I took my life in my hands this morning.
I phoned Eircom.
Now Eircom [or “eir” with a lower case e as they have rebranded themselves] are famous in Ireland for being a tricky bunch of lads to deal with so the prospect of phoning them didn’t exactly fill me with relish. However our phone has gone distinctly wonky so there was no alternative. If I tried to get a line out, first my phone displayed “line in use” [which it isn’t] and then a crackly silence. If I try phoning home from my mobile I hear the dialing tone on the mobile but deafening silence off the landline. The broadband on the other hand is working perfectly and that uses the same cable. Weird.
So I made myself a large mug of tea, stoked up a couple of pipes, made some sandwiches and said my fond farewell to Herself before diving into the rabbit-hole that is Eircom Support [or eir support?]. One never knows in advance whether one is going to survive unscathed from ringing them, how long one will be absent or indeed if one is going to transport into a different era.
Naturally I was plunged into a series of menus where I had to enter my phone number and answer a series of options. Eventually a cheery voice told me there was a queue and my call would be answered in twenty minutes or so. It then switched to a horrible distorted cacophony of noise that I assumed was supposed to be jazz. *sigh*
I had half dozed off when a chap answered. Of Indian Sub-Continent extraction, of course. In fairness, his English was excellent. He asked for my account number. Bugger! I forgot that bit and started frantically logging into my account. Never mind, says he and he proceeded to ask my birth date, my name and address. I was able to answer those without referring to any documentation. Anyway by then I had found my account number. He was very apologetic about asking me to verify myself and launched into a speech about security. I told him that was fine, that I understood perfectly and was happy to answer his questions. He apologised again and said he had to be sure I was who I said I was. I assured him that I am who I say I am but he then launched into an explanation of how I might be someone else.
Once I had convinced him that I was in fact me we got onto the subject of the fault. I explained the situation as best I could without being too long-winded. He hummed. I guessed what his next question was going to be and forestalled him by explaining that I had recently upgraded my home phone but had tried resorting the the old one with the same resulting problem. ‘Oh’,’ says he, ‘I was just going to ask if you had tried another phone’. I’m good at mind reading.
Having established that the fault was on their side of the box he announced he was going to do a series of tests. I have no idea what he was doing, but he was a mutterer so I got loads of ‘er’, ‘oh’, ‘okay’, ‘hmmm’ and all the other sounds of someone thinking. After quite a while of these noises he asked me to unplug my landline phone which I did. He then announced he was going to repeat his tests. Lots more brain noises.
He eventually announced that there was a fault.
Well, slap me with a wet kipper!
He told me a bloke would call out as the fault was up here somewhere. It will be two days, says he. But it might be before that or even after.
That’s good to know.
I like precision.