My son’s friend rings Yahoo1 back. His mother goes into the living room and starts reading myThreeMileHarborbook, by Sylvia Mendelman, a very good read with pictures, about localEast Hamptonhistory. She is engrossed and carries it and a cup of coffee out to the back deck. I want to follow her, with my own now cold coffee, but feel guilty for leaving the phone area. My son’s friend is punching in numbers madly and checking my laptop on the counter and cell phone, all at the same time. “Go relax, I’ll call you when I get them back on the line..” he says to me. “Ok,” I say, and walk outside, feeling guilty.
“I need you!” he calls to me through the screen door. I run inside to the phone, assuming my answering questions position. “What is your oldest cousin’s name?” Again? “Listen,” my son’s friend says, “she already told you and you did not accept the only answer she knows. Sam, is her oldest cousin’s name. Ask another question and do not hang up on me.” I am listening closely. We have the new rep, now, a man, on speaker phone. “How many cousins do you have?” What?! We all gasp. Then laugh. Really? My son’s friend looks at me. I am a deer in the headlights. I want to be right and I want him to go to the beach with his mother. “I don’t have any idea,” I say. “ You want me to start adding them all up? Second and third cousins too?”
My son’s friend looks disgustingly at the phone, leans in and says, “36. She has 36 cousins.” Silence. “Wrong answer,” says the rep.
“Put your supervisor on the phone, now,” says my son’s friend, none too sweetly now. “This has gone on far too long.” Silence.
“One more question first,” says the rep. “Fine,” says my son’s friend.
“Who is your childhood hero?” I am excited. I know this one. There is only one answer. “Johnny Quest!” Do I win? Oh, this is not a game show, I remember. “Who is Johhny Quest?” asks my friend. “There is no way anyone hacked into that answer for you,” says my husband. “Really?” I look at him.
The rep clears his throat. “Johnny Quest is the right answer. “Yay!” the whole kitchen claps and my friend jumps up and down.
“Please send a new password to her now,” says my son’s friend.
The Yahoo! rep wants us to hang up and try the password. “No way,” says my son’s friend. “We will hold the line and try it. Do not hang up on me!” he says quite forcefully. Is this the same kid who used to chew his shirt out in left field? I am so happy he volunteered to help me on a summer day when he should be at the beach. Kids really do grow up lovely. My friend did a good job there.
The password does not work. “What is your oldest cousin’s name?” comes up again on the screen of my laptop. My son’s friend groans. I groan. Everyone in the kitchen groans.
“Listen to me,” says my son’s friend, “you have to fix this now and I am not hanging up until you do. Send another password to my account, for her. Now.” The rep says I have to answer the question first. “No more questions!” says my son’s friend. The one question she got right already should be enough. This is your fault, not hers.” Click. “Holy shit,” my son’s friend says, “they hung up on me again.” I say a few choice swear words, apologizing to my son’s friend, though he has heard these words before.
Enough, I think. We are losing beach time for them and I have a pressing appointment inSag Harbor. Where is Johhny Quest when you need him? I would have a few words for Haji if I could speak to him now. Very disappointed in your people, I would say. And I am a fan ofIndia.
My son’s friend won’t give up! He punches in the Yahoo!
number again. He retells the whole story. “This has gone on long enough. Give me a supervisor. And she is not answering anymore security questions.” He is very stern and serious. If I were that rep, I would get him a supervisor at once. “We need 5 to 10 business days to fix this problem,” says the rep. “No, unacceptable,” says my son’s friend. “ She has been without her e mails and her work is suffering, fix it now, I’ll hold the line.” Click. “Are you kidding me? They f****** hung up on me again!” says my son’s friend. Has his beard gotten longer in these two hours? I wonder, looking at him. Did he have a beard when he came in? “Go to the beach, enjoy your vacation,” I say to him and his mother, who is back inside holding theThreeMileHarborbook close to her. “Take that book with you,” I say.