Live Real. Eat Real.

At Least They Speak English

RoutineThis week’s Spin Cycle is all about routines.

Everyone has them.  Some people cannot live without them.  Ours are fairly boring – we are, after all, in our mid-40s.  Our idea of living on the edge is spontaneously deciding to go to the new Japanese restaurant that opened down the street after work – and that spontaneity waits for us to go home and let the dog out and feed the fish first.

Our lives will become even more routine once The Young One has returned from Texas and begins high school (yea gods!).  Which is fine – it is comforting, even.  By the time this all comes about, I’ll welcome it.  Routines are great, as long as you don’t become completely bound by them.

And therein lies the rub.   You see, my routine has been completely disrupted today by the necessary installation of a non-standard, non-plug-and-play printer and some non-standard software that requires a “smart card” software license to run on my laptop.  I’d already installed these several years ago on an old laptop that finally went up to that Big Operating System in the sky.

And I remember what a complete pain in the ass they were to install.  I remember having to call the people that sold the damn things to me and speaking to their tech support.

I hate talking to tech support.

Not because they can’t do their job, but because they do too good of a job.  You see, they have their routines, too, and their routines consist of speaking with the technically ignorant all day, every day.  And because they speak to the technically ignorant all day, every day, they don’t know what to do when they come across someone who knows what the hell they’re doing but just needs a little help.

“Hello, tech support.”

“Yeah, hi – this is Jan from That Software Company.  I’m in the process of reinstalling the Non-Standard Printer and PIA SmartCard Software y’all sold me on a different computer.  I’ve downloaded the necessary drivers and got my laptop to recognize the printer, but it won’t print a test page.  Also, when I go to run the Software, it crashes when it attempts to initialize the SmartCard license.  Can you help me out here?”

“Okay, ma’am, first you need to download the printer drivers…”

“I’ve already done that.  My computer is recognizing the printer, it just won’t print a test page – it says it’s downloading the data and just hangs there.”

“So to install the drivers, I’m going to need you to turn off your printer and go to and choose your model from the drop-down menu.”

“Excuse me, but I’ve already done that.”

“Oh.  Uh…okay, to install the driver, you’ll need to find out where you saved the executable on your hard drive and have it install to the correct folder on your hard drive.”

“I’ve done that too – look, I’ve got the damn printer installed.  The computer recognizes it.  I just cannot get it to print a test page.”

“Oh.  Okay.  Well, let’s see if it’ll print a test page.  To print a test page, you’ll need to -”


“Ma’am, there’s no reason to shout.  If the printer won’t print a test page, all you need to do is say so.”

It’s going to be a very long day.

From the blog