Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Time Without Internet

As many of you will know, I work for an actors' agency and it's based in our house.

Our telephone lines are therefore pretty crucial to us. The agency has two phone lines: one known as The Little Phone, because - - well - - because the phone on that line's always been known as The Little Phone, okay? And it's - well - smaller than the other phone. Guess what the other phone is known as? Yes, the Big Phone, which has a fax attached. Yes, I know! A fax! Ancient history!

"Could you sent me a fax confirming that?" asked a casting director recently.
"No," replied one of our actors, "because we are no longer living in the 1980s."

The Little Phone is for the actors to ring the agency, and the Big Phone is for such people as casting directors: so we want it to be kept clear for auditions coming in and suchlike.

Towards the end of last week, the Big Phone went a bit crackly and then on Monday, when people rang it, it made a sad little beep and refused to say more.

As you may imagine, even though a lot more is being done by email (yes, email! Not faxes!) these days, the Big Phone is still crucial. In a cunning bid to find out if the problem was with the phone or with the line, Stephen swapped the phones over so the Little Phone was now on the Big Phone's line and vice versa. Then we rang the Little Phone, which was now pretending to be the Big Phone, from the Big Phone, which was now pretending to be the Little Phone - - and it didn't ring.

So we now knew that the problem was with the line, not the phone, so we rang the telecoms company, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, and asked them to come and sort it out.

Telecoms Company sent what appeared to be a PFY. In the company that Stephen used to work for, this term was used as a job description and stands for Pimply-Faced Youth.

He was perfectly pleasant, though slightly prone to telling himself everything that he was doing. "I'm following the wires back now" - - that kind of thing. Sometimes he told me things too, and one of the things he told me was "The internet might go off for a little while."

"Okay," I said in a very small voice whilst quelling rising panic and thinking "NO! DON'T TAKE MY INTERNET AWAY, I BEG YOU!"

And, suddenly, there it was, gone. NO INTERNET!

I kept calm. You'd have been proud of me. I stopped working my way through the ever-full office inbox and turned my attentions to typing up the minutes of the last meeting, whilst PFY told himself, and me, about lots of other things he was doing. "I'm removing the box. I'm putting the master socket in the cellar, instead of up here". That kind of thing. To tell the truth, I don't find this kind of conversation fascinating, but I did think that I should perhaps be listening to it.

Finally, he said "That's it, I've done."

"But - - but - - " I said in tones of suppressed horror "there is still no internet."

"Ah well, I think it just needs to be reset," he said - - and as he said it, his phone rang.

Since he was standing next to me, I couldn't really help but overhear the conversation.

"So your waters have broken? How often are the contractions coming? What does the hospital say? - - Okay, I'll come straight home."

He didn't look old enough to have a girlfriend, let alone a baby, but I thought that now was not the moment to point this out.

He explained that it was their first baby, and that she had two children already, and that his parents weren't sure about it all because he was only twenty-two, but that he'd better go now and get to the hospital quickly, as her labours never lasted very long, apparently.

I wanted to say "What about my internet? I HAVE NO INTERNET! Can't she just give birth in the living-room or something whilst you make it work again?"

But instead I said "Don't forget this box with the meter in it."

He remembered the box with the meter in it and off he rushed. When I looked under the desk, I discovered that he had forgotten his toolbox.

Stephen came home from work. "NO INTERNET!" I wailed.

Stephen knows better than to ignore such wailings. They only get louder, and more frequent.

He went and looked in the cellar.

"The internet has been wired in to an old wire and the new wires have gone, so it's impossible to restore the connection" he said, quietly but with great displeasure.

He rang Telecoms Company. They would come back this afternoon. And they did. I was teaching a group of third-year medical students at the time (that's my other job, if you are now confused) and checked my phone in the break, and a little envelope had appeared to show I had email, and my happiness was complete.


I'd like to say that it opened up a whole new world to me and I rediscovered the pleasures of life without the internet but that is simply not the case, okay? If it had been a warm summer evening - - maybe. But in November a woman needs her internet and that's all there is to it.

No, I revisited Life in the Olden Days and it wasn't fun. No wonder they all died.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree - life without the Internet would not be life as we have come to know it. Dead dull, in fact.

9:51 pm  
Blogger Jan Blawat said...

One of the reasons my 25 year old son is still welcome to live "at home" (aside from a bad economy) is that he keeps the internet going. All I have to do is wail and he either fixes it himself, or calls the company and tells them what needs to be done. I don't even have the proper vocabulary to talk to the company (curse words don't work).

Lucy is right. Without the internet I suppose I'd have to learn to knit or something.

10:36 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Try switching to TalkTalk and then you'll know what it means to be tossed into the mire with no internet or indeed any landline connection for ten days! What you needed was surely a Medium Telephone.

12:13 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

Might I suggest that you colour code your phones, Daphne? So you could have the 'pink phone' and the 'green phone' etc - just to jazz things up a bit. No? Oh all-right then...
Yes, definitely, life without the internet is not good!

8:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now you know why I miss Gareth so much!

10:05 pm  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

I have to have a fax machine because that is the preferred way to send my timesheet to the supply teaching company. It clearly says fax this time sheet to xxxxxxx

11:38 am  

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