Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Cut off

Is it just me, or does everyone hesitate for months, if not years, before changing broadband supplier? The fear of being disconnected from the cyber-world; the possibility of lost messages and, with them, opportunities (even if only for the sharing of a bad joke or two); the logistics of communicating a new email address to one’s myriad contacts. All of these are deterrent enough, but the clincher for me has always been the necessity of prising a MAC code from the reluctant grasp of one’s existing internet provider. Without this sequence of letters and numbers, a new provider will not have authority to set up their service for me.

As we live in a cut-throat capitalist trading environment—even if some of us are (heresy of heresies) wondering whether Marx might just have had a point, at least about the dehumanising effects of unfettered market economics—it was to be expected that my existing provider would not divulge my MAC code straight away, although I have a right at law to be supplied with the jolly thing within five days. The first person I spoke to, after having had my right ear and corresponding brain regions bathed in musical banality for several minutes, subjected me to a range of questions designed to draw me out on the reasons why I wanted to change provider. When I refused to discuss the matter but insisted on my legal right to be given the liberating code, the call was terminated. Pretty fishy, I think you will agree; very annoying certainly.

Mercifully it did not take too long to reach someone more amenable. Even though she managed to get as far as offering me a slightly better deal than my present one, nevertheless I managed to secure a promise that the MAC code would be with me shortly.

My wife and I saw someone else being cut off earlier in the day, when we walked by the river in the increasing warmth of the afternoon. As we witnessed around this time last year, the river can flood its embankment at Twickenham, even if the water does not reach the epic levels recorded in the early twentieth century.

The driver of this car rounded the flooded corner with a bit too much élan, stirring up a considerable wash that brought the waters nearly to my feet (the tide had until that point reached the ripples visible across the reflection of the church tower). He also succeeded in forcing dirty water into parts of his engine where it was not welcome. The engine objected and refused to restart.

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