Disconnected!November 3, 2011
Last week my phone line went down. I should’ve seen the signs. My email and browser had been working intermittently for a while, but on Wednesday night they finally gave up the ghost and stopped altogether. I checked my router, then my line. The box was fine, but the line was not. I called BT on my mobile (ker-ching!) to report the fault to an automated service (natch) and was assured it would be sorted out within three days. Three days! I’d been without t’internet for 20 minutes and I was already climbing the walls. You don’t realise how much you rely on email and an Internet connection, until you can no longer receive it.
A friend suggested I use an Internet café, or the local library, until the line was fixed. Are you kidding?! Packed like sardines, next to goodness knows who, at a keyboard that’s been used by thousands of people, with no privacy whatsoever? And if it’s a library, they’re no longer places of silence and solace. My nearest one is totally open plan with a (usually noisy) children’s corner. If you’re unlucky enough to be placed at a computer close to that area, you can’t concentrate. I’m not doing that. As I don’t own an iPhone/iPad/whatever so I can be a roaming net head, I prepared for cold turkey.
The day after my original report to BT, I received a text cheerfully telling me the line would be fixed by no later than Monday. That’s three days later than originally promised. It also meant a weekend without email and Internet. If I were a smoker, I’d have been hitting the Marlboros hard. On Friday, while I was at work, I received a voice message on the mobile telling me an engineer would be coming to my home on Tuesday morning. One more day without Internet – terrific. I was to call a number from my landline (which wasn’t working!), or a special number for mobile phones, to confirm or cancel the appointment. Apparently, if the engineer arrives and finds the line to be OK, I would be charged the princely sum of £130.00 for a false callout! So I called the number for the mobile, only to be told by yet another automated message that the number didn’t work on my pigging network! Staring into the bottom of a whiskey glass after several shots, Don Draper style, suddenly became a very appealing proposition – and I can’t stand whiskey.
I was sooo looking forward to my weekend without Internet. I needed to find other things to do: there’s a limit to the amount of ice-skating practice a Pie can do. Maybe I could start knitting yoghurt. It was Saturday afternoon when I decided to pick up my phone to hear the silence of a dead line once again, just for a laugh. But what I heard instead was the familiar burr… my phone had reconnected! Tentatively, I opened up my email and fired up Firefox. All hail the Internet! It’s back, and so am I. No Marlboros or whiskey required.
The final thing I had to do was call BT to cancel the engineer. I got through to a call centre in India and spoke to a lady. She was working to script, of course, but she was so sincere and polite I just went with it. Not only was the appointment with the engineer cancelled, I was promised a rebate on my next bill as I had lost four days on my line. And at the time of posting, I’m still connected to cyberspace – result!