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There are times when it feels as if there's a little black cloud that hovers over me, always ready to make the simplest of processes extremely difficult.  I times like this, I think of the old blues song "Born Under A Bad Sign" with it's lyric, "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

In a post last night, I talked about my frustration with AT&T's DSL service and my intention to switch to Qwest's.  In fact, I ordered the Qwest package online and the e-mail confirmation said my new service would begin on or around July 21st.  It was my intention to not cancel AT&T until the Qwest installation kit arrived in the mail.

A couple of hours ago I received an e-mail from Qwest saying they couldn't begin my service until the existing DSL was removed from my line.  I called AT&T and after sitting on-hold for about a half hour (pretty good for them), I got through and successfully cancelled my high-speed service with them while keeping a dial-up account for at least another week.

It's a good thing I didn't cancel that as well!

Calling Qwest next, I got through almost immediately only to run into problem after problem.  I explained that I had an order on-hold pending my cancelling the other provider's service.  The CSR accessed my account and informed me I had a past-due bill from Idaho in 2000.  Well, I didn't live in Idaho in 2000 or ever (I've never even been to that state).  The bill was attached to my social security number but under a different name; my name was nowhere to be seen as authorizing this so the CSR had to call the Fraud Department.

After an eternity on hold (well, it was only a half-hour but seemed like much longer while I wondered how to deal with this situation — where else has this person used my SSN?), the CSR came back and said the Fraud Department would investigate the billing matter. She could go ahead and place my DSL order.  I spent a bit more time on-hold and she came back and told me because of how their billing is set up they could start my DSL service and send the installation CD, but they could not send me the modem — either as a per month rental or as an outright purchase.  I would have to go buy the modem at Best Buy but wouldn't receive the rebate price.  I said that's fine, that it would even out with the savings between what I was paying AT&T and what Qwest's rate would be.

She then had to manually place the order only to have an error message pop onto her screen saying DSL wasn't allowed on a "dual-loop system."  She had no idea what that meant so had to call her supervisor.  Finally, she came back on the phone and said that she'd have to have the service technicians call me back if it was going to take longer than five business days to determine what the problem was!

So, who knows how long I'll have to wait before I get DSL service back.  If Qwest can't connect me, my only other viable option is to return to AT&T — which will necessitate me to buy a new modem anyway (part of my reason with wanting to leave them is that I've been trying for a year to get them to replace the defective modem they sent in the first place).

Not having DSL for several days or more is somewhat frustrating as I was ready to upload several live recordings for one of my Yahoo Groups and I'm also missing out finishing several BitTorrent downloads (filling some gaps in my Pink Floyd collection including a DVD of a concert I attended in 1994).  I doubt if those downloads will be actively seeded by the time I get my speed back (and I hate to post re-seed requests).

But at least I can use the dial-up on my secondary computer (which seems extremely ancient).  (For some reason, the AT&T dialup on the newer computer keeps saying that either my username or password are incorrect — even after I've entered them manually; I have used the same information with them for several years).  At least I can check e-mail and post to my blog.  I don't plan to do much surfing (I don't do a lot anymore other than checking my favorite BT sites to see if there are any new shows I'd like to download — that's pointless until I can get the DSL restored).

I'd forgotten how slow dial-up can be (and can't believe I used to try and download using it).  Yes, I've been spoiled by fast online speeds (which made the frequent failures in that service even more frustrating).  I've come to rely too much on all this technology, I suppose.  Which is another good reason why I just need to get away from it all — another item causing me to steer towards this desire to work in one of these remote villages in northern India, Nepal, or Tibet that I'm considering.

Ah, life without phones, limited electricity, miles and miles away from the nearest computer...Time to get caught up on actual book reading in my spare time rather than jumping on the computer once again.  This volunteerism gig is looking more and more attractive to me.  Just the ticket to cure these "DSL blues"...

[UPDATE:  The person who had the Qwest bill under my social security number turns out to have been a short-lived roommate of mine — the same one who stole some of my checks and who created so many problems in the two weeks he stayed here that the apartment complex "unofficially" told me to change the locks, illegal to do in New Mexico, and had me call the police for some protection.  Accessing my credit report online told me he's also responsible for one bounced check from the same period that escaped my subsequent account closure, etc.  I never had very good experiences with roommates (apart from the very first while at college) and this one was really the beginning of a series of really bad luck.  But I do think that streak's finally coming to an end!]