There are tent cards in our rooms that boldly proclaim, “High-speed wireless Internet access is available in this room.” Not so much. My colleague wanted to use this service. She obtained a username and password, tried to launch wireless internet, and couldn’t get a signal. I noticed that the bars on the wireless signal indicator on her laptop vacillated between none and almost one. I suggested she take her laptop down to the lobby, where I had seen “hot spot” indicators. She refused, saying she was comfortable in her room and the sign said high-speed wireless Internet access was available in the room, so therefore she was going to work from her room. “But you can’t get a signal,” I protested. She picked up the phone and called the front desk, requesting assistance. I started to leave and it was her turn to protest. “Stay. You will learn.”
Minutes later, I opened the door, very surprised to see four hotel staff standing there. “There’s not room for all of you in here,” I laughed. Two came in, a man and a woman. The tall, lanky man hunched down in front of my colleague’s laptop. He clicked on this and that, opened windows and closed them, typed in passwords and checked settings. I sat in the one chair in the small room and watched, practicing patience. After about half an hour, he turned and looked at his colleague, standing, watching over his shoulder. “The technology, it fails us.” “Yes,” she said, “it fails us badly.”
“Why?” asked my colleague. “Why does the technology fail us?” The whole scene seemed somewhat surreal to me. Just go down to the lobby. The technology will not fail you there.
“I think,” he slowly surmised, “that it is the rain. The rain, it makes the technology fail us.” I thought for a moment. Could rain interfere with a wireless signal? Hm. I had not heard of that before. “Where is the router?” I asked. “The router, it is on the roof. When the rains come, the technology, it fails us.”
Now it was my colleague’s turn to be puzzled. “Why does the rain make the technology fail?” The tall lanky man thought for a moment. “Well, it is not in the books, it is only my observation. When the rains come, the technology, it fails us. Maybe you can work down in the lobby. I think the technology does not fail us there.” “No,” my colleague replied, “I am comfortable here. The card says there is high-speed internet access in the room. I am going to work from here. Unless… does the card lie?” My exercise in practicing patience was completed.
“I’m heading to my room. I’ll see you later.” After reading a couple of chapters on the history of Zambia, I headed downstairs.
There in the lobby was the tall, lanky man and my colleague, working from her laptop. “Come here, Lori! The technology, it works now.” I felt like exclaiming, “Hallelujah! Oh, technology, thank you for not failing us!” but I didn’t. I could only smile.