Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Internet Down

We had no broadband for five days.

Five.  Days.

Say it slowly and feel my pain.

In a house populated by a stomping teenager ("what do you mean I can't use Google translate to do my Irish homework?? That's so not fair!!"), an almost-12 year old having anxiety attacks in case her Moshi monsters die and an autie kid suffering delirium tremens YouTube withdrawal symptoms, we were in for a rough week.

Having my self-esteem suffer and perish at the hands of over-the-phone engineers in the past, I put off phoning the broadband helpline for as long as possible.
I can change a plug and open a tin of beans but beyond that, my technical abilities implode like a black hole of happy electrical ignorance.  I apologise to all my bra-burning feminist sisters when I admit that I am more than happy to leave all that hammer and drill boy-stuff to...well, the boys.

I held out for 2 whole days.

My children have stumbled on a highly effective method of torture, which coupled with the refrain "are we there yet???" serve to crumble the resolve of the toughest, most battle-scarred  parent.  Eventually, my shattered nerves could no longer withstand the constant chorus of "We're bored!  We're reeeeeally borrrrrred!  We're soooooooooo BOOOOOORRRREED!!!".  
Added to the sad fact that I'm not actually tough, I cracked like an egg.

With trembling hands, and against a backdrop of screeching feral children, I rang the helpline.

I even got to speak to a real human, after several dizzy minutes of having to select incomprehensible automated options.  In my giddy relief at speaking to an actual life-form, I forgot that he was about to eviscerate my self-worth with a torrent of technical questions.

He was especially evil, though.
He lulled me into a false sense of security by asking me to switch the modem off and on.
Easy peasy.
He then asked me to re-set the modem.
Slightly trickier, but he talked me through it and I dared to wonder what I had been so anxious about.
Then he circled in for the kill.
"Is it a short or a long cable?"
There was one cable jammed into the modem, which to my expert eyes appeared... well, cable-length.  And anyway, isn't length relative?  I mean, while it appeared cable-length to me, to a fruit fly it would seem frighteningly long but to a blue whale it would appear really, really short.  I elected to perch on my favourite fence and squeaked "medium".
"OK, I want you to unplug the yellow lead and plug it into another phone socket"
The single grey cable mocked me with it's sullen lack of yellowness.  I informed the engineer of it's lack of sunshiney colour.
Judgmental silence followed.
I willed the cable to change colour but, oddly, it resisted my psychic powers.
"OK" he said slowly "just plug it into another socket".
But where in the name of Jehovah and all the baby lambs would I find another phone socket?  I knew we had some, but their exact location eluded me.  I sprinted around the house armed with my sulky modem and it's disappointingly grey wiring, searching under beds and behind wardrobes for a socket to plug it in.  I could have won outright first place as Worst Contestant Ever in the Crystal Maze. I pictured the engineer rolling his eyes and wondering who allowed this woman out of the kitchen. Finally, breathless and sweating, I found it, plugged it in and waited for the lights to start flashing.

Which they didn't.

"It's still not working" I wailed, shaking, but also relived that my ordeal must finally be at an end.
But there was more.

"I want you to disconnect all landlines and I'll call you on your mobile with further instructions"
But I could take no more.
Shame-faced with defeat I mumbled "my husband will call you tomorrow".
"That might be best".

I might as well have poked Emily Pankhurst and Germaine Greer with pointy sticks while laughing at the silly notion of women breaking glass ceilings and voting and stuff.

I also couldn't help feeling a twinge of nostalgia for simpler, pre-internet days and wondered what exactly do people have against carrier pigeons and smoke signals.


  1. I might be a feminist, but I can't fathom drill-related things either, I'm with you on this one, though technical stuff I can manage a bit better, so long as they go VERY SLOWLY x

  2. Been there, done that. My kid would have been catatonic without the internet!

  3. That might be best!! I would have killed him. I will
    lend you a carrier pigeon though I warn you, you will need to build a dovecote.

  4. Egads! No internet for more than a few hours?? I think I'd have packed up and stayed with my parents till it was fixed!
    I'm rather lucky that I'm pretty savvy when it comes to checking things out. My time working for "BT Business Broadband Support can I take your broadband telephone number..." has stood me in good stead, no doubt!
    So I'm one of the ones who goes all tech-chat with the guys and harps on about the latest games on the market while we wait for things to reset etc.
    No internet... five days... *shudders*

  5. How on earth did you cope with 5 days without internet?! I have so been there with regards to phoning these helplines, I tell them I'm a technophobe please speak slowly!! In my case I can't hand it over to himself as that wouldn't solve a thing. Sad to say I'm the computer 'expert' in this house!! Although thankfully my WiiBoy is catching up.

    xx Jazzy