She Said: Dial Up. A phrase I didn’t expect to hear in 2013… one I really never expected to use except when telling my daughter of the good old days. I remember almost exactly 14 years ago when I had my first “hi-speed” internet connection in my Virginia Tech dorm room. Well, that technology has yet to reach me here in Germany. After receiving a letter that service “was not possible” at our new address I called TKS – the internet front for Deutsche Telekom that specializes in this area as there are so many English speakers and they offer English assistance. I informed the person helping me that the prior renters here had used their service and so wouldn’t it be possible for us to as well? After some checking, she informed me that the VOIP and DSL was no longer offered in our area. We could however get dial up service, but we would need to buy a modem. Wow, dial up and a modem… do I need Prodigy or AOL to access the internet too?
My next statement to her was that we will need our deposit back. Her response is no, they did not take a deposit from our account. Well, I can clearly see the 50 Euro debit from my account and inform her of this. She insists that they did not take the money. I pause for a minute and realize- in a month here I’ve learned some things. I am a very exact person, I take things literally and pride myself on that. I have a French train poster in my living room that says Exactitude (it’s actually still on a boat right now but that’s a story for next time); but the German society seems to take the level of exactness that I have and take it somewhere else. The argument I was having with the TKS rep was due to her not “taking” the money, we had actually used our debit card and GIVEN them the money. Ah, semantics. It is common here to give your bank account number to companies and they just take out the amount due to them each month for cell phones, internet, rent and other bills, so in her mind because we had chosen what we thought was the more secure route and paid by debit card, she felt that this meant they did not take the money and so do not owe it back to us.
For now, I’ve given up on this. I have an order in with Deutsche Telekom and maybe some day we will get service.
Shortly after my conversation with TKS I received another call, at first I thought it was them calling to beg my forgiveness and offer me service, but alas it was the Culligan water company. I had filled out a form online a week ago about getting a water cooler and water delivered because our love of bottled water does not work here with the trash restrictions. Having filled out this form and not hearing back we went out last weekend and bought the cooler and jugs of water. I assumed the form didn’t work or they didn’t deliver in our area. Well, the woman who called took great offense to this. She tells me – why would you not wait? I am only one person, I can not reach everyone in a day, people are on Holiday! And that sums it up, why would you not wait? We have time, just wait and things will happen. Americans are in a hurry for everything… sometimes good and sometimes bad. So in the meantime I will sit here and eat my 1 Euro goat cheese on my 1 Euro freshly baked bread that was delivered to my door and watch the sheep across the street while I wait for my Internet and phone service. I am using our friendly neighbors’ wireless because he was quite kind to me when I said oh don’t worry, we will have internet by next week, two weeks ago! He didn’t even laugh in my face… he did tell me that he watches British Top Gear to learn English, not American Top Gear because “no offense, but the Brits are funnier” – no offense taken, Ralf, you are 100% correct.