Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Cable Guy

I'm under the impression that moving to a new post and setting up "home," no matter how many times we do it, is going to be a perplexing and complicated endeavor.

A few days after we arrived in Kathmandu I scheduled a visit from the cable man. Stuck at home with a jet-lagged toddler and no internet was the worst. I wanted to Skype my mom and get lost in the deep dark corners of Facebook for the few moments of baby nap time I was granted. The cable company assured me that a technician would be there around 10 am.

At 3 pm I got a call: "I am at the temple," the man on the other end told me. In Nepali.*

I walked to our neighborhood temple and started looking for a technician. There was a nice man in a polo shirt on a motorcycle. "Internet?" I asked him. "होइन," he responded. No.
I stood and waited. Another man on a motorcycle pulled up. He was wearing normal clothes, but I figured I'd ask. "Internet?" He just stared at me. And then kept staring. I slowly backed away.

The neighborhood temple
Suddenly I heard a rustling behind me and the shabbily dressed man who had been sleeping, curled in a ball at the base of the temple, amidst the tikka and the trash, jumped up: "I am internet!" Oh, God.

"But, where are all of your things?" I asked him. He assured me they were on their way.

As we slowly started to walk towards my house I thought of ways to test the theory that he was an actual cable man and not a bum who saw that I was looking for a cable man. I texted Mr. Kate and told him that if he came home and I was dead he needed to look for the sleepy bum under the temple.

Moments later, we were joined by another shabbily dressed man on a bike that had some black cord wrapped around the seat. They asked where I lived and as I indicated the way, the second guy set his bike down, grabbed an end of the cord, and climbed up the closest telephone pole.

As they wrapped the cord around each subsequent telephone pole, we got closer and closer to home. I was salivating. I could smell the Facebook in my immediate future. We got to the house. "Which room?" they asked. I pointed to a corner room, and the guy with the cable scaled the side of my house while the first cable guy followed me inside. When we got to the room, he got upset. "There is no hole! How will we get the cable inside?," he yelled at me.

I responded: "You are the cable man! You came with no tools! Don't you have this problem EVERY SINGLE TIME?!?!?!"

Except, since it was in Nepali, it probably sounded more like: "You cable man. You have no presents. Very, very EVERY PROBLEM, isn't it?!?!?"

After coming up with a reasonable solution that did not involve breaking a window (as they originally suggested), the internet cable was in the house. They spent a few minutes pressing buttons on the computer and determined that the internet would not work. They said they would come back the next day, with a new bike-cable and re-do everything. They also said I should give them $300 immediately. After I was done laughing, I walked them out. 

The next day, they came and set up the rest of the internet. As I gave them the money for our cable bill, I asked for a receipt. It was their turn to laugh. "No" was all they said. So I told him to hold up the money and I snapped a picture while he was still laughing. Homie don't play that.

Just in case he's a modest cable man.
Internet fame can be tough.

*Huge shout out to FSI's language training program! Without you, I probably still wouldn't have internet!

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