“Hi,” I said into the phone. “This is Tracy Beckerman and I …”

“Hello,” said an automated female voice. “You have reached the virtual helpline. In one or two words please say how I can help you today.”

Me: “My internet is not working.”

Automated voice: “You are having trouble with your internet. Is that correct?”

Me: “Yes.”

AV: “Okay, for WiFi press or say one. For all other technical issues, press or say two.”

Me: “One.”

AV: “Thank you. In order to get you to the right department I just need some more information. Did your husband set up the modem?”

Me: “Yes.”

AV: “Did he do it properly?”

Me: “What? Um, yes.”

AV: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

AV: “Did he read the manual? Please say yes or no.”

Me: “Um, I think so.”

AV: “Please respond yes or no.”

Me: “Um, no.”

AV: “That figures. They never do. If you agree, say yes. For all other responses, please hang up and try again.”

Me: “Yes.”

AV: “Okay. Can you locate the modem? Please say yes or no.”

Me: “Yes.”

AV: “Is your husband taking a nap? Please say yes or no.”

Me: “What does that have to do with the WiFi?”

AV: “I’m sorry I didn’t get that. Is your husband taking a nap? Please say yes or no.”

Me: “Yes, actually.”

AV: “Good. We don’t want him to come try to help and make things worse.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

AV: “Please look at the front of the modem. If you see three lights lit up, press or say one. For two lights, press or say two. For no lights, press or say three.”

Me: “Three.”

AV: “Your modem has no lights on, is that correct?”

Me: “Yes.”

AV: “Please check that the modem is plugged into the wall.”

Me: “Hold on.” (pause)

Me: “It is not plugged into the wall.”

AV: “Of course it’s not. Men, hmmph. Am I right?”

Me: “What?”

AV: “Please plug the modem into the wall. If you see three lights lit up, press or say one. For two lights, press or say two. For no lights, press or say three.”

Me: “Son of a gun. I’ve got three lights.”

AV: “Have I helped you with your problem today?”

Me: “Yes!”

AV: “Thank you for calling the virtual helpline. Please stay on the line for a short survey about any other equipment installation your husband may have messed up. And have a great day.”

You can follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyBeckerman and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage.