Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Some people…



I had one of those pesky con artists, this time claiming to be from the Spark Security office (Spark is NZ’s largest ISP) informing me that there was a problem with my internet connection and it would need to be shut down, however if I cooperated the issue could be fixed on the spot. As usual, I let the caller lead me through the various steps of trying to gain control of my computer. As typically happens, she incorrectly assumed I was using Windows (I was asked to describe the key to the right of the left Ctrl key) and we spent a fruitless half hour trying to bring up the Run command box. However as I run a variant of Linux, that’s not an option.

Finally she attempted to get me to download and install a remote desktop application, on this occasion AnyDesk, usually it’s TeamViewer. It was at this point that let her know I wasn’t entirely stupid and needed verification that she was indeed who she said she was. We then spent another twenty-five minutes discussing or perhaps arguing about her credential. Strangely, when I told her that so far this year I’d had at least ten hoax internet related calls she tried the “not everyone is evil, so you should be more trusting”. Yeah right.

We spent another twenty or so minutes while she tried to persuade me that all I needed to do was trust her, and I insisted I wasn’t able to do that. She finally gave up after (for her) a frustrating fifty-four minutes. I despise the actions of such individuals. I’m not going to judge the person as harshly as I don’t know their circumstances, but attempting to fleece someone simply because one can is surely a marker of one’s contempt for others.


The Wife and I went to our usual barber/hair stylist for haircuts plus a beard trim for me. He’s a very sociable guy who seems to be able to encourage his clients to chat about all and nothing. The Wife had her hair done first and the room filled with loud and very public conversation between her and Ihaia (the barber) including politics (NZ and the US), families (his and ours), the weather (it’s been atrocious today), and of course Covid (especially the regarding deniers and anti-vaxers). Even I am able to participate although perhaps less fluidly than other customers, and always privately. During my time in the chair, I happened to mention that yesterday was our fiftieth wedding anniversary.

Afterwards, as the Wife was about to take out her EFTPOS card Ihaia told her to put it away as the haircuts were on him. When the Wife asked why, he said it was a fiftieth anniversary gift. Obviously, she hadn’t heard my conversation with him. While the Wife almost broke his neck in a heartfelt hug, the other customer clapped and cheered. Now that’s a good feeling.


While I’ve been at the receiving end of abuse for much of my life, I understand why. Most people are able to empathise only with what is familiar to them. They have no way of understanding what an autistic person experiences – hell, even many so called autism experts have no clue – so they judge my behaviour in neurotypical terms. Making allowances for that, I find most (but not all) are kind and generous.

Then there are the few who have little or no interest in the well being of others, and seem to have utter contempt for them. One being the former POTUS and another being yesterday’s “Spark security officer”. Fortunately I’ve never met one in person. They either arrive in news items, by email or telephone, always from a location outside of Aotearoa. It’s only since the internet has become ubiquitous that I have had personally experienced scam attempts. I wonder if this says something about the internet, or modern society, or is it simply a reflection of the fact that I’m fortunate to have been born in the least corrupt nation on earth?

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

6 thoughts on “Some people…

  1. I think you’re fortunate to have been born in the least corrupt nation on earth. Had the ancient Romans possessed the internet, I think they would have abused each other with it in the same way.

    • Perhaps what has changed is the anonymity that the internet can provide, especially across international borders, and the limitations of law enforcement across those borders provides, more opportunity for con artists and scammers to act in relative safety.

  2. I guess the happy part of your internet story is you made the scammer give up a huge chunk of her time. I’m sure that cut into her productivity rating and maybe she didn’t get her bonus. Happy anniversary. Fifty years is a very long time. You must know something about people.

    • I make a practice of occupying scammers “productive” time as much as I possibly can. My reasoning is that while they are dealing with me they will have less opportunity to scam those whose understanding of the internet is more basic than mine. I’ve been working in the I.T. industry since 1967 and in computing since 1974. That gives me an advantage most people don’t have – including the scammers. The least I can do is help protect a few people who are more vulnerable than I.

      As to knowing something about people, all I really know is that they are mysterious and unpredictable. Perhaps this is my specific way, as an autistic person, of adapting to a non-autistic human society that is in many ways quite hostile to those who are neurodivergent.

      That even includes the Wife. I still make new discoveries about her regularly, even after spending the best part of my life with her. Perhaps the secret of my success is that I take all the knowledge and ideas I have as being tentative. Nothing is absolute or set in concrete. This especially applies to perceptions and particularly one’s perceptions of others.

  3. I do the same to phone and computer scammers, however I make a dramatic shriek like explanation and thank them profusely for notifying me. I then pretend to be deafer and have poor computer knowledge than I really have so they waste more time repeating everything.

    The internet was the creator of the Trump presidency and the cult that follows him.

    In 2019, the United States ranked 3rd in the world for the number of internet users (behind China and India), with 312.32 million users. As of 2019, 90% of adults in America use the internet, either irregularly or frequently. (wikipedia)

    It cannot be any clearer than that.

    • Aotearoa has a slightly higher internet usage rate than the US. Depending on the source, 93% or 95% of the population. Wikipedia says 93% as at Jan 2020. We also have a slightly higher percentage of households with a permanent broadband connection. Speedwise, we do much better. I’m in a rural town (pop. 14,000) and have a Gb connection (actually 980 Mb downstream and 490 Mb upstream). We have an advantage in that central government is covering the capital cost of providing a high speed Gb fibre network across the country, complemented with wireless broadband (500 Mb) in rural areas where fibre isn’t economically viable.

      The best I’ve managed to string along a scammer is 97 minutes, and I consider it a failure if the call lasts less than 45 minutes. I often wonder if the callers think of what they’re doing is just a job and whether they ever consider the circumstances of their victims.

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