December 26, 2007

Forgetting to Pay the Phone Bill
Lima, Peru

The Internet connection slowed down, then sputtered out. I gave it some time. I reset the modem. I waited some more, and installed a set of towel hooks in the bathroom. Still, nothing.

I went into the bedroom of Tatiana's parents and picked up the phone—a familiar automated message was looping. The account has been suspended again because the bill wasn't paid.

I don't understand it. Is it so difficult to get utilities paid on time in this family? The telephone, and with it the Internet, are such vital services used every day, wouldn't you think that there would be some routine or priority about ensuring that utility isn't disrupted?

I'm frustrated and annoyed.

I'm not online all day playing around; I'm working. I rationalize my time here, in part, because I can do the time consuming projects I need to do online while I'm in Lima. Not having the ability to work pisses me off.

I express this Tatiana. I tell her I'm not angry with her, but with her family. "What if we woke up tomorrow and there was no power, water, or natural gas?" I tell her. "There are certain responsibilities a functional household has, and one of them is paying the utility bills."

I understand if people can't pay credit cards, I'm down, I understand. But I'm a guy who has never made a late payment on any debt, and was raised by a father who taught this discipline to me, like I'm sure his father taught it to him. So, when this kind of stuff happens, it bugs me to no end.

I'm so grateful for the comforts of the home that I find myself in. There are many benefits during this temporary moment of stillness that I don't mention nearly enough, and consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by the family that I am. But this telephone/Internet service suspension happening two months in a row is less of a nuisance than it's worrying, as it reveals attitudes and absentmindedness here in this home that shouldn't exist.

You'd think the embarrassment of it happening in November would have been enough to keep it from happening again in the near future. I guess I was wrong. Maybe this happens often enough that it's considered normal.

It wouldn't bother me if I was told that money was tight, and the funds for the utility bill were used to buy Christmas presents instead. That's OK; I'm fine with people knowingly not paying bills. It's the forgetting that irks me.

Back to the Internet café I go.

Comments:

Erik

December 28th, 2007

Offer to pay the bill yourself next month, or several months? Conceal it under the truth that you're using their internet connection for work needs and would like to cover the expense? I'm sure the telecom company would gladly accept a pre-payment of services for 3 or 6 months and maybe even discount it?

Andy HoboTraveler.com

December 28th, 2007

My friend Christian Works from Australia was hollering at his Mexican wife from a Swimming pool in Acapulco.

He had been married for 8 years, and was asking her why she was late. I said, Christian you traveled from USA to Argentina by land and you did not learn a thing, then you married it, and 8 years later you are still expecting a Lationa to be on time.

Cracking up and falling over laughing at you being annoyed. Welcome to South America.

I would think the minute that baby is born, the family is going to want you to pay your bill, and it will not be paid with money, cash.

Peru

Craig | travelvice.com

December 28th, 2007

Things done while the Internet was out:

* Wrote this post in the heat of the moment

* Went to the gym

* Watched 'I Am Legend' on my laptop: very tense, 7/10

* Slept

* Took the dog for a walk to the cliff that overlooks the sea — only his second time seeing the ocean in 12 years, even though it's only a 30-40 minute walk from the house

* Made a backup of my laptop onto several DVDs

* Read the entire book The Hobbit

* Told Tatiana how much I didn't care for the pacing and style of the second-hand narration it was written in; how there were too many details where there should have been few, and too few where there needed to be more; and how I'm very happy the author refined his writing style for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Peru

Craig | travelvice.com

December 28th, 2007

@ Andy: …with blood? :)

Anonymous

March 6th, 2008

You are getting judgemental in your old age… who are you to say this "absentmindedness" shouldn't be happening? Every family (every INDIVIDUAL, ahem, Craig) has flaws…maybe all future hosts should run thier list of shortcomings by you first, to make sure you'll be totally comfortable staying with them?

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