google spelled on letter cubes

Mr Google and Me

I hope you enjoy this song while reading the post.

Last week I crashed into an invisible wall. I never thought I’d be standing there, tearing my hair out, grieving, but there I was—separated from parts of my own life. Everything I owned was a phone number away, and I no longer had that number. Standing desperately outside that invisible room called the server, the longer I thought, the more things I remembered that were locked in there.
When I discovered that Google had booted me out of my account, I thought it was an easily solved problem. Optimistic as I am, I was sure that my Youtube channel, all my writing projects, finished writing assignments, including the draft of my memoir, my mail and my 20 years of collection of photos were only a few steps away.  First, when I turned to my oracle, Miss YouTube, my school of self-education, which has the answer to almost everything, I saw the depth of the muddy water I was in. This time, YouTube had a reality orientation function. It took away my hope.
Slowly but surely, the seriousness sank in, and the sadness set in. 

“How could I forget to register my new mobile number in the two-step verification?” All this mess from missing such a simple step.

The post continues below, but I hope you enjoy this vibe while continuing.

Just letting go

I knew I had to let go, but that was easier said than done. I filled out a form and sent it to Google Support. I checked Google’s offices. They had an office in Oslo, but only an address with no contact information. I found a US support number, called it, and was greeted by the incredible Mr AI, who asked me questions and delegated me to the pages I had already been to. I stood in front of the faceless Mr Google and oscillated between a train of thoughts:

“How does the older generation experience the rapid development of society, when even we who are somewhat used to it cannot keep up with the changes?” to “What was most valuable from everything lost? Was it my pictures? Memories of my son’s childhood and all our travels? Was it my texts and memoir that I had spent so much time on? Was it the YouTube channel and all the time spent editing videos and interviewing people?”

I just couldn’t give up, so I created a new email address. “Perhaps the recovery code could be sent to that than my old phone number?” No luck and this time really kicked out.
“Your repeated attempts have failed. Your account is now locked. Please try again after 48 hours.”
There was nothing else to do but obey and take the night off, but the next day I tried again with a new solution.

Holding the line

I called my phone company and was finally greeted by a human being.  The lovely young lady listened to my despair and asked me to hold the line.
“Due to privacy, I can not state who owns your old number,” came the reply after some waiting.
“Could you please contact that person, explain the situation and give him or her my mobile number and ask that person to call me?”

“Just hold the line while I check ….and me holding ……Your old phone number is still available. We can credate a SIM card with your old number. Of course, you don’t have to pay for it, as long as you cancel that number within a month.”
Super grateful, I thanked the sympathetic lady but the loop of “what, if and blah blah” was spiraling in my head.  
“What if there are more problems and even that doesn’t help?” 

Heading to the city, I went straight to Google’s office. In a super modern premises, in a chic part of Oslo, I was met by a Googler. The human Googler was made of stone and was good at repeating herself: “Google is a free service. Unfortunately, we cannot help you. I cannot retrieve our employees due to privacy, unfortunately that’s how the system is. “

Taking out my battle-ax

The Googler’s stone face and monotone tone triggered my built-up frustration. I wanted to take out my battle ax and hack her to pieces, but where would that lead me?

“You know, I have worked in the system. Granted, in a different system than a tech company, but I know anything is possible. It just depends on who you meet in the system. There are people in the system who are helpful, and then you have the rule riders who are blinded by the rules. Which of the two groups do you fall under, I wonder?” I commented before going to pick up the SIM card with my old number. My last solution!

To make a long story short and spare you the details of activating the SIM card (another painful process), I was allowed into my Google account after 24 hours of hell. Thanks to the empathetic young lady at the telecommunications company.

After this experience, I recalled when I was working as a freelance journalist. One day, the newspaper editor wanted us to write an article on digital warfare. Another journalist was assigned to that task, which I was super happy about. I was not interested in the subject, nor did I understand the dimension of it. 
Today, 15 years later, I see that our editor was ahead of his time. Even though I love our digital age, I see how dependent we have become on societal development.  A few examples include the Western world’s banking systems, hospitals, and communications technology. How are they running today, and what happens if a country’s digital system is out of action? What happens, then?

If you haven’t read my colleague’s post “Great First Lines“, you should check it out, and thanks for following the Wise and Shine community. You are also welcome to visit and follow my blog

12 thoughts on “Mr Google and Me

    1. It was an awful experience and an eye-opener. I wish no one that journey of a nightmare. And I felt so smart when I came up with the old phone number solution and was lucky to meet that Nice lady (the telecompany. ) Thanks by the way 🙏

  1. Internet infrastructure is a global resource. Humanity is now heavily dependent on clever codes.

    Finally, the walls of Jericho fell due to persistence

    1. Exactly; personally, I am a fan of digital technology and its resources.
      It has made the world smaller and makes us see how we depend on each other. We are a human family, but when we become so dependent on it, it has its downsides.

  2. Sorry you had to go through that but giant congratulations to you for getting a solution! Wow! 🤯 Those big tech companies seem impossible to really communicate with when you have a problem. Remarkable story!

    1. I now learned that all the big companies that offer free services, like Google, make their money in other areas. Just like the Oslo office, they work to sell Google services to other large companies, and most likely, those companies get a little more help when they get stuck.
      So the service for us (who use Google for free) is not their priority.
      Millions of us use Google, so it doesn’t pay off financially (as was written in the article I hyperlinked in the post)
      The fact that it is not easy to restore an account is due to privacy and security.
      At least, that’s what they say outwardly. It’s nice that they take our privacy and security seriously, but I believe there is a lot of economic thinking in it, too. Thanks for reading and your comment, Todd!

  3. Wow, I love how this experience, as awful as it was, resulted in these amazing questions, ““How does the older generation experience the rapid development of society, when even we who are somewhat used to it cannot keep up with the changes? to “What was most valuable from everything lost?”

    Such a huge moment of truth. I’m so glad it worked out. And thanks for the shout out, Parisa! Sorry for the time it cost but I appreciate you sharing it with us.

    1. A journey to H* and back but it worked out well. It is all about asking the right question I have learned but those two arose intuitively from despair. 😃Thank you for reading it☺️and for your comment.

  4. “Hey there! Just wanted to share that I’ve successfully canceled my YouTube TV subscription using the steps mentioned here. It was really straightforward and saved me from unnecessary charges. If you’re thinking of Cancel youtube tv subscription too, give it a go!

    1. Thanks for the link. I am not sure IF i want to cancel it since I got a YouTube channel, unless there are some other options out there like YouTube plattform?

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