing worked. No tv, no internet, no phone. It was all Little House on the Prairie. I sent bird signals to my sister to pick up milk.

It was frustrating. We get so used to feeling "connected." Whether it be via television, the internet, or (for some people) the phone (and that parenthetical is there because I am the WORST phone-person in the history of the planet--ask my mother-in-law.) We get so used to feeling like we have knowledge--of everything--right at our fingers and that we can be in touch, not only with information, but with the people we love (or socially network with. heh.) at the drop of a hat.

This Comcast phone call took place as my husband was in the air, on the way to India to see his grandmother who had, seemingly out of the blue, fallen into a coma. Hands were wrung, logistics were hashed out, tears were shed and, as the sum total of it all: My husband knew in his heart that he had to go be with his grandmother and grandfather. And I loved him even more for that being the case.

Yet, there I was, left with details like getting our On-Demand back on (normally something firmly in my husband's domain...having to do with that blasted "technology"...), so that our eldest did not revolt against the world because of a day without the Berenstein Bears.

"I don't understand," I said. "Our--what is the word? Our white box thing? Our router was working fine before we switched the other thing," I concluded, super proud of myself for coming up with the word "router."

"I here you ma'am," Mister Super Comcast Tech Guy said, "but I can see here by proxying into your system that the new modem is working absolutely pristinely (ed: pristinely? really?), but that it can't connect to your router."

Connections. We try to make them all the time. We try to make sense of things in the everyday that are--let's face it--pretty random. In the last week, here are some of the things that have happened: Michael Jackson died, Farah Fawcett died, my husband's grandmother went into a coma, my brother-in-law's grandfather passed away, one of our best friends was hospitalized for a staph infection, my sister's wedding invitations went out, I decoupaged a table, my middle son learned to love blueberries and finally said "mama" instead of "papa" (which is, believe it or not, what he called me)...

What does it all mean?

None of "it" mattered during the Comcast call. "It" was rendered meaningless because, unless I got Sprout On Demand back, my kid was gonna torch the house.

"Is there something I can do to re-set the router," I asked, plaintively?

"Of course, let's try it again," Mister (kind of annoying) Super Comcast Tech guy said...for the ninth time...

And again, off we went to regain our connectivity.

One of the first things my husband and I talked about when we heard the news about his grandmother was, of course, the fate of his grandfather. What happens to somebody when your connection to the world and your lifeline is taken from you after 60-some years of marriage? What becomes of you? How do we make life worth living for him if the worst case scenario comes to fruition? How do we connect him to us? What will we be like when we are in the same situation--hopefully, knock-on-wood, pray to whatever god(s) you believe in-- years from now?

My husband's grandparents don't have a traditional love story, but they have a love story nonetheless. One that takes them from Ghaziabad to Kampala and back again. One that includes the addition of a daughter-in-law (my mother-in-law) who added much needed laughter and love to the house and glue to the family. One that has allowed my husband to have memories of being a 3 year old toddler, bouncing on the knees of his beloved Vaddi Mummy.

Love is random and it has no script. Kind of like conversations with cable service-providers.

"I give up, I don't know what to do," I told Mister (now super annoying) Super Tech Comcast guy who--honestly?--at this point (minute 49) was losing patience with me.

"I think you need a new router ma'am," he said, oozing false politeness.

"But I don't understand," I cried, appealing to rationality in a world where it doesn't exist (aka Comcast). "The router worked fine today. It only stopped working when we changed the modem!" I said (mentally patting myself on the back for using both "router" and "modem" in one sentence).

"I can't explain it ma'am," he said. I gritted my teeth. Of course you can't, I thought.

"But sometimes, if you have had a modem and a router together for a long time, and you change the modem?"

Yes, I thought, waiting for some sort of fancy technical voodoo retort.

"Sometimes the router remembers the old modem...," Comcast-Tech-Guy said, trailing off.

Sometimes the router remembers the old modem?

"Sometimes the router remembers the old modem...and misses it..."


Wow. My router misses my old modem.

They had been together for 5 years.

As long as I've been married.

Random.

What does it all mean?

Who knows.

Love is all around us.
36 comments:
Gina said...

BEAUTIFUL

Anonymous said...

Had to look up "stochasticiy". Great word, great post as usual, Deepa.

T said...

So sorry to hear about your husband's grandparents, you are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Weeks like that are rough. So is dealing with Comcast! Great post, hang in there!

J.L. said...

Ha, you hit frustrations with Comcast right on the head! Beautiful post, your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, but that isn't true is it? About the router/modem?

Pav said...

Great read, thanks

N said...

loved this, thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

beautiful!

Anonymous said...

It is always in times of uncertainty and mortality that love is the most powerful

Kelly P said...

I love this post and it made me teary. I don't even know you! You are a wonderful writer what a way to tell a story.

pdileepa said...

"Wow. My router misses my old modem."

Indeed! Great post...

susanK said...

thanks for heart warmer at 1 a.m.

Nadia said...

Ok, I came here through the O'Reiley post and have now spent 3 hours on your site. Where have you been all my life? All I can say is wow. Thank you thank you thank you.

Frederik said...

Beautiful, beautiful, this is what Twitter is for.

Renault said...

Ah, almost too cute but not much--fantastic. In technology?

Sofia said...

I am forwarding this to people who don't think you can have a personality if you understand technology. Love is indeed everywhere.

Sasha said...

wow wow wow wow.

Tamara said...

It took a little while but it got there and JESUS did it get there.

Cynthia said...

Beautiful post but it is in the Lord's hands now, I am praying for you.

Xavier said...

I am in love. Stochasticity in a blog post? And a hot girl to boot? Sign me up.

Clorinda said...

This is THE most beautiful thing I have read in recent memory. THANK YOU.

Sally H said...

"My router misses my modem." Is it sad that that made me cry? What a beautiful, beautiful treatment on love and loss.

Anonymous said...

This is the shit. And the second time TOR has tweeted to your blog. Welcome.

Janice said...

Yes.

Deidre said...

This is THE thing I needed to read right now. THANK YOU.

John said...

i am happy interactions with comcast cause anything other than suicidal thoughts, @ Tim: Perfect.

Ana said...

Whose blog is this?

Terry said...

Fantastic.

Georgia said...

Hooked, but confused as to the author?

Anonymous said...

Funny, it can be true, but the other way around. Modem can remember router's address, and if you put in the modem another router, or computer you should set it so it pretends to be the old one. Human relations analogy is a puzzle for me here...

Analise said...

@ Anonymous: WTF! Are you serious?

Clarice said...

LOL, what is the puzzle? The fact that anything was a puzzle has made me laugh harder than I have in a while so thank you for that.

codinghorror said...

Ok, this is all great and heartwarming and everything, but DID THE DANG ROUTER EVER GET FIXED?

Luciano said...

Thanks Deepa!!! You brought light to my computer life: it stopped working 3 days ago. So right now I'm going after my old mouse. The computer is definitelly missing the old mouse!!! I can see the virtual tears in his blank monitor!!!
How could I be so cruel to separate them? It was a 4-years long relationship. They lived connected all day long. One didn't make a move without the other! And I broke all this!!!

Naila said...

Deepa, this post is one of your finest. It moved me, and absolutely many of your readers! You throw in such seemingly inconsequential details, like your son calling you mama, finally, and the Comcast guy throwing out a desperate suggestion, and you bring it all together into a lovely story about love. You are a great writer. I love your blog!

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