My relations with the ol’ internets are a little shaky right now. Yes, I neglected their vast pipe-y goodness when I was in Seattle in late October, but that’s because I was running around like crazy trying to get ready for No Really, You’re Going to Live in London – This Is Not a Drill. I was less anxious than the first run, but there was also more to do. Something had to give…sorry, Net. I still love you.
Then I got to London, and immediately went into Must…Find…Flat mode. That took two weeks of much ugliness, and I knew if I sent any kind of communication out into the world, several people would send rescue parties. And I didn’t want to be rescued, I just wanted to find a flat that wasn’t soul-sucking shabby beige with only one “stylish” element: a frosted zebra-patterned mirror that was, ladies and gentlemen, a portal to the 80s. Seriously. I stuck my arm through and pulled it back out with a Swatch strapped to my wrist.
Then I found the Flat That Made Me Very Happy. So now I’m very happy, albeit without internet access at home. The degree of complication involved in getting broadband set up is, well, extreme. And it involves dealing with BT (British Telephone, or, as I like to call them, Central Services), which…okay, imagine your worst customer service experience ever. I mean the one that went on and on and all the while your temples were literally throbbing with frustration (okay, throbbing with high blood pressure caused by frustration). Now suppose that someone in the company decided that the way to deal with execrable customer service was to make the agents ask customers every step of the way, “Is that okay, Madam?” and to not advance the conversation until the customer agreed that the horribly unhelpful suggestion of the agent was indeed okay.
It ends up sounding something like this:
AGENT: I’m going to express disbelief in the validity of your complaint, and then I’m going to repeat the irrelevant advice I’ve already given you four times. Also, I’m going to be both condescending and insincerely solicitous. Is that okay, Madam?
ME: No, that’s not okay.
AGENT: I see. In that case I’m going to be even more condescending and insincerely solicitous as I reiterate my disbelief in the validity of your complaint, and after that, if you agree, I will repeat the irrelevant advice I’ve already given you four times. Is that okay, Madam?
Decline. Repeat for twenty minutes.
ME: The fact that I’m hanging up now should not be construed as my consent that this is in any way okay.
Note that I only managed to last twenty minutes by spending much of it inside an elaborate Brazil-like fantasy in which a rogue installer swept into my flat and flipped a hidden golden switch that provided instant, fast, and uncomplicated internet access.
Until my Harry Tuttle arrives, I’ll be accessing the internet sporadically at cafÃ©s. Sorry if I owe you e-mail.
Also, today I was exposed to an American so WASPy he couldn’t even say ‘schtick’. Really. It came out as ‘stick’. I kid you not.