The men from the removals company are circling as I write, cardboard cartons and masking tape in hand, so this may be my last ‘rant’ for a while.
How long, I can’t say. If I sit here much longer, I’ll be lucky if I’m not myself, before I know it, deposited in a carton, taped up and consigned to the capacious container now sitting outside with all the rest of our worldly goods and chattels. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen or heard my wife for several hours.
I shall be ready and happy to resume writing within days of taking possession of our new house, a few miles down the road from where we are now. Unfortunately, the communications companies that provide us with our links to the Internet will not be. British Telecomm seems to be possessed by the idea that we are trying to order their service for the house we presently occupy and cancel it for the new one. This confusion arises despite numerous telephone calls in which we reiterate our needs, slowly and the kind of exaggerated enunciation of which Julie Andrews would be proud, to call-centre operators located, judging by their accents, in Bangalore or Bangladesh. The BT people are probably sitting in the same palm-fringed building alongside the people from Sky, our television provider, who seem likewise confused about what we are asking them to do.
Not that I have anything against the good people of Bangalore or Bangladesh, but it is, to say the least, frustrating trying to work out what they are saying to us, and they for their part seem equally bemused by what we are trying to say to them. I should add that the same lack of mutual comprehension due to unfathomable accents – theirs, not ours – was no less evident and may have been worse, when the Sky call centre was located in Glasgow, where English is regarded as an alien language imposed on them by an imperial oppressor; in other words, an incomprehension born not so much a matter of geography but as a point of principle.
In short, our communications providers, supposedly at the leading edge of interactive and media technologies, seem to be at the trailing edge when it comes to dealing with the customers who use them.
I imagine this is how such companies make the obscene profits they regularly report to their no doubt delighted shareholders. I may, for all I know, be one of them.
I now hear you muttering that our difficulty is an ‘age thing’; that we simply can’t keep up with the workings of the modern world. I would happily concede the point, except that several of my younger friends, techno-wizards to a fault, have had similar experiences.
It will all get sorted out in the end, I suppose. Perhaps even before my own end.
Meanwhile, do take the opportunity to read someone else’s rot. There is, after all, plenty of fake news about for your entertainment and edification. For British readers, I recommend the Daily Mail, never short of an opinion. For my American friends, there is always the New York Times, once known as the ‘gray lady’, and the self-styled newspaper of record, but now heralded, or reviled, as a self-righteous organ of the revolutionary alt-Left.
Anyway, as they say in the broadcasting business, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Wish us luck.