Monday, March 24, 2008

How my email was kidnapped by China.

OK, so I’m just checking, but so far the things I’ve been writing here are NOT in Chinese, right? I haven’t rocked the mandarin or jammed in Cantonese, right? The reason I’m asking is on Friday my correct email password spontaneously refused to be correct, and when I traipsed, la,la,la into the “forgot your password?” part I discovered that my secret question was 母亲的出生地. Which is “where was your mother born?”, which is a secret question that I never, ever use because my Mom was born in Ames, and that’s too few characters to use. Oh, and also that is CHINESE!

That is a moment where you become very aware that stuff is not at all right. Badness has come and camped out in your front yard, smoking clove cigarettes and cooking leftover fish in your microwave oven. SO not right!

I send an email to the loving and caring people at the email help center saying, roughly, “crap, crap, help because badness and also augh because help with I CAN’T GET INTO MY EMAIL!!! And I'm NOT Chinese, NOT Chinese, I’m very un-chinese but my email is all Chinese now, which BAD, help HELP and gibbergibbergibber help MEEEEEEEE!” They replied with first the classic automated reply (“hey, you should totally try to do the “Forgot your password?” thing because that would definitely fix everything, and thanks for asking. Have a super day.”) and then a real person’s reply. Real Dude (because who knows, maybe he’s innocent and worthy of protection too?) said basically that he totally believed me, wanted oh so very much to help me and would even give me a big, squishy hug if he weren’t somewhere on the other side of the globe.

Real Dude goes on to say that they also have to be careful about privacy and security and so before he can help me I’ll just need to answer a question or two. Or 17. (not kidding even a little bit – 17 questions.) OK, that makes sense to me. So I answer the questions (what’s the email address? What’s my birthdate? What size bra do I wear? When was my last bm? If a train leaves Houston, going north, at 4pm and a plane leaves San Francisco at the same time who the hell cares?) and send off the answers, and eagerly await my email of deliverance, saving me from my hacking nightmare. But then I’m thinking “well crap, if Senior CrapWeasel has changed my password and my security information I’m sure he/she has changed pretty much everything else! So how the hell will helpful Real Dude be able to tell anything from my list? Mayhaps I have stopped panicking a little too early?

Long story short, Real Dude was totally THE MAN and he totally believed me and sent me magical links that let me back into my email and ALL IS WELL! Well, all is better. I seriously do not speak, read, understand or remotely grok Chinese, which is only an issue because that’s still the language everything is showing up in. And funny thing: when you ask for help to change the language setting everyone gives you the steps, but they seem to forget that all the buttons are in Chinese. Which (hate to keep harping on this) I CAN’T READ, so how do I tell which button to push or which item on the drop-down menu to select? Hello? Sigh. Wish me 运气.

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