Now this is a story all about how my life got twisted upside-down...
minus the Prince of Bel-Air, plus the new royalty of Wired-Air.
It all started when I called Time Warner Cable to get help with setting up a wireless network. I knew we had one that I used while living at home a few years ago, but since then I'd forgotten how to find it and log in so I've just been using a neighborhood signal. That was a less than ideal solution since it's illegal hard to get anything done when it takes 5 minutes to load a webpage. So I decided it was time to call in the experts and figure it out once and for all.
In short, what happened was that Time Warner reset the router and my MacBook freaked out. FREAKED out. And at the end of several very earnest attempts at rectifying the situation, Time Warner had done everything they could do on their end and I was left with a bigger problem than I had to begin with. Since I really needed to resolve the problem with Apple, not Time Warner, they gave me Apple's number and wished me good luck.
Upon calling Apple I learned that it would be a $50 phone call, pre-tax. And I understand that we all need to make a living somehow and that quality customer service is an investment, but I thought I'd rather spend 50 hours solving it myself than paying $50 to have someone else solve it.
Which, ironically, is what happened next.
Off I went into troubleshooting mode, naive but determined to find a solution to the Self-Assigned IP Address problem.
The good news: it wasn't a functionality issue, so it's not like something fatal was wrong with my Mac.
The bad news: there are literally hundreds of different ways to solve the problem...and the only way to find out what works is to try them each individually and then try them in different combinations. Like a technological Rubik's cube.
Failed attempt after failed attempt after failed attempt ...my resolve began to crumble. I picked up the phone to call Apple 8,000 times throughout the course of the day...but never followed through. Because A) I don't have $50 to spend on an elective phone call (thank you, Taurus) and B) I'm irrationally stubborn when I decide to dig my heels in. And my heels, they were dug.
So I went to bed, convinced that I would wake up the next morning and find a solution.
And I did...eight hours later.
Thanks to this conversation on one of Apple's message boards, I figured it out. And became one of those techy message board people in the process (it was short lived). Two days and two hundred grey hairs later, I had wireless internet again. There was happy dancing involved.
Now, I got two good things out of this deal. 1) I got the satisfaction of solving the problem on my own. I'm as tech savvy as the next guy...if the next guy is not at all tech savvy. I know my way around basic electronics and that's about it. So it was quite gratifying to tackle the wireless issue and not blow up my laptop in the process. And 2) I got a nice little metaphor for my life right now.
There was nothing "wrong" with my wireless signal when I started this whole process. I just knew it was weak and there was a better signal available. I did not know that it would take so much work to get a better signal up and running. I did not anticipate spending 40 hours on a resolution that should have taken 40 minutes. And along the way, when I kept on trying and failing, I intensely doubted my ability to solve the problem without waving the white flag of surrender. I seemed doomed to an ethernet cable for all of my days.
But when I finally did figure it out...it was the best thing ever. Because I stuck with it even when it seemed pointless. And it resulted in the strong wireless connection I knew was possible and a much, MUCH more effective work environment.
And that's basically my life right now. There was nothing "wrong" with my life in Rochester, working part-time jobs and only putting down semi-permanent roots. But I know I'm capable of more. And right now, I'm in the middle of the 40 hours of troubleshooting: rejection letters after failures after more rejection letters after more failures after moving back home and being largely unemployed. I'm looking for something I know is possible. And if I can just keep moving forward, it will be so gratifying when it finally happens. Possibly the best thing ever.
Here's to hour 400,000 of troubleshooting life!