The internet died. I fired up the iBook as usual. Nothing. So I went to the little diagnosis thingy. Three greens. “Houston, we are go for launch.” Then I saw the two lights that Houston are responsible for. They were a menacing red. That meant I had to talk to Cheerful Lady.. I’d talked to her before. I have to talk to her every time the internet dies. This was the second time in a month. Cheerful Lady has a voice like a dental drill and a touching, but spurious, tone which suggests that there are cohorts of engineers, ready to stride into battle on my behalf.
“If yew wunt to hear about are latist offers, pleeze press wan; if yew wunt to pay yore beel, press two….”
I waited for option six “ if yew are having a few slight ishooz…”
Then I listened to the scratchy rendition of Vivaldi”s Four Seasons for five minutes, until…damn ! I’d forgotten..
“We can get yew help more quickly if yew press the…third letter of your password on your telephone keypad…and now the fifth letter…”
Password ? What password ? I forgot my internet password the moment the bloke set it up four years ago…I don’t remember passwords…half the time I can’t remember my own name…
I scrabbled in my desk to find the tattered cribsheet where all my passwords are written down…Why did I have a password for a petfood company ? Why was it “bonzodog” ?
When I went back to the phone Cheerful Lady had hung up, which was sad because her call was really important to me.
I re-dialled ,went through the voicemail tree all over again, and ended up talking to someone who sounded suspiciously like a real human being.
“There’s been an impediment.”
“An impediment on the line. We are working on it”
I suddenly saw the internet as a huge Victorian railway tunnel, with a horde of sturdy navvies in waistcoats and flat caps, hurrying into the darkness to remove a wagon loaded with offers to increase the size of your bank balance, or a part of your anatomy.
“ Will it last long, the impediment ?”
“It might cause an intermittent interruption over the next few days.”
“An intermittent impediment”
“ That’s right.”
“ Sir…would you like a discount on your next bill ?
All my irritation faded in a moment. He was a real human being, all right- dealing with the fifty seventh old buffer who’d phoned to complain in the last hour.
“ Thank you, “ I said, “ That would be nice”
I’m going to post this now- quickly- before the impediment returns.