November 18th, 2003


Memes and crazy dreams

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This morning I looked out of the car window across the fields to the tips of the colleges, and the leaves and the grass were sodden, plastered with mashed-up fallen leaves, and the distant buildings loomed large and dark in the greyness of the autumn morning ... and somehow all this transported my mind back to when I was at school, and I could feel my stomach sinking and the heavy grey uniform dragging me down, and I remembered (or perhaps understood for the first time) my subconscious wish that the car journey would just go on for ever because it was an inbetween place, a place where I didn't have to be anything.
  • Current Music
    Paula Cole, "Me"

Wherever I lay my phone...

So I picked my replacement mobile phone up from the Post Office this lunchtime, and decided to leave the faffing-with-registration until the evening. At about 8:30 I phoned Orange, entered my Orange phone number on the keypad as instructed, and settled down in the mental airport waiting lounge known as "hold".

Forty minutes later, I decided this was ridiculous, and gave up. That's forty minutes of 80s-pop-Casio-backing-track punctuated (at one-minute intervals, or thereabouts) by a voice saying "We apologise for the delay. Please rest assured that your call is important to us, and we will do our utmost to answer it as soon as possible." Now, I find this monumentally irritating. If I'm on hold, I take it as read that my call is as important as anybody else's, and that the call-centre folk are going to do their best to answer it as soon as possible. What would be useful to know would be the answers to questions like: Am I in a queue? How many other people are in that queue? What's the current waiting time before my call will be answered? Is there, in fact, any cheese in this establishment at all? ... Plenty of other companies, even the (f)utility companies, manage to do this; if a phone service provider can't manage it then it's a pretty poor show.

Anyway, as I say, I gave up, and tried again at about 10:30pm. This time when I entered my Orange phone number on the keypad the voice-robot said "Sorry, your number has not been recognised. Please hold while we transfer you to a customer service adviser." Three rings later, a Real Live Human Being (or what passes for such in call-centres which appear to be largely staffed by monkeys on crack) picked up the phone.

Now all I have to do is switch my phone off for two hours (or overnight), switch it back on again, delete the two SIM update text-messages, switch the phone off for 10 seconds, switch it back on again, walk three times widdershins around it, and wait half an hour for the ban to be lifted. Piece of cake.

(Okay, I made it up about the walking widdershins. Everybody knows that you walk sunwise to invoke a SIM Update.)


In the absence of readily-available bluetooth implants, I think I am going to get my phone grafted on to my arm so I CAN'T POSSIBLY LOSE IT, even for a second. I'd rather poke my eyes out with a frozen eel than have to go through all this rigmarole again.

Update: So I switched my phone on this morning, and it said "SIM card registration failed!" I phoned Orange as soon as I got into work (and of course I had to pay for the supposedly-freephone call because I don't have a landline at work, so I had to use my 'spare' PAYG phone) and fortunately got through quickly. "It failed!" I wailed. "Well, it does take up to 24 hours for the SIM update to come through," he said. "It should be there by 11:05 tonight at the latest." Nice of them to bother telling me that yesterday, when they made it sound like it would all work as soon as I'd done the switch-off-switch-on hokey-cokey. GRRRRRRAAAHHHHHH.
  • Current Music
    the blessed silence of NO HOLD MUSIC