Saturday, 8 September 2012

Things We Learned: Before 3G was Invented.

Another old diary entry, written in February 2004, whilst I was still a student at university.

The thing I like most about this is that it was quite obviously the first time we'd had to deal with a broken modem, and things like helplines. Nowadays, being held in queues and passed between pillar and post is sort of the norm. Back then, as unassuming 20 year olds, it was pretty new to us. Reading back this account of us trying to negotiate our way through a maze of people who weren't ready to snap their fingers and solve things for us and trying to be adults whilst doing it makes me laugh.

I think we probably all remember a time like this, when the Internet wouldn't work and there was nothing for it but to rejoin the real world, talk to each other, and spend hours on the phone trying desperately to get someone to fix it and make everything okay again.

I’m resorting to writing in Microsoft Word as our Internet has been down for three days now. It’s getting to Kate, Tazz and I (aka the ones who don’t have much better to do than sit around shopping online, checking our e-mails a hundred times a day and chatting to people on MSN), me the most severely.  The first day was okay; we assumed that the network was just down for a bit, it does that occasionally. We reset the router (which lives in the cupboard under the stairs) a couple of times and actually unplugged and replugged it once or twice. The second day we all started to panic a bit. Cue the trying to log in ten thousand times every hour, and Kate taking up refuge on top of the freezer (also in the cupboard under the stairs) staring up at the modem hopelessly. I escaped to the library for a bit to check my emails there and ran into Dan…we ended up going to lunch and I forgot about it again. Today I have broken out into a sweat and started rocking back and forth.  And worse, I have become addicted to two-suit Spider Solitaire. Which is nigh on impossible, by the way. I took matters into my own hands while I was killing time before I had to leave for work this morning, and called the BT help line, got stuck in a queue for twenty minutes, during which time I memorised the automated ‘you are being held in a queue’ message and started repeating it back at the phone. When I got through, the woman told me to ring some other number. So I did that this evening and they told me to ring the makers of the modem. They then failed to come up with a telephone number for the makers of the modem so I got told to ring our landlord. Which we did yesterday, before I’d even rung BT. Bloody bastards. They just take you round in pointless circles. It’s like Kate said the other week after being stuck on the line to T-Mobile for half a century before being messed about totally by a stupid woman from Birmingham: they shouldn’t be called help lines. Just lines.

In the meantime, I am being left here to go quietly insane. I didn’t realise how much of a hold the Internet has over my life. Well, I did, but you tend to take it for granted, after it’s become habit to get up in the morning, connect and stay connected for most of the day during the last year and a half. And because it’s just been sitting there welcoming me into its open arms for ages, you just incorporate it into your life. Half my friends I keep in regular contact with over the net. Mainly because they too have Broadband in their rooms, so it’s just easier to keep tabs on each other that way rather than ringing or texting. We Uni people use it to make plans because having MSN conversations that are linked to here, St Swithuns, Erasmus Park and West Downs all at once is easier than making six separate phone calls. People from back home like Leon, Alex and Stuart I keep in touch with over the Internet. In fact, I’m kind of insulted that I haven’t had worried phone calls checking I’m still breathing. When Leon’s broadband broke the other week I rang him up to check he was alive. Honestly!