A car accident destroys our internet


Kevin Courtney

Our evening walks in the neighborhood usually take place in a relaxed atmosphere. We admire flowers, cats and eccentric paintings.

But not this Tuesday. As we turned off Partrick Road onto Morningside Drive, we were overwhelmed by the jarring sound of metal striking metal. If this were Ukraine, you would suspect a drone strike.

Something terrible had just happened, but what?

A hundred yards down Partrick, a male driver got out of his pickup truck and stood on the road while a man on a bicycle went around in circles.

Neither of them were in screaming panic.

Cheryl wanted to run and investigate. I hesitated. What had sounded like an emergency didn’t look like one.

Several minutes passed and nothing happened on Partrick. No smoke, no sirens, no burning hair. The stillness of a spring evening in Browns Valley returned.

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We continued our walk to Morningside. In another 20 minutes, our way back would take us past the mysterious accident site. If it were necessary to gape, then we could gape.

Those 20 minutes were exciting. There is still nothing to be heard when the police, fire brigade or medical help came to the rescue. It was like we hallucinated the whole thing.

But we didn’t have that. Cheryl fought back the nausea. Her body was telling her something bad had happened.

When we got back to Partrick, the man in the pickup truck was talking to the occupants of another vehicle in the lane. Fifteen feet away was a tall AT&T utility closet that had been ripped from its curb pegs and pushed onto the sidewalk.

The closet looked like a folded paper bag. The pickup looked worse. Metal had been ripped off the right side, revealing the engine and vehicle frame.

A dozen questions came to mind, but I decided not to ask even one of them.

As we pushed our way along the debris field, one of the men offered advice. “Be careful what you do,” he said.

Why had the pickup veered off a straight lane in broad daylight? Driver’s inattentiveness – maybe on his cell phone? Had he tried to avoid the cyclist?

Then the other big question: What impact did the crash have on the Courtneys, who get their Internet service from AT&T?

The home scene wasn’t pretty. The crash had destroyed our WiFi. Our PCs and Roku were essentially worthless.

There were no streaming movies for the Courtneys this Tuesday night. We went to bed early.

The next morning we received an optimistic text message: “Hello, this is AT&T.” The company estimated repairs would take seven to eight hours.

Did I believe that? Not for a minute.

That morning, six AT&T trucks drove over the accident site. Her task looked about as easy as putting Humpty Dumpty back together.

I reported to Cheryl. “We’re doing this for the long haul,” I said.

Our internet was not restored on Wednesday. Not even on Thursday. Not even on Friday.

I communicated with an AT&T robot on Saturday. Expect repairs within 24 hours, the robot said.

Liar, liar burns on fire.

Four hours later the internet service was back! We canceled our plans to go out to dinner and shadow BottleRock. We ate at home with our restored Pandora and then watched a movie.

But first we went over to inspect the crash site. It was still a mess, but AT&T had installed a hum generator. Two AT&T employees were about to call it a day.

We thanked them for their service. The guys smiled but said the generator was only a temporary solution. When the gas tank ran out, we lost our internet again. A permanent solution may not be possible until after Memorial Day weekend.

As for the cause of the crash? They had heard that the driver swerved to avoid a deer.

Seriously? They rolled their eyes. We rolled ours too.

Two hours later our internet was cut off. For us there is no Saturday night movie. But it was back on Sunday morning and stuck for the final episode of “Succession.” Yes!

Something good has come out of all of this. We were forced to revive the old tradition of reading in bed at the end of the day. Pretty. Very nice.

Cheryl still bears traces of the trauma from the accident. If vehicles can suddenly leave the roadway to avoid cyclists, deer or whatever, are we really safe on our evening walks?

Kevin can be reached at [email protected].

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