Tuesday, 3 November 2009
My problems with modern technology just go on and on.... because of our frequent contact over the last 4 weeks, Virgin Media and I are now on first name terms, although the name I use for VM is too rude to enter here. Loss of broadband and television (intermittent but frequent), loss of phone service (lengthy, twice).
My phonelessness was sorted yesterday, thanks to a cancellation appointment becoming available sooner than my booked one, and to the persistence of the very nice young woman from the call centre in India taking it very seriously She rang my mobile numerous times to tell me that she was still searching, and sounding genuinely pleased in the end to have found me an engineer two days earlier than expected. And for once I managed to keep my mobile charged, switched on, and somewhere where I could hear and find it.
Today, no computer. My modem appeared to be dead. But at least I had a landline again, the only means of making that triumphantly-announced "Absolutely Free!" call to VM. After going through the laborious button-pressing rigmarole to get to the bit where you can report a fault ("You now have 43 options....if your call is about hamsters nesting in your capacitator, press 1... if it's about the damp weather causing crackling on the line and frizziness in your hair, press 37... zzzz.... if you think (think!!) you may have a fault, press 43 and please don't shout at us, we're only the oppressed employees...")
So I pressed the 'think/don't shout' button, and got a message telling me that all the oppressed employees were busy, and if I held on, my call might take ten minutes to be answered. So I chose to hold on, having nothing better to do with my life, and a cup of tea to hand. And then I was given another, new, option: choose your own music to be driven demented to while you hang on and slowly lose the will to live. The recorded voice sounded proud to be offering this novel choice.
So what to choose? I felt I wasn't up to urban, hip-hop, pop, techno, house or supermarket-ambient, and predictably chose classical. I could just cope with speeded-up electronic renditions of Mozart's greatest hits, having encountered them so many times when making internal calls at the Civic Centre. But no - what I got was vague themes from the classics, jazzed/popped/hiphopped up with accompanying crackles and electronic plinky-plonkiness, and I'm sure some of those tunes were actually film music, or maybe even thinly-disguised soap opera, and not Wolfgang Amadeus and his chums being murdered.
Thankfully, it was still just audible enough, without causing significant brain damage, if the phone was tucked inside my clothing while I carried on with my daily life, feeding the cats, medicating the dog, having breakfast, answering the door to the postman (ooh, my first birthday present this year! a tantalising 44 days early!) until I finally got a human being, a cheerful chap from Liverpool, on the other end of the line.
After I had obeyed his instructions, which entailed undignified crawling about under my desk, disturbing the tangled heaps of cables, not to mention the hamsters nesting in the capacitator, and I had swapped cable ends around, the modem was pronounced Dead. A new one could be couriered (is that a verb now?) which might take till Saturday, or an engineer could bring one round. On Friday afternoon. No contest then, it being Tuesday today. Let's take the speedy option.
I would have to send an email from a neighbour's computer to all those people who might still think I was without a phone, to tell them I wasn't ignoring their emails, and that I wasn't dead behind the door either, being eaten by my pets, my absence unnoticed for weeks, but no one was home this morning. No one to whine to about my email lifeline being brutally withdrawn till Friday! I would have to face this crisis alone.
But hours later when I went back upstairs, I saw that the modem had flickered feebly into life. I'd like to think it was the nesting hamsters that did it, out of pity. But I shall await the new modem, and the next, inevitable, VM service breakdown.
If you are calling to express sympathy, press #. Your call may be placed in a queue.....
Posted by rachel at 13:46