One month after purchasing my mega-laptop, a Lenovo Thinkpad T420s that, once it arrived, had delighted, amazed, and amused me, it died. It was a sudden death, apparently caused by a fried motherboard, which is apparently a known issue with this machine (note to self: search for “known issues” next time).

These days, when you call technical support, you never really know what to expect. Will my problem be solved or will I walk away frustrated and confused? You never really know.

And indeed, today, I was left frustrated and confused when I learned that a) the motherboard on my brand-new, 29-day-old laptop had died, b) there were no motherboards in stock, c) there was no estimated arrival time for the motherboards, and d) any further assistance had to be found in a completely different department, which wouldn’t even have my case information until “at least” tomorrow.

So of course, I called that other department anyway, because I don’t believe in accepting “no” as an answer. And the kind of support I received at that department was quite different from what I expected.

The shipping/receiving customer support guy, Larry, patiently explained the entire process to me. Because I paid for priority, on-site technical support (for exactly this reason), I’m at the top of the list for the first motherboard they find. They might find it today, in which case, the tech will come tomorrow and fix my computer. Or maybe they won’t find a motherboard in all of North America, and I’ll have to wait until after the first of the year.

Larry’s probably the best customer support guy I’ve ever talked to, actually. He was unquestionably the most patient, and answered every “what if” question I had with one of the kindest, most soothing voices I’ve ever heard.

When I’d exhausted my list of questions, and finally sighed and said, “Larry, I’m just frustrated. I have work to do,” Larry said, “I know. I’m really sorry there’s not more that I can do. But the motherboard will arrive soon. Maybe there’s a reason this happened. Maybe you needed to take today off and clear your head.”

If anybody else had said that to me, I might’ve found it kind of presumptuous and a little offensive. But from Larry, with his calming voice, I found it pleasant and actually felt supported by customer support. And I have to admit that when I came into the office to work this morning, I felt reluctant.

It’s snowing for the first time this season and my family is downstairs, snuggled up on the sofa with the Christmas tree lit and a fire blazing. There’s talk of a snowball fight later. Truth is, I wanted to be with them today, but I have client meetings coming and prep work to do, plus a whole lot of writing to catch up on, so the pressure made me tear myself away from my family to get some work done.

But you know what? Maybe Larry’s right. Maybe I do need to take some more time off and clear my head. Would the start of the new year be easier if I had all my files and could spend a few morning hours working this week? Maybe. But for now, I can reschedule client meetings and the writing will be there when I have the laptop back.

So today, as I write this and can hear my husband and stepdaughter giggling in the snow outside, I choose to see things as Larry suggested. Maybe there is a reason my laptop isn’t working today. I’m going to go find out.

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