Maybe others can profit from my mistake. I got a refresher course in The Value of Staying Connected over the weekend. It was a lesson I shouldn’t have had to learn again and took a lot more time than any of those involved should have had to put into it.
Point of fact: you may think you can always go back and get things easily re-established after a lapse of time. But whether it involves your mother, a client, or…oh, I dunno…let’s say “the phone company”…paying a little more attention when it’s due can save you a whole lot of time untangling things later!
For reasons best left unexplored, I let the charges on my ISDN lines go without attention just a little too long. The phone company at least tries to help you save face. During my various calls to put things back in order, I repeatedly heard the phrase, “Line disconnected at subscriber request.” I might as well have signed a work order!
Admittedly, the trouble started with me. But over the course of three whole days, it became clear that just getting online and paying the bill wasn’t going to magically make everything work again. It seems there are numerous switching points for these magical ISDN lines, any one of which being out of kilter can make a full connection impossible, whether the bill is paid or not. And since the technology is not mainstream, not just any technician is going to see any trouble if at least the basic connection is showing on the circuit tester.
I’m no engineer, but I got an English translation from the wonderfully non-judgmental tech support guy who came out Sunday afternoon and spent almost two hours on the phone with his fellow wizards (one in Tennessee, one in California) to track down the missing link and get it patched back up. To wit: when it looks like I don’t want to be connected anymore, patches are pulled, switches are switched, and connections are re-connected for other paths of communication.
If I don’t want to have to untangle that mess again…it will help if I keep the account active. Lesson learned.
Of course, it’s made me remember other non-technical “connections” I haven’t always been so careful about. Calling Mom more regularly? That’s a no-brainer. Keeping in touch with clients, letting them know I’m not dead yet? Gotta work on that. Risking the loss of a true friend through careless or willful inattentiveness? Well, fortunately for me, I have been gifted with more than a few friendships where the connection is strong not because of my own efforts…but my Friend’s.
So take it however you want: a guilt-trip about how you never call yer mother…a reminder to pay yer darn bill on time…or a little nudge to go through your mental address book and notice someone who thinks you might have become disconnected “at subscriber request”.
I know you can’t cover all the bases. But you might save yourself some serious wasted time untangling something important later on.
— over and out —